Souffle d’Outre-Ciel (Breath from Beyond the Sky)

The Kim Vân Kiều was written by Nguyễn Du (1765-1820), a high-ranking mandarin of the imperial court. This long text of 3354 verses is considered by the Vietnamese not only as the masterpiece of their literature, but also as the mirror of the Vietnamese soul. This work is classified by UNESCO as part of the intangible heritage.

Songe en trois parties (Dream in three parts) by Lionel Parrini based on the work Kim Vân Kiêu by Nguyễn Du

Director: Marcelle Basso
Readers: Henriette Nhung Pertus and Marcelle Basso
Musical composition and interpretation: Morgane Neplaz

This theatrical reading was performed between October and November 2014 in Aix-en-Provence in the form of a triptych at the Méjanes Library and the Antoine Vitez Theatre, then again in September 2015 after a work residency at the Régie Culturelle de Bouc-Bel-Air.


The novel tells the story of Kiêu, a young girl from a family of literate who, in expiation for faults committed in a previous life, is predicted a painful existence…

“It seems to me, that Lionel Parrini has adapted the Vietnamese epic of Kim Van Kieu, by Ngyên Du, with a concern for readability (how to make this fiction accessible to a modern French audience, without superfluous orientalism) and conciseness (how to go to the heart of this long poem).
Our reading proposes first of all to deal with the enigma of the voice that opens the story.
How can we today, in our culture, make the “Breath of Kieu”, who died two hundred years ago in a distant country, speak?
Step by step, the story of this eventful love story, sometimes very prosaic, littered with losses and briefly snatched happinesses, marked by the quest for social justice and freedom for women, shifts entirely to the spiritual side.

Where degradation merges with deprivation,
where flesh and spirit are one,
where silence is worth all words,
where cosmic presence has diluted the ego.

Like Tristan and Yseult, like the Soulier de Satin, the legend of Kieu is a bearer of peace and light.
By seizing this singular adaptation (Lionel Parrini says it is a “dream in three parts”) we will open the doors of the dream to try to grasp the world beyond the world, the invisible beyond the visible, the unheard of beyond the already heard – and the fullness of the stars beyond the disorderly clatter of the world.

Marcelle Basso