Like his playmates, Abdelwaheb Sefsaf, actor, author and director, director of the company Nomade in France, had to stop his creation in full flight. He analyzes the consequences.
What is for you the impact of this second confinement? You were to present your new creation, Ulysse de Taourirt (1), in November.
Abdelwaheb Sefsaf It’s harder. The time when a company comes out the most money is when creating its show, with the need to exploit it in the process and to balance the books. There, we are forbidden to sell it. Hence an extremely perilous situation. State aid last March and April was 1,500 euros for the company, ridiculous aid on the scale of a creation. Recently, this aid was capped at 10,000 euros but it is necessary to justify 50% of turnover. Who will fit into these criteria calculated on a commercial model?
How can companies cope with this situation? Yours, which is old, and the most fragile?
Abdelwaheb Sefsaf Our balance is based in part on our presence in Avignon every two years. The current situation is putting so much strain on our cash flow that it is likely that we will not be able to play it in 2021. We shoot a lot, 90 shows for So far so close, more than one hundred percent Medina Merika. If we do twenty dates in 2021, it will be the end of the world. It’s not only difficult for the small companies, it’s dramatic for the ones that are touring and have lost almost everything.
What could be the solutions?
Abdelwaheb Sefsaf I am wondering about the relevance of creating a show under current conditions. The fundamental difference compared to the first crisis is that this time the theaters are open. The artists can be hosted in residence, produce, rehearse … But how to resume a show several weeks, or even months later? The calendars are going to be very uncertain, with no guarantee of being able to play. What could be put in place – and this is what we proposed, with the director Emmanuel Meirieu, at the level of the Rhône-Alpes region – is a consultation of the companies on what we could ask theaters. For the time being, we are being offered postponements of dates everywhere without any compensation, while their mission – for which they continue to receive subsidies – is to host companies and shows. What could also be considered with the ministry is a consultation on compensation for all. In the context of partial unemployment – 86% of the net -, there is a remainder to be paid by the company, and the contribution is at zero rate for intermittent workers.
How is this proposal received?
Abdelwaheb Sefsaf We are still at the regional level – some 70 companies – to be able to have a common word and action and directly challenge public partners: the State, the region, so that they turn to theaters. During the first confinement, a number of places have compensated, a little with variable geometry. This is not even the case today. All the feedback we have had is very alarming. There should be a charter of “good practices”. Theaters cannot just open to rehearsals without commitments to perform. This will cause a traffic jam of all these postponed shows – whose engagements are mostly oral – and those that will continue to be created. There is no anticipation, it’s DIY! It is very important to act collectively, it is our profession that is in danger. The difficulty is not knowing where we are going and moving too far ahead in scattered order.