In The Solitude Of The Cotton Fields

a performance-installation devised by Fred Dalmasso and Benjamin Hughes

text translated by Roger Baines & Fred Dalmasso

performed by David ‘Stickman’ Higgins and Tim Tracey


The Project
Roger Baines and Fred Dalmasso have produced a new translation of Koltes’ 1985 play using a distinctive Solitude_Baines-Dalmassomethod which emphasizes the performance of the rhythm embedded in Koltes’ text. This translation method involved close collaboration between the translators and jazz poet David ‘Stickman’ Higgins with performer and director Fred Dalmasso performing Koltes’ text to Stickman as we work-shopped the translation (A detailed analysis of the process can be found in our chapter ‘Musical Realizations: a Performance-based Translation of Rhythm in Koltès’ Dans la solitude des champs de coton). This process enabled us to inscribe performance in text, to transfer the text from one performance to another. Sample pilot recordings can be listened to below.

Koltes’ work has had great success in mainland Europe, for example, but has been less recognized in an Anglophone context and we hope that this new translation will bring this radical and mesmerizing play to new audiences.

The Play



Dans la solitude des champs de coton is an encounter between two characters, a Dealer and a Client, in an ill-defined nocturnal space. On his way from A to B, from one lit window at the top of a building to another, the Client enters the territory of the Dealer. They circle around each other for the duration of the play, but the Client will not reveal what he desires and the Dealer will not reveal what he has to offer to satisfy the Client’s desires; the play unfolds until it ends in a moment of inconclusive potential violence.


In the Solitude of the Cotton Fields – extracts.

Extracts from a work-in-progress audio adaptation of a translation of Bernard-Marie Koltès’ “In the Solitude of the Cotton Fields” – translated and adapted by Roger Baines and Frederic Dalmasso. Stream and download here:

Baines, Roger and Fred Dalmasso, 2011, ‘Musical realisations: a performance-based translation of rhythm in Koltès’ Dans la solitude des champs de coton’. In  Baines R., Marinetti C. and Perteghella M. (eds) Staging Translation: Text and Theatre Practice (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 95-106).
Koltès, B.-M. (2004 [1985]) Dans la solitude des champs de coton (Paris: Minuit)

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