A solo by Josef Nadj based on his own diary notes and poems by the Hungarian poet Ottó Tolnai


Choregraphy and performance

Josef Nadj



Percussions from Ethiopia, “Akira Sakata”, traditional muscis from Hungary, Romania and Mexico.



Josef Nadj & Rémi Nicolas



Rémi Nicolas

assisted by Xavier Lazarini



Bjanka Ursulov



Michel Tardif


Sets painting

Jacqueline Bosson



Thierry Thibaudeau



Centre Chorégraphique National d’Orléans, Théâtre de la Ville – Paris, Biennale de Venise



Biennale de Venise, 6 june 2002



1 h

“I would say that this is a very close-up story, almost an intimate one. The theme of this solo is the memories I have of my friends, painters and sculptors, who committed suicide at one point. Memories of the town I was born in, Kanjiza. It’s not really a written journal; it’s the journal of my memory. And the stranger is… it represents death for me in a way. Death is what we carry within ourselves, this mystery which questions us, which waits for us somewhere. And which also writes its journal, in its own way, within us.”


Josef Nadj


“After 15 years at work, Josef Nadj is taking the risk of a dance solo … Almost in a trance (Nadj falls so deep into himself that you fear he may not come back), he draws like a storyteller on the tangled mass of his identity and offers to share with the audience his play on the edge of the abyss”


Rosita Boisseau, Le Monde




It is night-time. It is raining. A solitary man, who looks more like a large lost boy, wanders through various sparsely furnished apartments. He plays but not happily, he dances but cannot command his limbs. He builds and creates but destroys and buries too. The play is embedded in the elegy and beauty of Hungarian and other folk songs.

Josef Nadj performs a monologue relating the existential confusion of two of his friends who committed suicide, a third who went mad and from his Yugoslavian past. Nadj’s movements comb through the subconscious of the human soul. This includes the understanding smile, that catastrophic humour between joy and existential despair.

Journal d’un inconnu is Josef Nadj’s first solo. It was inspired by own diary notes and poems by the Hungarian poet Ottó Tolnai, born in 1940, who – as Josef Nadj – comes from the region Vojvodina, too. Josef Nadj focuses on an unknown, who leads us as a marionette of his ghosts between humour and disaster, through a series of hypnotic images of pain and an irrepressible love of life.

I am afraid that you will make an exception for me - by Otto Tolnai

I am afraid that you will make an exception for me


Lord I beseech you do not save me

that would be more manly

do not save me

in spite of my prayers

a schoolchild repenting a first mortal sin

I shall implore you unceasingly

do not save me

with my tears I shall fill

all your receptacles

your dented thimbles

your enormous barrels

I shall sob

in all your holed black socks

Lord I beg you do not save me  

let the rat

diligent worker driller of tunnels

build a road through my belly

let the wolf

locked within me

noisily chew my face

rather marvel to see us

more than ever you marveled

at seeing smitten lovers

Lord I beseech you do not save me

hear my prayer pure ice broken up

do not save me

I know you have never saved anyone

but I am afraid that you will make an exception for me

I beseech you Lord do not save me I beseech you do not save me.

  • Otto Tolnai


Excerpt from or brulant

Collection of poems translated from Hungarian by L. Gaspard, S Clair and J. Lackfi

Foreword by Josef Nadj

Published by Editions Ibolya Virag, 2001

History :


28-29 mai 2009


Grenoble (FR)


22-23 novembre 2008

La Comédie

Clermont-Ferrand (FR)


8-9 novembre 2008

Festival Euro-Scene

Leipzig (DE)


9 juin 2008

Bratislava in Movement

Bratislava (SK)


27 octobre 2007

Festival internacional de teatro

Quito (ECU)


17-18 juillet 2007

Teatro Restori

Cividade des Friuli (IT)


20 avril 2007

L’Archipel, Scène Nationale

Guadeloupe (FR)


8-9 mars 2007

Théâtre de Nîmes

Nîmes (FR)


1-2 mars 2007

Théâtre 140

Bruxelles (BE)


3-4 mai 2005

Bonlieu Scène nationale d’Annecy

Annecy (FR)


25-26 février 2005

The Tramway

Glasgow (UK)


14 janvier 2005

Théâtre le Minotaure

Vendôme (FR)


11 janvier 2005

Théâtre Magdalenazaal Cultuurcentrum

Bruges (BE)


1-2 décembre 2004

Festival Net Meyerhold Center

Moscou (RU)


15-16 avril 2004

Espace des Arts

Châlon-sur-Saône (FR)


9 avril 2004

Espace Soutine

Lèves (FR)


2-3 avril 2004

Dansens Hus

Stockholm (SE)


20 mars 2004

Théâtre Jean-Lurçat Scène nationale d’Aubusson

Aubusson (FR)


16-17 mars 2004

Le Trident Scène nationale de Cherbourg

Cherbourg (FR)


7 novembre 2003


Le Mans (FR)


27-28 septembre 2003


Basel (CH)


17 juillet 2003

Impulstanz Vienna International Dance Festival

Vienne (AUT)


10-25 janvier 2003

Scène nationale d’Orléans

Orléans (FR)


17-21 décembre 2002

Théâtre de la Ville Les Abbesses

Paris (FR)


5 novembre 2002

Obrazovna Kulturna Ustanova Cnesa

Kanjiza (SRB)


30-31 octobre 2002


Budapest (HUN)


6 juin 2002

Biennale de Venise, Teatro Piccolo Arsenale

Venise (IT)