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Ça ira (1): Fin de Louis

Contributed by Swiss Typefaces on Sep 2nd, 2019. Artwork published in
March 2018
Ça ira (1): Fin de Louis
Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

Ça ira (1): Fin de Louis is a play by French theatre director Joël Pommerat, created in 2015 at Le Manège theatre in Mons, France. According to the New York Times:

The more than four-hour-long play, written and directed by Joël Pommerat, is an exploration of the early years of the French Revolution dating back to 1788. The characters speak in contemporary language, are dressed in clothing from the 1970s, and are led by a king who poses for a selfie. […]

French critics have compared the theatrical experience to watching a “revolution live,” and the honors for “Ça ira” come as demonstrations against an overhaul of the labor code have swept across France. […]

The play — the first in a series that eventually will include a version that addresses the “Reign of Terror” in France after the revolution — is told from the viewpoint of ordinary French citizens rather than leaders like Robespierre and Lafayette. The main historic characters are King Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, with the monarch issuing familiar demands for fiscal reforms to tame his nation’s astronomical budget and offering reassurance: “Ça ira” — or, in English, “It Will Be Fine.”

Since 2015, the multi-awarded and acclaimed play has been touring the world. For its premiere at the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin in Paris, Pierre Jeanneau continued his colourful series of posters.

The use of SangBleu Empire as the main typeface is interesting in several ways considering the subject of the play:

– Although many styles from SangBleu are inspired by the French King’s commissioned type Romain du Roi, Empire, with its lineal serifs and dramatic contrast, owes more to the Didot genre, a style appearing in France circa 1790: at the same timeframe as the French Revolution events.

– The typeface could also have been chosen because of its name, as the play depicts the turning point of the end of the Kingdom of France (also the name of one of SangBleu style) with the execution of King Louis XVI, and the proclamation of the French Republic which will quickly turn into the French Empire, declared in 1804 by Napoleon. This could technically be considered as a very subtle LTypI.

SangBleu Empire is part of the SangBleu family and is available from Swiss Typefaces.

The teaser video (below) adds the narrow caps (actually the lowercase set) of Anisette to the mix, used for newspaper quotes.

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