Théâtre Charbon


Sylvain COHER - Thierry FALVISANER

The legend of the Panther-man who was capable of running from sunset to sunrise

Through music, dance and drama, this show, selected for the ‘Olympiades Culturelles’ in Paris 2024, tells the incredible story of the first Black-African Olympic champion Abebe BIKILA who won the 1960 marathon in bare feet. Ever since then, African people have been recounting ‘the legend of the Panther-man who was capable of running from sunset to sunrise.

The athlete’s body is also that of the dancer, a fragile body subject to the strains of endurance and effort. Music gives him a vital momentum, and the words spoken by his coach and his wife gradually create the historical context of the race: a moment of memory and representation, of hope and disillusion. It is the voice of a woman that gives the history of a nation and a country a human dimension.

You are the man who decided to run for everyone else: it’s just like that. You are on your way ! You are almost there ! Now the finishing line presses against your chest and with both hands outstretched and ten fingers spread you burst through the invisible wall! In any case that’s what you came for. Two hours, fifteen minutes and sixteen seconds ago, you already knew.

Company presentation

Thierry FALVISANER created in 2011 Théâtre Charbon, to propose a work resolutely centered on societal problems and in close connection with the public "less accustomed" to go to cultural places. Since January 2016, the company has been based in Orléans - La Source, a so-called sensitive neighborhood. Théâtre Charbon is a company that creates, trains and broadcasts shows. It has been running the "Enracinement/Déracinement" festival for 7 years. It is a committed company with an appetite for mediation, accompaniment, education and integration.

Thierry Falvisaner - Director / Set Designer

He trained between 1997 and 2000 at the Conservatoire d'Orléans and created in 1998 the Théâtre de l'œuf à dix pas.
In parallel to his training as an actor, he followed the teaching of Robert ABIRACHED in DEA of the arts of the spectacle and became an associate researcher at the CNRS.
Holder of the State Diploma of Theatre Teaching, he has been teaching since 2001.
He works regularly for the CDN Orléans, with its associated company, the Théâtre de l'œuf à dix pas, directed by Olivier PY, between 2000 and 2007. After twenty shows as an actor under the direction of Irina Dalle, Jean-Damien Barbin, Wissam Arbache, Olivier Py, Isabelle Censier, Charlotte Ranson ... he devotes himself from 2007 to directing.
Since then, he has directed about fifteen professional shows (Les Eaux Lourdes, Hyènes, Les Justes, Tartuffe, Othello, Comme Si, Entendre le NON) and several dozen shows with amateurs.
In 2011, he created a new structure, Théâtre Charbon, to propose a work resolutely centered on societal problems and in close connection with the public less used to go to cultural places.
Between 2016 and 2021, Théâtre Charbon is associated with the Théâtre Gérard Philipe in Orléans, in the "sensitive" neighborhood of La Source. The company leads a territory project in connection with the inhabitants and the structures of the district. Within this framework, it leads in particular the conception and the programming of an annual festival resolutely engaged and popular: the festival ENRACINEMENT DÉRACINEMENT.
Since 2021 the company is associated with the Montesquieu college, where it develops a singular project and involves about fifteen artists from different backgrounds (music, dance, theater, visual arts, cinema ...).
In 2021, it creates "Vaincre à Rome, la légende de l'homme-panthère capable of running from sunset to sunrise" by Sylvain Coher.
In 2022, he proposes a form young public,
"Les maux silencieux de Camille" by Catherine Verlaguet with Elizabeth Mazev and Christophe Vandevelde and creates the musical show "Femmes Debout!" with the French-Iranian singer Anita Farmine and the pianist Vincent Viala. The Théâtre Charbon company moved to the Espace Pellicer, still in Orléans la Source, to become more involved in the territory.
Currently, Thierry FALVISANER is working on the direction of 3 new projects: "Alpenstock" by Remi de Vos, "Bérénice" by Jean Racine and "John Wayne and I" by and with Benjamin Baroche.

Sylvain Coher - Author

"Standing out from the literary landscape by the psychological finesse of his writings, this writer of the elsewhere excels in rendering the feeling of heaviness of an unbearable present and in painting the muted dramas. The change of life and the quest for human and social identity are at the heart of the preoccupations of this author who loves the sea and the wind. Winner of the Ouest France Étonnants Voyageurs prize in 2015 for his novel Nord-nord-ouest, he joined the jury the following year. A literary tour de force, his latest book, Vaincre à Rome, recounts a legendary sporting feat: the victorious race of Ethiopian Abebe Bikila, the "barefoot runner", at the Olympic marathon in Rome in 1960, while the two countries were in the midst of a conflict. He infuses his story with the rhythm of the discipline, sometimes slow, filled with endorphins, sometimes accelerating towards the final sprint."

Born in 1971, Sylvain Coher lives in Paris and Pornic, "depending on the wind and the state of the sea". After studying modern literature, he successively worked as a sailing instructor, boarding school supervisor, bookseller, editor, and mason.
His stay at the Villa Medici in 2005-2006 led him to explore new literary paths, off the beaten track of the novel. Sensitive to a tormented society, Sylvain Coher enjoys creating tired and lost characters who, tempted by escape and solitude, end up choosing to distance themselves from the world.
In 2008, he became the associate author of the Théâtre de l'Arpenteur in Rennes for the project "FRONTIÈRE". This collaboration will give birth to Les Effacés, a modern philosophical tale that tells the terrible and fascinating story of a group of illegal immigrants from the East.
Inspired by a news story, North-Northwest takes the reader on a Channel crossing with three teenagers who have nothing to lose and everything to run away from. This closed-door story in the middle of the sea, an uncertain journey sublimated by striking metaphors, has received several literary awards, including the Ouest-France Étonnants Voyageurs prize in 2015.
Eclectic, Sylvain Coher also writes for theater and opera. In 2015, he signed Trois Cantates policières, set to music by three contemporary composers. They form an opera in the form of a police suite, the first part of which, La Digitale, was premiered in Marseille at La Criée in December 2015.
In 2018, he is an associate author of the Théâtre Charbon at the TGP in Orleans to finalize his novel about Abebe BIKILA. There he conceived several scenic devices with the Ensemble Cairn, the director Thierry FALVISANER, the dancer Timothé BALLO and the percussionist Adrien CHENNEBAULT.
In September 2013 his ninth novel "Étraves" will be released by Actes Sud.


Author Sylvain Coher
Director & scenography Thierry Falvisaner
With Timothé Ballo – Adrien Chennebault – Thierry Falvisaner – Thomas Cerisola – Ganne Raymond
Artistic collaboration Sylvain Coher – Adrien Chennebault – Thomas Cerisola
General management and lighting design Simon Laurent
Video creation Matthieu Etignard
Costumes Paula Dartigues
Administration Sylvie Moineau
Graphic design Estelle Maugras – Romain Boulinguiez
Diffusion Delphine Ceccato
Stage Manager Avignon Clément Laurent – Stéphane Liger


Production Théâtre Charbon Company
Partners Ministry of Culture Centre Val de Loire, Region Centre Val de Loire, Department of Loiret, City of Orléans, National Stage of Orléans, Paris 2024 – Cultural Olympiad, Antre peaux, Le Bouillon, Le 909, Creature Architects, Eole of the community of commune Coeur de Beauce, Drama Way

In the press

This play is an intense, captivating hour-long race. The dynamic stage direction never allows the attention to wander. The powerful music, the dramatic lighting, the well written and well expressed dialogue, the stagecraft and acting are all mind-blowing.

MAGCENTRE - 2/07/21 – Julia Botti

How does one recreate a myth, a body, rhythm and movement? Therein lies the strength of this play directed by Thierry Falvisaner (who also plays the part of the Swedish coach) which intertweaves text, drama, music, dance and video footage to give depth and emotion to the story.


Your contacts in Avignon (pro only)

Théâtre Charbon
06 58 69 23 73 /


17:30 > 19:20shuttle ride included

07 > 24.07

Breaks on 12 & 19.07

Château de Saint-Chamand Route /

Show 17:55 > 19:00
From 8 years old

Tarif Plein : 20,50€
Tarif Off : 14€
Tarif Pro : 9€

Book a ticket