End of the Line is the title of the latest interdisciplinary production by the stage director and musician Ann Allen. Following Ann Allen’s much acclaimed production of ‘Dido and Aeneas’ in Basel, she is turning her hand to a very different and more contemporary depiction of female heartbreak embodied by ‘Elle’, the protagonist in Poulenc’s ‘La Voix Humaine’. The work is shown in a new light thanks to the shadowy presence of Elle’s alter ego, who through the medium of dance improvisation physically captures Elle’s own pain and suffering. 

‘La Voix Humaine’ is also given a new context in this production because of the music that has been selected to precede it: Michael Jarrell’s ‘Etude pour piano’ and a specially composed piece by Ludovic Van Hellemont, ‘ Zwischenhalt'. The musical momentum builds up during these preliminary works, which set the stage and the mood for Poulenc’s chef-d’œuvre. ‘Zwischenhalt’ especially provides a chance for pianist and dancer to interact with one another and lay the foundations for the unfolding of the ensuing narrative.

The title ‘End of the Line’ refers to the telephone receiver that Elle has in her hand, as well as referring to her ex-lover, unseen at the other end of the telephone line. It also has the figurative sense of a point of no return, in this case a relationship that has run its course and has no future.

The premiere took place at Basel’s Gare du Nord (which adjoining the Badischer Bahnhof, is itself in some sense a terminus, an ‘end of the line’), in November 2018, with further performances planned in Schweiz, England und Belgien.

With director Ann Allen, singer Rebecca Ockenden, dancer Kendra Walsh, pianist Ludovic Van Hellemont and an experienced production team, this innovative project promises to surprise, move and excite a broad audience whether from classical, contemporary or dance backgrounds.


Michael Jarrell (1958-)                                  

Ludovic Van Hellemont (1985-)                      

Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)                         
LA VOIX HUMAINE (1958)                                                                        


© morethanmusic 2017