The Past (Le Passé)
"Plays never originate from an idea. Instead, they result from a perfect blend between life, theatre, things we want to achieve and others we don't. As we were rehearsing the previous show, Players, Mao II, the Names by Don DeLillo, I imagined staging a classic like The Seagull, wrecking the performance and destroying the characters right after Treplev's show. Either by armed terrorists or by the progressive disappearing of people in costume on stage. First, I thought this was once again the consequence of my anger against the world of theatre, tradition and the assumed expectations of the audience, something they already know, that is the repertoire.
A few months later, I called translator André Markowicz on the phone. I told him that for the first time I was looking for an old text and told him the story of an early 20th century society dying out. I told him I was thinking about Gorky's Children of the sun. But Gorky is not really my cup of tea, it is too tough and physical for me. I didn't wish to tell anger, I wanted to tell the story of a goodbye instead. These people should not be killed by the guns of revolution. They would slowly die out in the chain of events.
I thought of Houellebecq writing at the end of The Map and the Territory: "The triumph of nature is total." I also thought of directors who stage classical texts. I thought of what people are accustomed to saying: "Playwrights are talking to us." "Shakespeare is more modern than any other dramatists". Then I looked back on my work until today. Those contemporary texts I worked on, as if they were lost forgotten worlds, as if contemplated from the future, at a time when our societies are dead and so is the world. Today I think that the reason why we adapt classical texts is their distance from us, not their permanent quality.
We want to see again people who no longer exist, people who departed. We want to hear languages that were changed through time, we want to understand who we were and see the dead live again. This is precisely what I tried to explain to André Markowicz. I told him I wished to produce a show that would simultaneously speak about the coming extinction of humanity and the disappearance of classical theatre. An acerbic and sincere goodbye to humanity and conventionalism.
He asked me: "Do you know Leonid Andreev?". I didn't at all. Reading his work was a total shock. It was the first time I had felt so humanely close to a long-de- parted author. Andreev is very different from his contemporary authors. He wrote plays, short stories, symbolic works. When reading Andreev's work, words that can transfix you are found in all of his scenes, dialogues, sentences. As if we were able with a few words to touch the crucial heart of pain and beauty of the world. I will work on several plays : Requiem, Ekaterina Ivanovna, In the Fog.
The process will be similar to my previous shows. I will work with video, music and a troupe composed with the same actors I've always been working with, some new ones too.
The play will explore new ideas as I will work with paintings, chassis, candle footlights, ancient costumes that will coexist with the camera, glazed spaces and today's images. There will be painted landscapes, salons bourgeois, winter gardens and musicians in the orchestra pit.
In Solaris, Tarkovski's shadow will hang over the show. Shots from his spaceship will follow pictures from one of Brueghel's paintings depicting a crowd of peasants. Through Andreyev's writing, my new show will draw a similar circle. One saying that the future is the past. It will be a tribute to extinct art and humanity, to obscure times viewed from space when men used to walk in the snow as a group."
Text published by Editions Mesures (September 2021)
ADAPTATION AND STAGE DIRECTING
Guillaume Bachelé, Joseph Drouet, Denis Eyriey, Carine Goron, Victoria Quesnel, Achille Reggiani et Maxence Vandevelde
SET DESIGN Lisetta Buccellato
DRAMATURGY Eddy d’Aranjo
STAGE DIRECTOR ASSISTANT Antoine Hespel
MUSICAL CREATION Guillaume Bachelé, Maxence Vandevelde
LIGHTING DESIGNER Nicolas Joubert
VIDEO DESIGNER Jérémie Bernaert and Pierre Martin
SOUND DESIGNER Julien Feryn with Hugo Hamman
COSTUMES Caroline Tavernier with Valérie Simonneau
PROPS DESIGNER Guillaume Lepert
MASKS Lisetta Buccellato, with Salomé Vandendriessche
GENERAL STAGE MANAGER Léo Thévenon
STAGE OPERATOR Simon Haratyk, David Ferré
LIGHT OPERATOR Zélie Champeau
SOUND OPERATOR Hugo Hamman
VIDEO OPERATOR David Dubost, Baudouin Rencurel
MAKE UP Olivia Leviez
TECHNICAL TRAINEE Pierrick Guillou, Audrey Meunier
ADMINISTATION, PRODUCTION Eugénie Tesson
TOUR ORGANIZATION Elise Yacoub
ADMINISTRATION Paul Lacour-Lebouvier
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR Nicolas Ahssaine
ASSISTANT TECHNICAL DIRECTOR Vianney Brunin
PRODUCTION Si vous pouviez lécher mon coeur
Set construction Workshop Devineau
‘Night Sky’ image by David Fielding from the Opera National de Paris of Giulio Cesare.
Si vous pouviez lécher mon cœur
COPRODUCTION (IN PROGRESS)
Odéon-Théâtre de l'Europe / Festival d'Automne à Paris, Le Phénix Scène Nationale Valenciennes pôle européen de création, Théâtre National de Strasbourg, Théâtre du Nord, CDN Lille/Tourcoing Hauts-de-France, Les Célestins, Théâtre de Lyon / Théâtre National Populaire, Maison de la culture d'Amiens, L'Empreinte, scène nationale Brive Tulle, Château Rouge, Scène conventionnée d'Annemasse, La Comédie de Genève, Festival de Wiesbaden, La passerelle Scène Nationale de Saint-Brieuc, Scène Nationale d'Albi, Romaeuropa
WITH THE SUPPORT OF
DGCA / DRAC Hauts-de-France
WITH THE SUPPORT OF
Montévidéo, centre d'art and T2G Théâtre de Gennevilliers
WITH THE ARTISTIC PARTICIPATION OF
Jeune Théâtre National