“Stay in touch.” “Let’s not leave each other.” Comédie-Française, which will launch its online channel “la Comédie continue!” At 4 pm tomorrow. (shows but also unpublished pastilles, readings), to the online programming of the National Scene of Valenciennes, messages from all theater scenes have been flowing since the start of containment. Most often, the solution chosen for “Save the relationship” is the recording of free shows, but some scenes innovate by also escaping from the prerecorded.
“In the hollow of the ear”
Thus, the National Dramatic Center of Valence has launched several participative projects including a narrative chain in the mode of the “exquisite corpse”. In Montpellier, Jean Valera, director of the Printemps des Comédiens, calls those who leave their number at reception to explain the program of the festival which he can hope will take place – it takes place from May 29 to June 27 – and the team also broadcasts an interactive web radio, with serials and vignettes of memories of audience performances, mixed by director Julien Bouffier. In Paris, among other initiatives including the confinement journal of its director Wajdi Mouawad (acclaimed by 218,000 people), the National Theater on the Hill invites spectators to be contacted by telephone by an actor, actress to read him a text. “In the hollow of the ear”. You are busy ? Does the ringing run out in a vacuum? The actor, the actress repeats like any other interlocutor who seeks to reach you.
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Since March 16, they are 70 actors trying this experience with strangers, whom they do not see, whom they do not know, and the converse is more or less true. Each actor is free to choose the texts he chooses, to converse or not, to continue or not the dialogue afterwards. A duration was however advised in order not to lock the listener in an inexhaustible reading which he could not put an end to. There is no risk, except in the case of an extreme misunderstanding, that the moment will turn into compulsory listening to the entirety ofOdysseus from Joyce. And each experience differs radically depending on the participants, their apprehensions, their tastes.
“Almost immodest sensuality”
Norah Krief, for example, chose to read one or two sonnets from Shakespeare “Because they were written during a plague epidemic in London”. She prepares for each “meeting” by reading aloud the first and last names of her interlocutors – in this case often interlocutors – in order to pronounce them correctly, and finds herself dreaming through what their onomastic suggests. “Perhaps because the voice is too intimate, few men are asking for this moment. The sensuality it reveals is almost immodest. But tomorrow, I have one or a Claude among the five people I’m going to call … “ The actress generally evades her own confinement. “For the moment, I don’t want to impose my confused Parisian language before Shakespeare. This stupidly unknown period, this flow of time which overwhelms us and which we cannot manage to curb, I want to experience it through live poetic expression. “ The unexpected was that all of her interlocutors spoke of the importance of poetry in their lives. Later, Norah Krief may venture to sing on the phone, an even more intimate gesture.
In all cases, this 15 to 30 minute sharing moment raises the question of listening. Silence is its sign, the noises of a dishwasher that you empty are ominous. The audience is wise, he behaves like in the theater, never interrupts. But what can I conclude from this? Dizziness at not being able to grip the infrasensations induced by a room, the micro-movements of the public, to assess the quality of silence. Patrick Le Mauff, for this first Monday, imposed his choice – a tale of Tolstoy “So as not to feel like self-service”. To an interlocutor, who wanted to continue the experiment, he improvised a reading of a short story by Calvino. With this question: how not to rush people while forging a bond? “Of the five people called, one man offered to put the speaker on for his friend.” Nothing can imagine the space, a ray of light in the room. The voice suggests (or not) an age, the most difficult – but not the most desired – being to imagine nothing.
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Unlike the other actors, actress Julie Julien leaves the choice between several texts, including her own, on confinement. An address that invites you to exchange a direct and surprising intimacy with strangers. The actress gives herself up just as much by asking essential questions. She duly thought about her confinement partners, choosing people who are close enough, distant enough, who avoid her wearing a social mask. All the actors, programmed on the Hill plateau, had a show in progress, a tour, and were interrupted in their tracks. The experience allows them to meet the public in a different way, while continuing their practice. They are volunteers.