An Armchair For The Orchestra – The site of Parisian theater reviews » Iliad and Odyssey, after Homère, directed by Pauline Bayle, Théâtre Public de Montreuil

Sep 20, 2022 |
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Iliad © Blandine Soulage

ƒƒƒ article of Sylvie Boursier

Looking for men for uncertain travel, modest wages […] long periods of extreme danger, return not assured. Glory and fame if successful. Here is the announcement published by Ernest Shackleton before his expedition to the South Pole, engraved in the hall of the theater in Montreuil. One hundred years later, it is towards the Homeric expedition that Pauline Bayle guides us, from Ithaca to Troy and the return of Ulysses twenty years later.

Stupor and trembling, the show begins in front of the theater hall, on Place Jean Jaurès. The walls echo with the fury of Achilles during his spat with Agamemnon. Some fifteen minutes later, on the stage of the theatre, here he is complaining to his mother about the injustice of which he is the victim, ” mom he moaned like a kid in the playground. This prologue inaugurates a mythical epic in two parts, visible separately or in succession.

L’Iliad recounts an episode of the Trojan War, the wrath of Achilles. The Greeks have been laying siege to the city for ten years without result. Achille falls out with Agamemnon for a story of women. The god gets angry and sends the plague to the Greeks. Furious, the hero at the feet light retreats to his tent and refuses the fight. The Greeks are defeated by the Trojans. Following the death of his friend Patroclus, Achilles, mad with grief, takes revenge by taking up arms again and wreaking havoc in the ranks of the Trojans.

The Iliad is essentially theatrical, with characters, dialogues; on Olympus the gods are bored, eternity is long especially at the end, men distract them, each has his champion and pulls the strings. They feast, kiss, bicker, bring the rain, the winds according to the circumstances. Zeus, the number one has authority problems facing Poseidon the number two who obviously aims to oust him but his Achilles heel if we can say, it is Hera with the hair of vamp, it is enough to A hand on his knee and he is distracted from his obligations. Real kids these eternals, we border on parody at the Muppets Show with burlesque moments.

On earth, it’s a different song, a nameless butcher’s shop, the horror of the trenches where the bodies are cut, the torture, the names of the comrades who fall dead on the field of honor. Few authors have shown the horror of war as starkly as Homer, the spiral of violence.

The five actors fall, bounce, bend under the contrary winds, receive buckets of water, spring up, mourn the dead, implore the gods, call their mothers; they assume all the roles with fluidity, this flexibility is a real strong point of the show which ignores the genre and maintains an epic breath.

A rectangle of kraft paper becomes a battlefield; chairs, squirts of paint, a wooden board, buckets full of glitter and that’s it ” hands of fire » from Achilles, a calm or stormy sea, flowing blood, the tents of the camp; we immediately understand the situation, the evisceration of the entrails, the cracking bones; the words are far more powerful than the images, embodied by fiery actors without microphones; we hear everything, every plea, every murder, the desire, shadows and lights on the set, in the pure oral tradition of the Homerid bards, it’s beautiful!

L’Odyssey recounts the return of Ulysses to his native land of Charybdis in Scylla, defying the Cyclops, the song of the sirens, Circe the bewitcher, the lotophages and taking revenge on the usurping suitors, extreme danger as Shackleton said and eternal glory to him!

Compared to the incandescent dramaturgy of theIliad, I’Odyssey is according to Philippe Brunet “ the portrait of a man through the story of his wanderings » a song of the return, a hundred times thwarted and a hundred times put back on the loom like Penelope’s weaving, a prose poem that promotes respect for hospitality, tolerance, welcoming strangers, love of his land. Ulysses is an upset peasant, he likes nothing more than to turn his back on the sea, you have to hear the actors tirelessly evoke a pebble in the middle of the waters, ” devoid of horses but rich in all necessities, wheat, wine, and forests in abundance “. Nothing seems more beautiful, more precious than the iridescent light of Ithaca, the fruits bursting with sugar, donkey’s milk. The actors succeed with an economy of means, a shovelful of sand, a bench, a wooden frame, to make us feel what it can be like for an exile to tread the soil of his country. Until the end Ulysses does not know if we will recognize him, what price will he have to pay for his absence?

Thanks to you, Pauline Bayle, for not trying to play tricks by overloading the text with “modernist” interpretations and pretentious special effects. Your adaptation by its purity imposes itself, you must remain humble in front of such a beautiful language which is only equaled by the sweetness of honey, the crystalline air of Greece and the freshness of water. in the palm of the hand.

Blessed spectators, whether you are Hellenists or neophytes, you will return with a heart full of joy and in the morning rosy-fingered dawn will pluck your delighted soul. Embark urgently towards Montreuil, 27,000 verses condensed in three hours… what an Odyssey!

Odyssey © Blandine Soulage

Iliad and Odyssey, according to Homer

Directed by: Pauline Bayle, Camille Duchemin

Lighting: Pascal Noël

Costumes: Camille Aït

With: Soufian Khalil, Victoria Kozlova, Mathilde Mery, Loïc Renard, Paola Valentin.

Duration Iliad : 1h25

Duration Odyssey : 1h35

From September 14 to October 09, 2022

Iliad Wednesday at 8 p.m., Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m.

Odyssey Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 7 p.m.

From 21 to 22 10 in Bussang, 15 11 in Choisy le Roi, 17 11 in La Ferté Bernard, 25 11 in Vitrolles, 03 12 in Châteauroux, 08 12 in Dax

Public Theater of Montreuil

10 place Jean Jaures

93 100 Montreuil

Reservation : 01 48 70 48 90


From October 21 to 22 in Bussang,

November 15 in Choisy le Roi

November 17 at La Ferté Bernard

November 25 in Vitrolles

December 3rd in Châteauroux

December 8th in Dax

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An Armchair For The Orchestra – The site of Parisian theater reviews » Iliad and Odyssey, after Homère, directed by Pauline Bayle, Théâtre Public de Montreuil