It’s Sunday, it’s mild in my house but the bad news is falling like bad rain.
So, I kind of need to share some sweetness and love to live.
I’m going to tell you about a sentimental foundation of Altair – this time it’s a man.
Gui is an old man.
– Gui is a first name in France…
He’s been shattered by life. Who could say that when you see him?
His smile shines.
He lives in my village, in the south of France.
I met him a few summers ago.
I was in the parking of my supermarket, nothing epic at all.
He came up to me and asked if he could sleep at my home for the night.
I looked at him – and he laughed. He told me he was tired of asking people for money, so he’s trying to make us laugh.
I liked him immediately.
We got to talking. And every time I see him, we talk.
Two years ago, he told me he was better: he had finally found a small apartment.
He was going to be able to collect his pension.
No more streets, no more squats.
I was so happy for him.
Soon after, yes, he was better; he had straightened up, he had cut his hair, and he was walking at a good pace.
And then, we are French from France. And France, you have to be in the right boxes to get help.
It’s very difficult to be in the right boxes. Too young, too old, apartment too small, too big, a little bit is enough to make everything go wrong again.
So everything went wrong again for him.
And what could I do for him? Except take the time to listen to him, give him what I could and tell him how much I loved him.
That Christmas, of course, I saw him again. I know Altair’s growing up and gaining support.
So I asked him if he’d be willing to work for Altair.
He laughed. He said he liked me because I was a little crazy.
He is kind of right.
He accepted. He asked me what kind of work I expected him to do, getting old and losing the use of his hand.
I told him that, for me, it was the most essential work for a place of culture: I asked him to lend his heart and his smile to the theatre and honour us with his presence.
I asked him to be the soul of Altair.
He told me that I was really crazy.
He gave me his phone number.
And for Gui too, I want to see this theatre come true.
To see him in the halls, to watch him talking to the artists. To smile at the children, at the mothers.
To show everyone that even when our life has been so difficult, our smile remains the strength of our humanity.
Here’s the thing – sometimes I want to save the world, and I know I’m not good enough to do it. I think of his smile today, he’s the one who helps me when things go wrong. It’s a wonderful help.