Play – by Sylvain Creuzevault – creation : 2014
To succeed in making a whole room laugh with Karl Marx’s Capital was not an easy bet.
It was a gamble that paid off.
This play is a free adaptation of the famous book by the famous Karl, which has a little disoriented all the 20th century and still does.
This adaptation is remarkable for several reasons:
Its staging: it is a bifrontal staging. Do you think that’s not important ? I hope not. It absolutely changes the relationship between actors & audience.
Clearly, the stage becomes a huge corridor passing through two rows of spectators.
It sounds simple – but notice that every time you speak to one row of spectators, the others see you from behind.
It’s also a matter of not losing the spectators “from the end” by sitting towards the center of the stage.
And above all, they play “on sight“: there is no illusion of reality in this theatrical practice: everyone knows that we are watching an actors’ performance.
You will see the actor putting on make-up while he tells that he was on the burning barricades. You’ll see the other actor putting on his toupee beard and changing roles: and everything will go very, very well, because it’s done in complicity with the spectators.
The scene takes place in Paris on May 13, 1848. We are in a bar – the republicans are disappointed by the government resulting from the new French Constituent Assembly, elected by direct universal male suffrage… for the first time in History. This Assembly was not in favour of social measures. Among the dissatisfied, the doctor Vincent-François Raspail, the socialist Auguste Blanqui and his friend Armand Barbès, Louis Blanc… If you recognize Parisian metro stations, you’ve won. You will no longer cross them as you used to. Of course, Engels, friend of Marx, was also among the dissatisfied, at the end of the table.
Marx is not presented on stage – well, he is, in the form of a rather? curious bust. Red, of course. But his “Manifesto of the Communist Party”, published at the beginning of 1848, helps to fuel conversations.
In fact, the staging is astonishing in that it brings back to life those political struggles that everyone has forgotten (even in France, the Republican struggles of 1848 are unknown). And since it was a matter of staging a comedy – and not a tragedy or a political-engaged boredom – Creuzevault chose the most French way of rendering politics: bistro debates.
We still gut ourself and this place remains, despite all the prudery of our times, a great place where you throw drinks at each other because you don’t have the same political ideas – while meeting up a quarter of an hour later around a “little balloon” – a balloon glass of red – or white – wine, and “banging the cardboard” – and the arguments start all over again about cards, and then women, and then guys, and it starts all over again.
As a result, it’s a very lively place. Very theatrical. And very conducive to comedy.
That was the idea to find in order to be able to play with Marx: to find a human situation in which you could argue about class struggle and the vampire side of capitalism, without falling into “the big night” – in a coffee shop, nobody is right.
This allows to have a broken narrative: in a café, it goes in, it comes out, people’s stories collide and you can get beautiful narrative effects – like a kaleidoscope.
And since the place is not serious – the fatal pitfall of the “political play” is splendidly avoided.
The result is an absolutely fantastic work. And a complete room enchanted & amazed. Right, you would come out with a question: what was that “monkey” story? No monkey on stage – no mention of a character who “monkeys” Marx – or else they all do it but it would have been written: and its monkeys, in the plural. I don’t have the answer.
In the series: the directors to keep an eye on, so there is Sylvain Creuzevault.
For the virtual part… for this show, I’m sorry, it’s in very bad taste, but you will go from skull to skull. Take a good look, there are some on the whole length of the stage. And I even think we’ll give you a trip inside Marx’s skull.
Featured Image & all pictures : from the show : The Capital and its monkey – 2014
“For Free” : I wrote this post yesterday, following a ‘surprise hit’ and a great anger afterwards. I shouldn’t have written it, let alone published it. I have shown a complete lack of education and respect – and I sincerely beg your forgiveness. I thought a little late to remove that. I just wanted to say, and I did it very badly, my true trust. I apologize to you.
… now that I have set a very heavy atmosphere… don’t forget that I’m a girl – not a lady – a girl – so all the faults of a girl, I have them & I’m neither sweet nor classy. And certainly not cute. In real life, I would have killed myself trying to make you laugh at the end by realizing my stupidity: a girl. Unbearable.
Anyway, anyway. Tomorrow, I will try to explain how I imagine the themes for an annual program.