When the novelist, poet and playwright Nikolai GOGOL, born in Ukraine in 1809 (and died in Moscow in 1852), arrived in Petersburg, he discovered a gigantic city built by Tsar Peter the Great who was greatly inspired by European models. The construction of this city, located on swamps, generates misery and slums, while increased poverty appears at the gates of the city. The shortcomings of this vast architectural project aroused in GOGOL, observer and analyst of his time, the following reflection: how does one build oneself in a city “too big”?
If the Avignon OFF often gives pride of place to GOGOL plays, in particular the famous short story: “Le journal d’un fou”, the general public is less familiar with “Le Nez” presented this year by the company La voix des plumes. This company, familiar with this Russian author, has already performed during the 2014 and 2015 seasons, 150 performances of GOGOL’s emblematic play: “Le Révizor”.
“The Nose” from the collection entitled “Stories from Petersburg” is a farce in the form of satire: Kovalev wakes up and finds that his nose has disappeared; here he is immersed in anguish: how is he going to work, lead a social life, face everyday life, seduce his fiancée? What’s more, his nose does as he pleases, since like a free electron, he spreads revolutionary ideas in the good city of Petersburg…
This fable, often presented as a tale for children, is reminiscent of the facetiousness of Molière as well as the critical spirit of La Fontaine’s Fables. If through this play, it is the codes of classic comedy that are emerging everywhere in Europe, we also cannot help but think of Cyrano de Bergerac. Indeed, if these two plays differ in many points, the protagonist is identical…
Interviewed following one of the first performances, Ronan RIVIERE, director and actor talks about his work. First of all, he claims “the troupe spirit” which presides over each of his shows and of course over this 4th opus put together with the same company, “a close-knit team above all. I like to share a crush literary in such a way as to extract a visual object, a universe in which the actors only have to play”. For him, the staging is a bit like an opera. “The corollary of this type of project” he continues “is that it requires a substantial financial budget upstream, which can constitute a financial risk”.
Regarding the staging, Ronan RIVIERE who works with a scenographer, was inspired by the paintings of peasants of that time. The very elaborate staging takes the bias of a decor that evokes the
Russian Venice and whose patina and erosion symbolize both the cracking veneer of high society as well as the wear and tear of the moujiks. As for the ingenious director, he is not to be outdone, since he does not hesitate to show off his legs on stage in a “simple and brutal at the same time” spirit.
About the talented Michael GIORNO-COHEN who truly captures the light by embodying (in the literal sense of the term!) the barber, the director is full of praise: “He is super generous”. Hailing his playing power, he underlines his “ability to go to places that are strong”.
Special satisfaction also, to his wife on stage, the very talented Prascovia (Amélie VIGNEAUX) with such telling expressions…
The Avignon Theater Festival is coming to an end, but if you want to perfect your knowledge of the passionate and rigorous work of this company, you can extend the summer feast (this play is presented daily at the OFF from July 7 to 30 inclusive at the Théâtre Les Gémeaux at 7.30 p.m.), reuniting with this same troupe in another project, dear to the heart of its director, namely “LA FOIRE DE MADRID” by Lope de Vega, one of the greatest authors of the Spanish golden century, who inspired de Molière (from 08 to 25/09 Thursday and Friday at 9 p.m., Saturday at 4:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. as well as Sunday at 4:30 p.m. at the Cartoucherie – Paris 12th).