But what the hell is this show! A props man gets his feet stuck in chairs, the sound return is faulty, a woman speaks on the phone as if it were only her on the set of Lucernaire. And then here is Philippe Rebbot, who we are more used to seeing in comic roles.
In a suit and vest, the actor warns that he is going to give a conference on the harm of tobacco. It was his wife, director of a music school, who forced him to do so. Ivan Ivanovich Nioukhine has the habit of smoking. Castratrice, his wife mistreats him, and he takes advantage of her intervention to confide his marital woes. We recognize the touch of Pierre Pradinas.
In 2014, for his last creation at the head of the CDN-Théâtre de l'Union, in Limoges, the director staged Uncle Vania. With Chekhov's Farces and Short Stories, we can count on his sense of humor to revisit some nuggets of the Russian author: in addition to The Evils of Tobacco, The Marriage Proposal and The Bear, in the translation by André Markowicz and by Françoise Morvan. As well as The Death of a Civil Servant and A Drama, in that of Elsa Triolet, herself of Russian origin. Pierre Pradinas excels at playing small Slavic music, both cheerful and melancholy.
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Everything is serious and nothing is. The well-known Marriage Proposal takes on a new flavor under his direction. If “the line of Lomov and that of Chebukov have always maintained the best relations”, Ivan Vassilievitch and his presumed fiancée Natalia argue like never before for the ownership of a certain meadow. The discussion degenerates into a settling of scores. Malicious, Chekhov gave weapons so that the “poetic creature” that is woman would defend herself. Her suitor is not leading the way. An acute observer of the human soul, the one to whom we owe La Mouette draws characters who are more ambivalent than they appear. We laugh a lot even if some passages are dated.
Nine actors take turns to perform two short plays and a short story alternately. The excellent Philippe Rebbot participates in all performances. Quentin Baillot is as comfortable as an engineer as he is in the role of Pavel Vassilievitch, a famous author who receives into his home and despite himself Madame Mourachkine, a budding writer (pungent Laure Descamps) who absolutely wants to read his play to him. Romain Bertrand is the narrator of this story which will end badly. Everyone plays their part impeccably. Theater as we like it.
“Chekhov's Farces and Short Stories”, at the Théâtre du Lucernaire (Paris 6th), until January 7, 2024. Tel. : 01 45 44 57 34.