“Integrate masks? Stick to reality? It is not for me “: Sylvain Creuzevault, director of the” Brothers Karamazov “

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“On 1,300 pages, I realize that it is not so easy to cut the subplots”, breathed Sylvain Creuzevault, his features drawn, at the end of October 2020. It was a few days before the first performance of his new play at the Théâtre de l’Odéon in Paris. Due to the reconfinement, it was postponed… to October 22, 2021. For a month, it was performed in Paris. Today she is going on tour again.

A year of adjournment and the same spectacular project: to concentrate The Brothers Karamazov (1880), by Dostoevsky – the twists and turns, around a parricide, three legitimate sons and a bastard, blinded by passion, anger, naivety… -, in a three-fifteen-minute play. “This extra time enriched the rehearsals”, believes today the director who has edited in the past Crime and Punishment (1866), L’Adolescent (1875), The demons (1871), and The Grand Inquisitor, story itself taken from Brothers Karamazov. “By overcoming the Karamazovs, we will finally come full circle. “

Without repeating the dialogues word for word

The repetitions, spread over a year and a half, are like a marathon. First warm-up in Paris, in February 2020, and first dramaturgical decisions the following summer, in Eymoutiers, in Haute-Vienne, where Creuzevault set up his company. “With the actors, we went through the whole novel physically, experienced it. I created ellipses, synthesized the trial, summed up in little effect the life of Alyosha who holds a whole book, dismissed certain passages or those involving children. I had prepared workshops to include them, but the administrative constraints cooled me down. ”

“Integrate masks? Stick to reality? It’s not for me. »Sylvain Creuzevault

Step by step. Creuzevault worked, novel in hand, but without taking up the dialogues word for word. The play, which is played out in a large, neutral white decor, practical to represent salons as well as a monastery, a hospital, a prison or a hall of lost steps, has been refined over time. He abandoned extracts from Sade or Nietzsche that he had thought of having the actors read. Left behind the idea of ​​summoning a “temporal clash” on the set, as he had proposed in The Grand Inquisitor, in 2020, where clownish Margaret Thatcher and Donald Trump were invited alongside Christ.

“This time I wanted a simple, more linear and easily accessible dramaturgy. We follow Dostoevsky’s division. The fourth part, which brings together the last three books, takes place with the same two-month ellipse to lead us towards the trial. Everything is snowy, metaphorically changed, for the time of penal colony, madness, suicide begins. “ To signify this swing, Creuzevault made the costumes skate, as if stiffened by ice; added cast shadows in the light shows; insisted that the score, composed and played by musicians in the pit, take on more dissonant accents …

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“Integrate masks? Stick to reality? It is not for me “: Sylvain Creuzevault, director of the” Brothers Karamazov ”