Krzysztof Warlikowski can thank Isabelle Huppert. By his presence and his talent, it saves its vision of “Phèdre (s)” of the sinking. To return to the character immortalized by the work of Racine, the Polish director has relied on three contemporary looks: Wajdi Mouawad, Sarah Kane, and JM Coetzee
The first imagines a Phaedrus. third mondisée and emigrated, symbol of geopolitical upheavals of today. For the second, Phaedra is desire made woman, passion in its raw violence, that of a woman who loves her step-son Hippolytus, the son of her husband Theseus, and who wants to possess, notwithstanding the agreements. The third Nobel Prize in literature, is the author of the novel “Elizabeth Costello” in which he analyzes the female desire in its contradictions.
Through these three visions, Warlikowski creates an unclassifiable character, a woman three faces, a human puzzle reconstituted through Isabelle Huppert. As often with this director, form triumphs over substance as to confuse the message and plunge the viewer normally made in an infinite perplexity. This is what we had felt when he had offered “A Streetcar” after “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams, in 2010, where Isabelle Huppert camped Blanche DuBois. Again, we can not avoid the excesses that make swoon those who confuse the swagger and the show.
While the Polish director has the art of scenography. The incipit on a stage surrounded by ceramic tiles, with seating aligned to one side, a huge transparent cage to the other, which will make whereabouts, is splendid. The cameras surround closer to the characters. The use of microphones allows the hearing without having to force the vote. All this is cut perfectly straight.
The piece begins with a sensual dance Rosalba Torres Gerrero while Norah Krief interprets an Arabic song. Then comes Isabelle Huppert, dark glasses, black coats, black below, blonde wig. She then Aphrodite, goddess of love, but mostly “luxury whore” as she said.
It is impressive as it will be throughout a show that, alas, dark quickly in a hodge podge where a cat would not find her young. The purpose is disjointed. The trash imposes its law in an effects debauchery price of a hard-upmanship, a visual explosion with pictures of movies in the background sandstone scabrous relationship between Phaedra and Hippolytus which human ambiguity erased by the immoderate taste gritty.
playing it will be entitled to Hippolyte in the electric car, Hippolyte who fly in his socks, Hippolyte who masturbates in his socks, Hippolyte who is a blow by Phaedra before announcing that he has gonorrhea. There was a time when such projections could frighten the bourgeois. Today these are childish schoolboy Despite smile. André Roussin said: “The actor who” had its effect, “the spleen”. The director also scene.
So eventually we by no longer grasp anything without tail or head show (especially nor head). Yet in this visual maelstrom, this bric brac sensual and sexual, open the fuck, this theater stomach, Isabelle Huppert floats. She screams, weeps, she implores, she suffers, she loves, she enjoys, she vomited, or it bleeds, it imposes its sulphurous presence on stage which it is the Queen. Even when the text seems to escape him, she clings to the branches and starts in the skin of his character as if nothing had happened, mesmerizing the audience with his majestic grace.
In the end, when she played Elizabeth Costello, she says, as a lecturer of the College de France: “thank you for your attention.” We then wanted to say simply, “Thank you, Madame.” We do not necessarily say the same for everyone.
* Phaedra (s), Wajdi Mouawad / Sarah Kane / J.M. Coetzee. Directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski. With Isabelle Huppert, Agata Buzek, Andrzej Chyra, Alex Descas, Gael Kamilindi Norah Krief, Rosalba Torres Guerrero. Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe (01 44 85 40 40) to May 13