Thierry Hancisse: “let yourself be intoxicated by Claudel’s words”

The cross : Saturday 1er May, we will be able to see you, via the website of the Comédie-Française, in The satin shoe by Paul Claudel, in the form of “theater at the table”. What does this coin represent to you?

Thierry hancisse : I have never seen it play and when I immersed myself in it, at the instigation of our administrator Eric Ruf, reading it was a real revelation. Through the impossible love of Dona Prouhèze and Rodrigue, The satin shoe addresses all mystical themes, faith, the search for infinite love, surpassing oneself and salvation. All the characters want to be saved. This work opens the heart wide thanks to its very particular, very concrete language. The words themselves bring their deep meaning and we only have to clear a vacuum to let ourselves be invaded by them. It is a language that intoxicates us with its density and the 20,000 lines are all more sublime than the others.

During the four theater sessions at the table, which follow the unfolding of the play’s four days, the cast is never the same. What does this exercise consist of?

TH : This allows the greatest number of actors in the troupe to understand the different characters in the play. It is exciting ! And we are so happy to meet around this room that we approach with real greed. We are gathered around the table, with a piano, a few instruments, scraps of costume, “strawberries” for example as Claudel indicates, and decor, a model of a ship among others. We have the text in hand and little rehearsal time. The theater at the table is a sketch from which very beautiful things can emerge. When we rehearse a piece for several weeks, there is always a moment when we get bogged down in “remaking” before we regain a first feeling of wonder. The theater at the table evokes a magnificent spontaneity. This large improvised throw causes an explosion of emotions, a beauty that surprises us ourselves.

Created in 1943 at the Comédie-Française, then staged only a few times by Antoine Vitez, in particular then Olivier Py, does this river play lend itself well to the table?

TH: Its duration and the cost of such production mean that it has not risen much. We considered it a lot at the Comédie-Française and we always dream of giving it. However, The satin shoe lends itself very well to the theater at the table and it is today the only integral offered to the public. It is a piece of trestles, Claudel himself says so in his preamble. He speaks of a ” piece of rope hanging down “, A” most casually smeared canvas “, Etc. It is above all a confrontation of words and souls, a theater of concentration, concreteness and immediacy.

I have to lead the third day, which will air on May 8. I made a few storyboards, thought about the placement of the actors, but on a text like this, you can’t really direct them in their acting: Claudel speaks directly to the actors in a way that is too intimate. The obviousness of the words speaks for itself.


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