Comédie-Française - Ivo van Hove
Electra / Orestes
Following the hugely successful The Damned which premiered at the Cour d’Honneur of the Palais des Papes at the Festival d’Avignon 2016 and was repeated at Salle Richelieu, Ivon van Hove once again joins forces with the company of Comédie-Française, delivering another impressive gallery of characters, focusing on the House Atreides. This second collaboration of Comédie-Française with one of the internationally acclaimed masters of theatre, this time on an ancient Greek tragedy, was the perfect opportunity for Éric Ruf, general administrator of Comédie-Française, and Vangelis Theodoropoulos, artistic director of Athens & Epidaurus Festival, to bring together these two great institutions of European theatre in a collaborative project.
This performance marks the first time ever that the oldest active theatre company in the world will perform at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus.
Ivo van Hove, who opened Athens Festival 2018 with his extremely successful stage adaptation of Bergman’s Persona / After the Rehearsal has clarified that all of his collaborations are born out of his love at first sight with a particular text. In this case, the director brings together two Euripides plays telling the story of Electra and Orestes and more specifically how the two siblings reunite and make a pact to take revenge against their mother, Clytemnestra, and her lover, Aegisthus. This performance also marks the first time that Euripides’ Electra will be performed by Comédie-Française. Orestes was last presented by the company at Salle Richelieu back in 1923.
Widely acclaimed for his formidable talent and his ability to dramatize texts, the director of Toneelgroep Amsterdam constantly redefines his aesthetics and his relationship with the actors. Even though Van Hove denounces the concept of the ‘method,’ he revisits the ancient drama, paying tribute to its social dimension and illuminating the myth with a very clear sense of its relevance to our times.
The story in Ivo van Hove’s words
Electra and Orestes are brother and sister. Young, hurt, fragile and vulnerable, they turn into savage beasts. They have never really known their father, who left when they were little to serve as the commander of the Greek army during the Trojan War. They think of their mother, Clytemnestra, as the enemy, and of their family home as the battleground. Agamemnon’s absence has elevated him into a hero in their eyes. Driven away from their home, the former royal offspring, Electra and Orestes, have become refugees inside their own family and their own country.
Warning: some scenes may offend the sensitivity of young audiences
Directed by Ivo van Hove
Stage adaptation: Bart Van den Eynde and Ivo van Hove
Translated into French: Marie Delcourt-Curvers
Set and lighting design: Jan Versweyveld
Costume design: An D’Huys
Original music - Sound concept: Eric Sleichim
Choreography: Wim Vandekeybus
Dramaturgy: Bart Van den Eynde
Assistant to the director: Laurent Delvert
Assistant to the set designer: Roel Van Berckelaer
Assistant to the costume designer: Sylvie Lombart
Assistant to the lighting designer: François Thouret
Assistant to the sound designer: Pierre Routin
Assistant to the choreographer: Laura Aris
With the actors of Comédie-Française: Claude Mathieu (Coryphaeus), Cécile Brune (chorus), Sylvia Bergé (chorus), Éric Génovèse (Phrygian slave), Bruno Raffaelli (old Mycenaean man), Denis Podalydès (Menelaus), Elsa Lepoivre (Clytemnestra / Helen), Julie Sicard (Chorus), Loïc Corbery (Pylades), Suliane Brahim (Electra), Benjamin Lavernhe (Mycenaean man), Didier Sandre (Tyndaerus), Christophe Montenez (Orestes), Rebecca Marder (Hermione), Gaël Kamilindi (Apollo).
And the actors of L'Académie de la Comédie-Française: Peio Berterretche (Aegisthus), Pauline Chabrol, Olivier Lugo, Noémie Pasteger, Léa Schweitzer (Chorus)
and Adélaïde Ferrière, Emmanuel Jacquet, Rodolphe Théry - Trio Xenakis, Othman Louati, Romain Maisonnasse, Benoît Maurin (percussions)
French translation published by Éditions Gallimard in the Folio theatre collection
Premiere: Salle Richelieu, 27 April 2019