20, 21, 22, 23/05 – 20:30
24/05 – 15:00 + 20:30
1h 30min

It is evening. Through the lighted windows of a house, a man looks in at a family: a father, mother, two daughters, and a sleeping toddler. They seem happy, but they do not know that fate has struck. The man is there to announce that their eldest daughter has drowned. He hesitates, but the funeral procession inexorably approaches... The timeless tragedy Intérieur (1894) by Belgian Symbolist writer Maurice Maeterlinck merges life with death. Claude Régy already directed this ‘sea of darkness’ back in 1985. In 2013, at the age of 90, the unique French theatre figure trekked to Shizuoka to perform the piece again with a Japanese company. The encounter between Régy’s theatre – minimalist, formal, almost sacred – and Japanese culture seemed quite obvious. It culminated in a gripping, uncompromising piece in which movement, lighting, and language are reduced to their most essential form. Intérieur is a performance of surreal slowness and sublime beauty. A masterpiece.

Based on
Intérieur (1894) by Maurice Maeterlinck

Adapted & directed by
Claude Régy

Performed by
Soichiro Yoshiue, Yoji Izumi, Asuka Fuse, Miki Takii, Tsuyoshi Kijima, Haruyo Suzuki, Kaori Ibii, Mana Yumii, Gentaro Shimofusa, Hiroko Matsuda, Kouichi Ohtaka, Hibiki Sekine

Japanese translation
Yoshiji Yokoyama

Alexandre Barry

Sallahdyn Khatir

Rémi Godfroy

Sallahdyn Khatir, Mai Ooka

Translator/assistant for the artistic team
Hiromi Asai

Technical direction
Sallahdyn Khatir

Lighting technician
Pierre Gaillardot

Production & administration
Bertrand Krill

Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Théâtre Varia

Les Ateliers Contemporains (Paris), Shizuoka Performing Arts Center

Co-production of the European tour
Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Wiener Festwochen, Festival d’Automne à Paris

Supported by
Institut français – program “Théâtre Export”, Japan Foundation

With the generous support of
Van Cleef & Arpels

Back to top


It is evening. The family who live there can be seen through the windows. They seem calm. But outside the walls surrounding these living people, it is all about showing what is hidden inside the “sea of darkness” Maeterlinck talks about, this area of hidden holes in us that seem unattainable because they go beyond both conscious and unconscious life. A black hole emits light. And dares talk about what it is that we hide with all our heart: death. The death of a child in this family. This calm family appearing to be happy. A funeral procession, a stretcher bearing a dead girl, is on its way, inexorably nearing the house. And is the calm of the family in the house disturbed without them knowing it, with the premonition that one of them is about to die, close by, this very night? Perhaps the dead girl wanted to die. She has chosen to die in water, by drowning. In the house a young child is sleeping and the arrival of the stretcher will not wake it because the analogy between sleep and death is so strong. This moving convoy is death’s progress in us.

Maeterlinck associates a word close to us in the space with a more distant image that is completely silent. He therefore makes us very aware of the coexistence of life and death. The two forces act against one another and in doing so form a kind of alliance, a new force. Intérieur gives life to and paints a picture of this essential coexistence of life and death, far removed from indiscriminate fear. Perhaps this is Maeterlinck’s main strength: he initiates us into a world where we can see beyond what is intelligible.

Claude Régy, March 2013

Back to top

Born in Ghent, Belgium, on 29 August 1862, Maurice Maeterlinck was a French-language writer and 1911 winner of the Nobel Prize for literature. Moving away from the influence of French realism towards that of Germanic idealism, Maeterlinck published allegorical poetry (Serres Chaudes, 1889), dozens of plays and even essays popularising biology. Along with Ibsen, Strindberg and Chekhov, Maeterlinck’s plays helped transform how drama was conceived in the late 19th century, and invented a “theatre of the soul” with pronounced symbolism. To a certain extent the concepts of static drama, sublime character or everyday tragedy are due to him. His last works were an international success (L’Oiseau bleu, which was premiered by Constantin Stanislavski in 1908 at the Moscow Art Theatre, has been revived all over the world and still features on the repertoire). His plays went on to inspire numerous 20th century musical masterpieces (by the likes of Wallace, Fauré, Debussy, Dukas and Rachmaninov) and some twenty operas. Claude Régy is familiar with Maeterlinck’s work and he has already staged Intérieur and La Mort de Tintagiles to great critical success (with their respective premieres on 1 October 1985 and 3 February 1997 at the Théâtre Gérard Philipe in Saint-Denis, Paris).

Claude Régy was born in 1923 and staged his first work in 1952. Since the 1960s and 1970s he has focused on contemporary writers such as Marguerite Duras, Nathalie Sarraute and Edward Bond, going on to introduce the likes of Peter Handke, Botho Strauss, Gregory Motton, Jon Fosse, David Harrower, Sarah Kane and Tarjei Vesaas to France and popularising the work of poets Wallace Stevens, Charles Reznikoff and Henri Meschonnic. In 1991 he was awarded the Grand Prix National du Théâtre and in 1994 the Prix des Arts de la Scène from the City of Paris. Claude Régy has directed a number of France’s greatest actors as well as teaching in drama schools and discovering up-and-coming performers. He has published six books about his work – Espaces perdus (1991), L’Ordre des morts (1999), L’État d’incertitude (2001), Au-delà des larmes (2005), La Brûlure du monde (2011) published by Les Solitaires Intempestifs and Dans le désordre (2011) with Actes Sud – and made one film: Nathalie Sarraute – conversations avec Claude Régy (1989). His most recent productions are Homme sans but (Arne Lygre, 2007, Théâtre de l’Odéon), Ode Maritime (Fernando Pessoa, 2009, Festival d’Avignon, Théâtre de la Ville, Paris, tours of Japan and Portugal), Brume de dieu (excerpt from the novel The Birds by Tarjei Vesaas, 2010, Rennes, Paris, touring France and Belgium until 2012) and La Barque le soir (by Tarjei Vesaas, 2012, Théâtre de l’Odéon, tour in France and revived in 2013-14). In June 2013, he produced Maurice Maeterlinck’s Intérieur in Japanese with actors from the Shizuoka Performing Arts Center. The show will be revived in Europe in 2014 in Vienna, Brussels, Avignon and Paris. His work is a reflection on acting, on the essence of theatre and on writing as the main dramatic element, with research on the relationship between shade and light, on the concomitant forces of the word and silence, and on the energy of the void and the heightened clarity of what lies within it.

Back to top