Rêve et Folie

    18/05  | 20:30
    19/05  | 20:30
    20/05  | 20:30
    22/05  | 20:30
    23/05  | 20:30
    24/05  | 20:30
    25/05  | 15:00

€ 25 / € 20

An aesthete of silence and a sculptor of language, Claude Régy elevates theatre to its most radical essence and gets it to say the unsayable. In Rêve et Folie, he is concluding his research into the far reaches of consciousness. The dazzling life of the Austrian poet Georg Trakl is characterised by plenty of examples of him overstepping the mark and breaking taboos. Plagued by drug addiction, alcoholism and incest, he suffered from bouts of insanity and was obsessed with his own self-destruction, dying of a cocaine overdose at the age of 27 when serving on the front as a pharmacist in the First World War. His language is riven with the contradictions that dominated his life, while his phrases act against one another and his images clash together, producing strange associations. In this long poem by Trakl, Régy continues his exploration of that place in man “beyond darkness” and opens up dark expanses that dazzle us with sudden bursts of clarity.

See also
Artist Talk & Film

Georg Trakl

French translation
Marc Petit & Jean-Claude Schneider

Gallimard Paris

Claude Régy

Alexandre Barry

Sallahdyn Khatir

Light design
Alexandre Barry, assisted by Pierre Grasset

Sound design
Philippe Cachia

Yann Boudaud

Technical direction
Sallahdyn Khatir

Mike Sens – MWT

Light technician
Pierre Grasset, Manon Froquet

Sound technician
Philippe Cachia

Production management
Bertrand Krill

Set construction
Atelier Nanterre-Amandiers

Kunstenfestivaldesarts, KVS

Les Ateliers Contemporains (Paris)

Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Nanterre-Amandiers, Festival d’Automne à Paris, Théâtre national de Toulouse, Théâtre Garonne (Toulouse), Comédie de Caen, Comédie de Reims

Performance in Brussels supported by
Institut français & Ambassade de France en Belgique in the framework of EXTRA

Les Ateliers Contemporains is a theatre company supported by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication

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Rêve et Folie

“Who might he have been?” Rilke asks this question, but to this day no one has been able to come up with an answer. A drug addict and alcoholic, he commits incest, suffers from bouts of insanity, is obsessed with his own destruction and is steeped in Christianity. Born in Salzburg in 1887 to a Protestant father and a Catholic mother, he interrupts his studies to sign up as a military pharmacist in 1910.
He is 23 years old.
Four years later the First World War breaks out in Europe.
The young pharmacist-soldier finds himself on the front line at Grodek, unable to cope with the sheer number of wounded or the severity of their injuries, the combined cries of men and horses, disembowelled, limbs blown off or with head injuries.
The poet-pharmacist puts aside certain drugs intended for the wounded for his own use.
He dies of a cocaine overdose.
Suicide or accidental death, no one knows.
Death comes in a military hospital near Grodek in November 1914.
Battle of Grodek: “All the roads lead to black decay”. His final poem: Grodek.
Dead at the age of 27.
His first work is published in journals at 21. In his six years of writing, Trakl creates a lifetime of work. Trakl and Rimbaud, the same precocious genius.
Laconic and intense, Trakl brings the seemingly irreconcilable together with devastating effect.
Preoccupied with rhythms and sounds, attentive to silence, he opens up inner spaces within us: we enter into a mode of perception beyond that of pure intelligibility.
Coming out of an exhibition of African masks, Picasso said that his art form – painting – has nothing to do with aesthetics, but rather everything to do with magic.
The first painters coloured their hands and then applied them to the rocky cave walls as they sheltered from bad weather. The caves were a shelter to predatory creatures too, mainly birds who delight in certain parts of the human body. The vultures favoured the corpses’ eyes first, then their brains.
Eye sockets and craniums pecked cleaned.
Cries of vultures, here and there, rip through Trakl’s poems.
With Trakl it is about a magical organisation of language.
It reaches the essential core of our being and our contradictions.
Enjoying incest as a young man with his willing sister, letting himself be contaminated by guilt. Accursed race he went on to write.
His sister is four years younger than him.
“Two wolves have mingled their blood in a stony embrace”
Thus raising incest to a level where, it seems, angels live.
The image of the sister is always there – an endlessly repeated appearance – but always there like a mythical figure, sometimes designated by the term “adolescent”. A mythical figure. And yet, wounded, the sister bleeds.
This sister, Grete – this is her shortened first name – was an excellent musician.
Very soon her brother had turned her into a drug addict – in his imitation – and three years after her brother’s death, she took her own life.
Like Pierre Soulages, well before him Georg Trakl works in what has been called “beyond black”.
Against a black background, both create harsh qualities and light, diffracted, becomes visible. The light of darkness can be seen.
When his father died, Georg was 23. At mealtimes – only recalled – the bread bleeds. Or rather, hard as stone at his mother’s touch, it cannot be broken.
Who might he have been, the one who wrote:
“The sluggish word grasps in vain
After the incomprehensible that touches our mind’s
Last borders only in dark silence”

Claude Régy, January 2016

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Georg Trakl was born in Salzburg in 1887 into a family of well-off shopkeepers. His father ran a hardware store and was a Protestant of Hungarian origin; his mother was Catholic, had a passion for antiques and neglected her family. He was the fifth of seven children who spoke French with their governess. As a teenager, he embarked on an intense incestuous relationship with his sister Margarethe, who was four years his junior. The family subsequently destroyed their correspondence, but the image of the sister and the anxiety and guilt about their physical relationship were to haunt his work. From 1904 he was part of a circle of young poets and admired Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine and Nietzsche. He left school and first encountered drugs while doing a placement in a pharmacy in 1905. In 1908 he left for Vienna to begin his pharmacy studies. He established links with artistic circles in the city and composed a first collection of his poems (that would only be published in 1939). In 1912, while a military pharmacist, he met the owner of the literary review Der Brenner who was to become the most ardent supporter of his poetry. From then on his work was regularly published in Vienna and Berlin in avant-garde journals or publications. Following the declaration of war, he was mobilised into the health service and sent to the eastern front (Poland/Ukraine) where he found himself alone for two days in deplorable conditions looking after the wounded and dying from the Battle of Grodek. Following this traumatic experience, he attempted suicide; wounded and depressed, he was repatriated to the military hospital in Kraków and died of a cocaine overdose on 2 November 1914.

Claude Régy was born in 1923. Reading Dostoyevsky as a teenager “had the same effect on him as an axe blow shattering the frozen sea”. After studying political science, he explored drama under Charles Dullin and then Tania Balachova. In 1952, his first production was the premiere in France of Doña Rosita by Federico García Lorca. He soon moved away from psychological realism and naturalism, renouncing the simplification of so-called “political” theatre in particular. At the opposite extreme of entertainment, he chose to venture towards other performance spaces and life spaces: in other words, lost spaces. Contemporary dramatic writing – works that he has usually been the first to discover – have guided him towards extreme experiences where all the certainties about the nature of real life fall apart. Claude Régy has premiered plays in France by Harold Pinter, Marguerite Duras, Nathalie Sarraute, Edouard Bond, Peter Handke, Botho Strauss, Maurice Maeterlinck, Gregory Motton, David Harrower, Jon Fosse and Sarah Kane. He has directed Philippe Noiret, Michel Piccoli, Delphine Seyrig, Michel Bouquet, Jean Rochefort, Madeleine Renaud, Pierre Dux, Maria Casarès, Alain Cuny, Pierre Brasseur, Michael Lonsdale, Jeanne Moreau, Gérard Depardieu, Bulle Ogier, Emmanuelle Riva, Christine Boisson, Valérie Dréville, Isabelle Huppert and Jean-Quentin Châtelain.

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