Un homme est un homme (A Man is a Man)

by Bertolt Brecht

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The 2004 archive

France / Created in 2004

Un homme est un homme © Bellamy / Festival d'Avignon


Bernard Sobel discovered the theatre of the Berliner Ensemble in Berlin in the final months of Brecht's life. In Paris, he assembled a collective in Gennevilliers with, at the start, only support from the local town council. In 1982, the Théâtre de Gennevillers was made a Centre Dramatique National. From its beginnings it has set out to be “an outward bound place, a place of protest...”, as defined so well by Bruno Bayen. Since 1964, the Centre has been the venue for more than seventy productions. Sobel and his team have often brought to light playwrights who were little known or unknown in France. As well as unearthing playwrights, Bernard Sobel has directed numerous operas, made documentaries and original fiction productions for French television as well as films of his play performances. In 1974, he founded the review Théâtre/Public. Bernard Sobel and his team were at the Avignon Festival in 2001 with Ubu and Denis Lavant, who this time plays Galy Gay, the hero in Man is Man.

Man is Man

Brecht wrote Man is Man on the ruins of a bourgeois type of humanism in the wake of the 1914-1918 War. The slaughter of the youth of Europe, the widespread violation of western values, the old world order gone (new borderlines cut, brusque change of political regimes, disruption of social hierarchy), all this - and more besides – led Brecht to think about humankind in a different way and to imagine the conditions necessary for a new beginning. The man so many dreamed of has never appeared, anywhere. And the debris of bourgeois humanism has been joined by that of communist humanism. Returning in the current context to this theatrical experiment - attempted by a young man at the beginning of the last century - is like resuming the work with his help, without any assurances, on a building site that is still incomplete. Galy Gay leaves home one fine morning to go shopping, his wife remains at home. And this very ordinary man, after one particular meeting, a series of metamorphic changes and a number of trials, turns into an accomplished warlord. The alteration in him is perhapsmorally open to criticism, but it is, for the man concerned, a great advantage. That the capacity to change be a positive attribute, for Brecht remains a pre-requisite, not to say a dogma. He was to re-work this play several times, moderating the transformation of civilian into killer, but never entirely letting it go.


stage direction Bernard Sobel
artistic collaboration : Michèle Raoul-Davis
translation : Bernard Chartreux, Eberhard Spreng et Jean-Pierre Vincent
cast : Michel Bompoil, Pascal Bongard, Éric Caruso, Éric Castex, Mohamed El Hayani, Farid Fadavi, Christine Gagneux, Matthias Girbig, Denis Lavant, Jérémie Lippmann, Damien Witecka
sets : Tina Maselli
costumes and props : Jacqueline Bosson
costumes : Odile Mahoudeau
sound : Bernard Vallery
assistant director : Mirabelle Rousseau


production : Théâtre de Gennevilliers
avec la participation artistique : du jeune théâtre national
avec le soutien : de la Ville de Gennevilliers, du Conseil général des Hauts-de-Seine et de la Région Île-de-France
texte publié par : l'Arche éditeur sous le titre "Homme pour homme"

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