by Robert Garnier

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The 2007 archive

Robert Cantarella

Dijon / Paris

Hippolyte © Christophe Raynaud de Lage / Festival d'Avignon

Practical infos


Robert Cantarella comes from Marseille where he studied mathematics and fine arts. He trained at the Théâtre National de Chaillot directed at the time by Antoine Vitez. As early as 1983, he created the Théâtre du Quai de la Gare in Paris, then founded the Compagnies des Ours. He met the writer Philippe Minyana in 1987 and staged his first play Inventaires (Inventories). It marked the beginning of a long partnership.
Alternating new plays and classics, he has put on Lars Norén, Michel Vinaver, Jean Magnan, Cervantès, Shakespeare, O'Neill, Chekhov and Strindberg. Present on stage abroad in Poland, the Philippines, Morocco and Germany, he produced Michel Vinaver's most recent play September 11, 2001 at the 2005 CalArts in Los Angeles. He was director of the Théâtre Dijon Bourgogne, National Drama Centre, in July 2000. He left in 2007 to join Frédéric Fisbach, as co-director of the “104” in Paris, an art space that will open in 2008. He produced the documentary Carrosserie (Bodywork) in 2004. Léo Scheer published one of his texts and the Éditions Théâtrales has published Ce sont des Humains qu'il Nous Faut (It's Humans We Need) in 2006.
For the 2007 edition of the Avignon Festival, Robert Cantarella is again directing Hippolyte by Robert Garnier which he directed in Dijon in 2005, with some changes in the cast. He is also proposing a few short forms for a small audience called Aura Comprise (Aura Included).
Robert Cantarella has already presented in Avignon Le Siège de Numance (The Seat of Numance) in 1992, L'Homme Nu (The Naked Man) and Murder in 1993, and Domaine Public (Public Domain) in 1996.

“I have always had love sewn to my entrails”, wrote Robert Garnier, the author of Hippolyte, a work that Robert Cantarella chose for its language that comes from the middle of the sixteenth century and which he wanted to transmit today, an archaic language but with strangely familiar tones. It is a crude language that has gone through the wars of religion and the Saint Bartholomew Massacre, a changing, joyous, lyrical language that tells of the torments of passion and desire with surprising violence. This intimate but relevant armchair theatre, that hasn't been performed inside theatres, is strangely beyond morality. It tells the tale of a merciless struggle between heroes of opposing passions. His Phaedra is consumed with love for one Hippolytus who declares, “Never the will to love them shall ever take me”, “them”, meaning women. This Phaedra, is scorned by an absent Theseus, whom Robert Garnier lets speak in utter and unbridled freedom.
Robert Cantarella has the actors rub shoulders with the spectators inside a contemporary space. He creates an ever-darkening world, as monstrosity and horror become the only possible outcomes of Phaedra's war of love. The combat between reason and passion is waged here with all the violence of raw emotions and desires, without any form of sentimentality, within an ordinary, shared space where the actor, through his body and his voice depicts a tragic and comic world to express the madness of love in the eternal combat between Eros and Thanatos. This Hippolyte, written a century before Racine's Phèdre (Phaedra) is not a museum piece but a living work.


conception et directeur d'acteurs: Robert Cantarella
avec: Frédéric Fisbach, Johanna Korthals Altes, Laure Mathis, Nicolas Maury, Grégoire Tachnakian, Émilien Tessier
et le chien: Syp
dispositif scénique et environnement: Laurent P. Berger
musique: Alexandre Meyer
lumières: Victor Dos Santos, Laurent P. Berger
vidéo: Robert Cantarella
collaborateur: Julien Fiséra
assistante: Camille Louis
régie générale: Patrick Buoncristiani
maître chien: Étienne Girardet
texte publié: aux éditions Belles Lettres


coproduction: Passer pour des Belges, Théâtre Dijon Bourgogne, Festival d'Avignon
avec le soutien :du ministère de la Culture et de la Communication


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