by Paul Claudel

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The 2007 archive

Julie Brochen/Théâtre de l'Aquarium

Paris / Created in 2007

L'Échange © Christophe Raynaud de Lage / Festival d'Avignon


Julie Brochen learned acting at the Conservatoire National Supérieur d'Art Dramatique de Paris, and directed her first play in 1994 - La Cagnotte (The Kitty) by Eugène Labiche which she followed with Penthesilea by Heinrich von Kleist, then Naissances Nouveaux Mondes (Births New Worlds) by Rodrigo García and Roland Fichet and the Décaméron des Femmes (The Women's Decameron) by Julia Voznesenskaya. Invited to the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence in 2002, she presented La Petite Renarde Rusée (The Cunning Little Vixen), an opera by Leos Janàcek. That same year she was appointed as director of the Théâtre de l'Aquarium. With the Compagnons de Jeu, the troupe set up when she left the conservatory, she staged Chekhov's Uncle Vania and Tolstoy's The Living Corpse (Redemption) as a diptych in the Festival d'Automne in 2003. After that came Je Ris de Me Voir si Belle ou Solos au Pluriel (I Laugh to See Myself So Beautiful or Plural Solos) by Charles Gounod and Franck Krawczyk, then Hanjo by Mishima and L'Histoire Vraie De La Péricole (The True Story of La Pericole) based on Jacques Offenbach's operette, which combines true stories and myth with music and theatre.
Julie Brochen pursues an original path, strewn with encounters and readings on the way. It's full of surprises, each time something new, as much in the texts she presents as in the artistic forms that she chooses. With curiosity and delight, she plunges back into L'Échange (The Exchange) by Paul Claudel, back into working on his language which she began under the direction of Jean-Pierre Vincent in 2001 when she played the role of Marthe.

Paul Claudel (1868-1955) was a young diplomat of just twenty-five when he arrived in the United States in 1893. The first version of L'Échange, his third play published one year later, is full of this new experience, of his contact with a society whose rules and manners were unknown to him. He sets for four people in a sort of no man's land by the sea. Two Americans and two Europeans are confined together in a huis clos which will shatter their certitudes and dreams under the weight of their own personal contradictions and changing desires. In following the advice of Paul Claudel himself who said, “In theatre, there is no need to understand… you must become unconscious,” Julie Brochen, who plays the role of Marthe and is joined by Valérie Dréville as co-director, manages to have the words of Claudel spoken at their particular pace and with their particular respiration, their silences and their agitation. It is at the very depths of these words, and within the rhythm of the spoken words that she seeks the truth – sometimes contradictory truths – belonging to each character.
With her troupe, Les Compagnons de Jeu, Julie Brochen so loses herself in this piece that the essence of this extremely rich play can be heard. It is an expression of the winding paths of amorous passion and pure sexual desire, but also of the power of dreams, dreams triggered by the United States, which according to some, “is a country that I read about in a book”. We should remember the author's warning that the 20th Century would see humans become merchandise.
Claudel's lyrical text, truly revolutionary in its form, speaks out in a sort of concert in four-part harmony which prefers the spiritual to the religious, which tells, at the same time, of the pain of exile and the strength of power. Four voices, but above all, “four aspects of one single soul which plays in all four corners.”


avec les Compagnons de Jeu :Julie Brochen, Fred Cacheux, Antoine Hamel, Cécile Péricone
regard: Valérie Dréville
installations sonores et visuelles :Frédéric Le Junter
lumières :Olivier Oudiou
costumes :Sylvette Dequest
maquillages et coiffures :Catherine Nicolas
direction technique: Dominique Fortin
régie lumière: Pascal Joris
régie plateau: Marc Puttaert
administration :Annabelle Delestre
texte publié :aux éditions Gallimard


production: Théâtre de l'Aquarium
en coproduction avec: le Festival d'Avignon
avec la participation artistique: du Jeune théâtre national
Le Festival d'Avignon reçoit le soutien de l'Adami pour la production

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