Le Silence des communistes

after Vittorio Foa, Miriam Mafai, Alfredo Reichlin

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The 2007 archive

Jean-Pierre Vincent

Paris / Avignon / Created in 2007

Le Silence des communistes © Christophe Raynaud de Lage / Festival d'Avignon


In 1959, Jean-Pierre Vincent made his debut as an actor in a high school drama group at the Lycée Louis-Le-Grand in Paris, alongside Jérôme Deschamps and Patrice Chéreau. That is also where he first tried his hand at directing. He also acted and assisted in Patrice Chéreau's first plays, before joining him at the Théâtre de Sartrouville until 1968, when, together with Jean Jourdheuil, they formed the Vincent-Jourdheuil company, the Théâtre de l'Espérance. They enjoyed a certain success with La Noce chez les petits-bourgeois (A Respectable Wedding) by Bertolt Brecht, and went on to produce about a dozen memorable shows before their Tex Pop (Théâtre Experimental Populaire) project in a Parisian night-spot, Le Palace. In 1975, the company disbanded and Jean-Pierre Vincent was named director of the Théâtre National de Strasbourg, a collective project with a group of actors, authors, playwrights and stage directors. In 1983, he became administrator of the Comédie-Française, a post he left in 1986 to return to directing plays independently and to teach at the Conservatoire National Supérieur d'Art Dramatique.
His stint in Strasbourg was marked by, amongst other productions, Emile Zola's Germinal, Vichy Fictions, Molière's Le Misanthrope (The Misanthropist) and Le Palais de Justice (The Court House). At the Comédie-Française he had the playwrights Jean Audureau and Jean Genet added to the company's repertory and brought Klaus Michael Grüber and Luca Ronconi to France. In 1990, he took over as head of the Théâtre des Amandiers in Nanterre where he alternated between contemporary new productions and classical repertory. In 2001, he once again went independent and formed a new company, Studio Libre.
At the Avignon Festival, he took part in the creation of the “Théâtre Ouvert” where he directed the Camp du Drap d'Or (The Golden Sheet Camp) by Rezvani. He also directed in Avignon Dans la Jungle des Villes (In the Jungle of Cities) by Bertolt Brecht in 1972, En R'venant d'l'Expo (Returning From the Exhibition) by Jean-Claude Grumberg in 1973, Peines d'Amour Perdues (Love's Labour's Lost) by Shakespeare in 1980, Dernières Nouvelles de la Peste (The Last News about the Plague) by Bertrand Chartreux in the Courtyard of Honour in 1983, Shakespeare's Macbeth in the Courtyard of Honour in 1985, Œdipe à Colone and Œdipe tyran (Oedipus) by Sophocles in 1989, Les Fourberies de Scapin (Scapin's Schemings) by Molière in the Courtyard of Honour in 1990, Lorenzaccio by Alfred Musset in the Courtyard of Honour in 2000 and Le Fou et Sa Femme Ce Soir Dans Pancomedia (The Madman and his Wife this Evening in Pancomedia) by Botho Strauss en 2002.

Did they really believe in the coming of the revolution, Vittorio Foa, Miriam Mafai and Alfredo Reichlin? These three left-wing militants, members of the Italian Communist Party ask themselves about how engaged they've been in Italian politics since the end of the Second World War. Certainly they didn't really believe, but they have always thought it's necessary to be committed to changing the state of things, be it in a profound or limited way. They have never passively accepted social injustice.
Jean-Pierre Vincent uses their correspondence to bring to the stage this idea which is perpetually moving, this thought which not only analyses the past, but which takes us, with plenty of feeling into the present world and towards the future one. No concessions, no empty words are used to question some people's silence on Stalinism, to question where they failed, to question the need to rethink the way society is organised. Globali-sation and the end of the value of “work” as the basic means of socialising are at the heart of their concerns. They want to imagine a new community where everyone must feel responsible and thus reject solitude, withdrawal and the “everyone-for-themselves” attitude. Jean-Pierre Vincent has chosen to stage the production particularly close to the audience so that they hear these voices who untiringly challenge us all in a bid to combat the ambient feeling of doom and gloom. In rummaging, among what European culture has acquired, for arms with which to re-establish a noble, honest and frank political discourse, one which will allow for dreams and utopian vision, Vittorio Foa, Miriam Mafai and Alfredo Reichlin carry out an indispensable task.


traduction et mise en espace :Jean-Pierre Vincent
avec :Gilles David, Melania Giglio, Charlie Nelson
dramaturgie :Bernard Chartreux
lumières: Alain Poisson
production déléguée :Festival d'Avignon
texte publié aux éditions de l'Arche


coproduction :Festival d'Avignon, le Studio Libre
Le Festival d'Avignon reçoit le soutien de :l'Adami pour la production

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