Angelo, tyran de Padoue

by Victor Hugo

  • Theatre
  • Show
The 2009 archive

Christophe Honoré

Paris / Created in 2009

Angelo, tyran de Padoue © Christophe Raynaud de Lage / Festival d'Avignon


In choosing Victor Hugo for his first major theatre direction project, Christophe Honoré amazes, intrigues. Angelo, the Tyrant of Padua is even more surprising: rarely staged, this play is almost incongruous. For him, it is a text whose clarity obviously hides secret doors and obscure and ambiguous underground passages. In it he looked for, and found, two female roles for Clotilde Hesme (Tisbe) and Emmanuelle Devos (Catarina). The first is Angelo's mistress, the second his wife, but both of them secretly love the same man, Rodolfo. Powerless to make himself loved, jealous, suspicious, authoritarian and violent, the tyrant does not succeed in changing the course of his inclinations. Hugo thus wrote a drama of hearts in which the harshest power plays with the purest feelings. This domestic tyranny, which turns into a romantic melodrama, allows Christophe Honoré and his actors to explore the territory of the intimate. For the issue of tyranny is not so much power as desire. It is its forms, as they manifest themselves and break out that the show tries to capture, if only for a moment. On the stage, here is then the amorous language, the bodies of desires, the eternal vows, a proof or two of love, but above all the strategies, hopes and nightmares that they engender. Why, in this cold universe, must desire infiltrate despite everything and turn things upside-down, throw everything to the ground, revolt? This question is at the core of Christophe Honoré's work. Here, he tackles the text with the freedom of the cinema, a formal freedom that permits him to “reframe” the bodies, to go closer, to have the seething of hearts be seen and felt on the women's skin. But he nonetheless resorts to the theatre, to actors and actresses, unfolding a lyricism that comes from the acting, that is not afraid to be visible, to impose bursts and flights of feeling as well as despondencies and agonies. ADB


A romantic drama in prose, Angelo, the Tyrant of Padua is a little-known play from the repertory of Victor Hugo (1802-1885). He was 30 years old but had already acquired maturity when he wrote this story of tyranny and feelings for the stage of the Théâtre-Français. A tragedy infused with power and fragility in which the destiny of four passionate beings is played out in the space of three days.


direction: Christophe Honoré
direction assistance: Florian Richaud
scenography: Samuel Deshors
lighting: Rémy Chevrin
sound: Valérie Deloof
costumes: Yohji Yamamoto and Limi Feu
with: Jean-Charles Clichet, Anaïs Demoustier, Emmanuelle Devos, Marcial di Fonzo Bo, Clotilde Hesme, Julien Honoré, Hervé Lassïnce, Sébastien Pouderoux (cast underway)


production déléguée: Festival d'Avignon
coproduction: France Télévisions, Centre dramatique national Orléans/Loiret/Centre,
Maison des Arts et de la Culture de Créteil, Cddb Théâtre de Lorient Centre dramatique national, Théâtre de St-Quentin-en-Yvelines Scène nationale.
avec le soutien: de la Région Ile-de-France, de la Comédie de Reims Centre dramatique national, de Yohji Yamamoto et de Limi Feu.
avec l'aide: du CentQuatre établissement artistique de la Ville de Paris et la participation artistique du Jeune Théâtre National
Le Festival d'Avignon reçoit le soutien de l'Adami pour la production

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