Henry VI

by William Shakespeare

  • Theatre
  • Show
The 2014 archive

Thomas Jolly

Rouen

Thomas Jolly offers to what he calls the “ephemeral community” made up of actors and of the audience the opportunity to take part in an eighteen-hour performance to follow, almost step by step, the life of King Henry VI. Three plays and fifteen acts, a hundred and fifty characters (be they historical or a product of the author's imagination), to take us through two wars and the various family conflicts that marked the reign of this king.
Henry VI © Christophe Raynaud de Lage / Festival d'Avignon

Practical infos

Presentation

A heroic saga, a historical epic, an endless theatrical adventure, a dramatic odyssey... How to describe this event that breaks with what we are used to seeing and forces us to forget the conventions of a theatre that sometimes seem to wilt and wither, to suppress itself? Thomas Jolly offers to what he calls the “ephemeral community” made up of actors and of the audience the opportunity to take part in an eighteen-hour performance to follow, almost step by step, the life of King Henry VI. Three plays and fifteen acts, a hundred and fifty characters (be they historical or a product of the author's imagination), to take us through two wars and the various family conflicts that marked the reign of this king, much too kind and too pious. Amidst the chaos of a time of upheaval, between the end of the Middle Ages and the struggling beginnings of the modern era, William Shakespeare created a complex trilogy. Thomas Jolly and his actors choose to make it theirs and to offer a genre-bending show. They create a universe in which historical landmarks fade away and reject the temptation of reconstitution, using every genre at their disposal, from farce to burlesque, from comedy to tragedy, to invite us to a celebration of the theatre. A thrilling and energetic theatre, built with simple means. A theatre that can but heighten the power of Shakespeare's words. A “popular” theatre, in the way Victor Hugo understood it: “There are two ways to elicit passion in a crowd at the theatre: by showing them a grand spectacle, or by showing them the truth. Spectacle will grab the masses. Truth grabs the individual.”

The Wars of the Roses
The Wars of the Roses, which turned England into a bloody battlefield between 1455 and 1485, finds its origins in a dispute over succession between two branches of the House of Plantagenet, who had ruled England since 1216: the Houses of Lancaster and York. Related by blood as direct descendants of King Edward III, they were nonetheless torn apart by ambition during the tumultuous reign of King Henry VI, a Lancaster. It was his cousin Richard, Duke of York, who opened hostilities in 1455, allowing his son to become King Edward IV in 1461, after deposing Henry VI. The House of York would then rule England, amid continuing conflict, first with Edward V, then with the ruthless Richard III, until the throne was claimed by Henry Tudor. A Lancaster, Henry VII would marry Elizabeth of York, daughter of King Edward IV, sister of King Edward V, and niece of King Richard III...

Jean-François Perrier, avril 2014

"Henry VI" is published in "Œuvres complètes III : Histoires I", by éditions Gallimard, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, translated by Line Cottegnies.

Distribution

Direction and scenography Thomas Jolly
Direction assistant Alexandre Dain
Translation Line Cottegnies
Dramaturgy collaboration Julie Lerat-Gersant
Lighting Léry Chédemail, Antoine Travert, Thomas Jolly
Music and sound Clément Mirguet
Costumes Sylvette Dequest et Marie Bramsen

With 
Johann Abiola, Damien Avice, Bruno Bayeux, Nathan Bernat, Geoffrey Carey, Gilles Chabrier, Eric Challier, Armand Chomant-Planson, Alexandre Dain, Flora Diguet, Antonin Durand, Émeline Frémont, Damien Gabriac, Thomas Germaine, Thomas Jolly, Nicolas Jullien, Pier Lamandé, Martin Legros, Julie Lerat-Gersant, Olivier Leroy, Jean-Baptiste Papon, Charline Porrone, Jean-Marc Talbot, Manon Thorel, Antoine Travert

 

Production

Production La Piccola Familia, Théâtre National de Bretagne, Rennes

Coproduction Le Trident Scène nationale de Cherbourg-Octeville, Les Gémeaux Scène nationale de Sceaux, Comédie de Béthune Centre dramatique national Nord-Pas de Calais, Théâtre de l'Archipel Scène nationale de Perpignan, Le Bateau Feu Scène nationale de Dunkerque, Scène nationale Évreux Louviers, TNT Théâtre National de Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées, TAP Théâtre Auditorium de Poitiers, Quai des Arts-Argentan dans le cadre des Relais Culturels Régionaux, Théâtre d'Arras Scène conventionnée musique et théâtre, Centre dramatique national de Haute-Normandie

With the support of Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, de l'ONDA, 
de l'ODIA Normandie, de la Fondation BNP Paribas, de la Spedidam et de l'Adami

In pictures

On video

Read more