Macbeth Philosopher

Based on William Shakespeare

  • Theatre
  • Show
The 2019 archive

Enzo Verdet and Olivier Py

Avignon / Created in 2019

The madness of Macbeth performed by eight actors, inmates from the Avignon-Le Pontet prison. An exploration of fate and power.

Macbeth Philosopher © Christophe Raynaud de Lage

Practical infos


After King Lear in 2015 and Hamlet in 2016, Olivier Py returns to Shakespeare with one of his darkest plays. Macbeth is a play haunted by the thirst for power, a symbol of the destruction of humanist values, and features the most terrible crimes. Adapted by the director as if it were an opera libretto, the play is a relentless machine performed by eight inmates from the Avignon-Le Pontet prison who put their bodies to the test of the words. Olivier Py shines a black light on Shakespeare's highly poetic language. Revelling in their supreme power, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth begin a journey from which there is no coming back. His madness now left unchecked, the tyrant questions the world and becomes a poet. A poet in love with evil. An essential, violent, and wild work, which explores the concept of fate, the fulfillment of desires, the squashing of any resistance.

A director for the theatre, the opera, and cinema, but also an actor and writer, Olivier Py anchors his work in the preoccupations of his contemporaries in order to open a poetic and political dialogue. Theatre is his culture and instrument: with it, the word becomes action, without ever losing sight of the fact that this gesture—a poem—could one day be the basis of new democratic forms. Olivier Py regularly writes about cultural policy in France and Europe to denounce all forms of social and humanitarian injustice.

As part of its policy to make culture accessible to everyone, the Festival d'Avignon has since 2004 worked in collaboration with the Avignon-Le Pontet prison. In 2014, at Olivier Py's request, this partnership intensified with a workshop he directs with Enzo Verdet. They offer the actors, with the help of the prison's staff, the opportunity to perform outside the walls of the prison.

If Ancient history was his source, William Shakespeare knew how to find inspiration in his contemporaries and brought dramatic language to such intensity that his tragedies and comedies take shape through it. No author has, since the 17th century, met with such universal acclaim. Macbeth is thought to have been created in 1611.


With the participants of the theatre workshop of the Centre pénitentiaire Avignon-Le Pontet : Christian, Mahfoud, Mohamed, Mourad, Olivier, Redwane, Samir, Youssef

Text William Shakespeare
Translation and adaptation Olivier Py
Theatre workshops lead by Olivier Py and Enzo Verdet


Production Festival d'Avignon
With the support of Fondation M6, of Fonds interministériel de prévention pour la délinquance / Ministère de l'Intérieur
In collaboration
with the Direction de l'Administration pénitentiaire



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