My Exalted youth

  • Theatre
  • Show
The 2022 archive

Olivier Py

Avignon / Created in 2022

Portrait of an untamable youth with Harlequin as its central character. Twenty-seven years after La Servante, Olivier Py once again calls on his longtime companions and on a new generation of actors for a 10-hour epic at the crossroads of the manifesto, the celebration, and the pilgrimage.

My Exalted youth, Olivier Py, 2022 © Christophe Raynaud de Lage / Festival d'Avignon


“Something’s coming! Something’s always coming. What if nothing came?” A forgotten poet, Alcandre senses in a pizza delivery boy the insolence and exuberance of a new Harlequin. Flanked by a quartet of young actors, the histrion and his mentor prepare pranks that will become the cornerstones of an epic tetralogy. Harlequin’s beginnings? A falsified poem which puts poetics to the test of vanities. Harlequin’s betrayal? The counterfeiting of a saint. Harlequin’s death? In a cannibal restaurant popular among the powerful. Harlequin’s triumph? A fake death and resurrection. With Harlequin, Olivier Py explores a mythic figure of comedy and turns it into a sweet, patched, multicoloured, and flamboyant hero on a quest for transcendence. Within the gymnase Aubanel, the author and director, along with his faithful scenographer Pierre-André Weitz, reinstall the varnished wood set they imagined twenty-seven years ago for La Servante. Under Harlequin’s power, the proscenium becomes a performing machine for ten actors and two musicians in this tragi-comic adventure. Alongside Céline Chéenne, who appeared in La Servante, Bertrand de Roffignac, a perfect Harlequin, Xavier Gallais as the Rimbaud-obsessed Alcandre, and a new generation of actors enliven this epic at the crossroads of the manifesto, the celebration, and the pilgrimage. A passing of the baton, from one generation to the next.  


With Olivier Balazuc, Damien Bigourdan, Céline Chéenne, Pauline Deshons, Emilien Diard-Detoeuf, Xavier Gallais, Geert van Herwijnen, Julien Jolly, Flannan Obé, Eva Rami, Bertrand de Roffignac, Antoni Sykopoulos

Text and direction Olivier Py
Set design, costumes and make-up Pierre-André Weitz
Lights Bertrand Killy
Sound Rémi Berger Spirou
Original songs (lyrics and compositions) Olivier Py 
Composition and percussions Julien Jolly
Composition and arrangements Antoni Sykopoulos
Assistant direction Guillaume Gendreau
Assistant costumes Nathalie Bègue


Production Festival d’Avignon
Co-production Théâtre National Populaire de Villeurbanne, Théâtre de Liège and DC&J Création
With the artistic participation of the Jeune Théâtre National
With the support of the Tax Shelter of the Federal Government of Belgium, Inver Tax Shelter
With the help of the Centquatre-Paris, Les Plateaux Sauvages, Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe
Residency La FabricA du Festival d’Avignon

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Press conference - 7 July

  • Press conference
  • Amir Reza Koohestani
  • Kirill Serebrennikov
  • Olivier Py
  • Igor Mendjisky
  • Élise Vigier

The 2022 archive

Our masked lives

Debate: creators' rights, hidden lives, social policy...
  • Professional meeting
With Audiens

The 2022 archive

Avec ou sans dieu

  • Cinematographic territories
  • Films
by Stéphane Mercurio, Florine Clap

The 2022 archive

"Faith and Culture" meetings

Meeting with Olivier Py and Olivier Balazuc
  • The Workshops of thought
With the Diocese of Avignon

The 2022 archive