“Edmond”: the victory of the dreamers

«Edmond»: la victoire des rêveurs

Photo: Francois Guillot Agence France-Presse
At 29 years old, Alexis Michalik has also experienced his own “fairy-tale”: the unexpected success of his first play, “The bearer of history”, performed in the City of Light since 2012.

This is what is called a triumph, remained in the annals of the theatre : the creation, in 1897, Cyrano de Bergerac. Inspired by this story, the French Alexis Michalik has himself reaped a great success. His comedy Edmond, that is about to be staged by Serge Denoncourt for Just for laughs, played in Paris since its creation in September 2016 and was awarded five prizes Molière.

“This is the first time that I am going to go see one of my pieces mounted by someone else in another country,” stressed the author, ravi, in a telephone interview punctuated in the background by the clamor greeting another triumph hex become : a match of Blue in the world Cup.

To explain this which has seduced her in the adventure “incredible” of the creation of Cyrano, Alexis Michalik returns it in its historical context. “Before 1800, there were two theaters in Paris : the Comedie-Francaise and the Comedie of Italians. But under Napoleon, will open [a lot] of the rooms. “The Nineteenth century will be so completely the century of the theater, while the twentieth will belong to this new invention of cinema. “And at the end of the Nineteenth century, there was a kind of swan song of the theater, ultimate panache : Cyrano. It is a huge production and no one believes them because Rostand, who was only 29 years old, is a little cheesy. “

The poet, written in a style of another era, the alexandrians — at the same time, it should be remembered, where Strindberg and Ibsen marked the modern dramatists. “And just because Cyrano is not a piece of avant-garde that will be outmoded one day, that it is shining, it becomes a classic since its creation. And that was what made me passionate, it is that it all happens in one night. The night of the first, Rostand became a national poet. “A feat possible only to the time when” the theater was the center of culture “.

Birth of an author

At 29 years old, Alexis Michalik has also experienced his own “fairy-tale” : the unexpected success of his first play, The story, played in the City of Light since 2012. And it is a certain Wajdi Mouawad has inspired him to write. The actor and director had first set up of updated classics such as The taming of nearly tamed or R J, an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet — because he did not believe in the contemporary theatre. “I thought that everything had already been written. I was convinced that the contemporary pieces were, to simplify, is the theatre sofa, comedies a little easier, the public theatre, subsidized, much more research-oriented in the scene on a story. “

It is going to see Forests that it has made the ability to tell an epic story, very narrative, ” in a form that is extremely shakespearean, and yet contemporary “. To develop a formal richness in the service of a story ” that is not incomprehensible “. “It is a bit like that, by accident, that I found myself to write and that I became an author. “An author, for which the success cannot be denied since.

History reinvented

Mixing reality and fiction, Alexis Michalik use a little bit in his play of the same freedom as Rostand himself had taken for his subject — inventing his character from the real Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac, a writer of the Seventeenth century. We see the protagonist ofEdmond to propose to a theatre, in desperation, a piece that he has not yet written. A work in which the creative process will prove to be very improvised according to the chance, the inspiration of the moment and the requirements of the performers or of the producers (pimps)…

This is the first time that I am going to go see one of my pieces mounted by someone else in another country

— Alexis Michalik

“But several of the characters are real, reply the author. And there are things that I’m not even talking about in the room, so it was crazy. Rostand was decorated with the Legion of honor, between two acts of the general, by a minister, who was in the room… “The text primarily reflects the” magic of the theatre. “To Michalik, the masterpiece unexpected romantic Rostand, born after a series of furnaces, dedicated” a little to the victory of the dreamers, the victory of poetry.”

By writing Edmond, the playwright has sought to put ” the soul of Cyrano “. Its structural challenge was to place the piece of Rostand in the spirit of his own. The story reproduced in its frame several of the key elements of the work of 1897, as her ” love triangle impossible.” It recognizes, re-invented, scenes of anthology.

Great tribute to Cyrano, and it uses many passages, but also ” the theatre in general “, the piece is also a nod to Feydeau. It is inspired by the rhythm unbridled of its parts, and place even the author of confusion in a scene that is a true vaudeville.

It is this character that Michalik will be in the film adaptation (scheduled for January in France), his first feature film. With the film Shakespeare in Love — that weaves around the creation of Romeo and Juliet — as an influence declared, Edmond was first a scenario for the big screen.

“It’s crazy : this film is my dream for the past ten or fifteen years. And the room has been such a triumph that it has opened a lot of things which I was not expecting, including the funding of this film. The room was still a big investment, without the headliner… there was a little crossing your fingers. And finally, it has been a tidal wave. There is a little bit of the magic of Cyrano — the success to which Rostand did not believe — in Edmond. “


Text of Alexis Michalik. Directed by Serge Denoncourt. A production Just for laughs. With François-Xavier Dufour, Normand Lévesque, Mathieu Quesnel, Catherine Proulx-Lemay, Émilie Bibeau, Kim Despatis, Marie-Pier Labrecque, Jean-Moïse Martin, Widemir Normil, Daniel Parent, Mathieu Richard, Philippe Thibault-Denis. Presented at the Theatre of the New World, as early as 26 July.