Notes From Underground / Les Carnets du Sous-sol
15 mars 2017
Richard III – Me in front of me, Loyaulté me lie – Médias et Presse
16 mars 2017

Notes From Underground / Les Carnets du Sous-sol – Médias et presse

Teaser du Spectacle

HARRY LLOYD, AT THE HEART OF DOSTOEVSKY

figaro.jpg Armelle Héliot

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Gerald Garutti directs a British actor in his successful adaptation of Notes From Underground. A powerful text offered on a beautiful set design and in a rare setting.

Rendez-vous is given on Friday 14th, 7 p.m., 7 rue Bourg l’Abbé. Les Bains. A constructing site at night. Fences everywhere. Are we mistaken? Have we misunderstood? No. A small group gathers and we catch sight of Gerald Garutti, the director, who invites us to discover a British actor during a theatre moment that Garutti has settled.

We walk up the narrow wooden stairs up to a small room which windows are covered with newspapers. At its centre, a square stage made of an old books patchwork. The effect is superb.

On this stage, this raft, a man is curled up in his chair, covered in a blanket. He stares at the people coming in and sitting down on the chairs placed around the stage. Next to him, a floor lamp that will, later on, be a spotlight. The character, his right arm plastered, will aim it to the audience.

This set design, these lights, this presence, and this look create a very special atmosphere, between intimacy and anxiety.

Suddenly words come out. Impulse, heroic rage. This man, if we correctly get it, has been confined here, in this underground, for ten years… An imprecator that puts the world, humanity and himself, on trial.

In Notes From Underground, a text published in 1864. Dostoevsky imagines a narrator cloistered, ill, spiteful, in his forties. He was a civil servant, he quitted. He is apparently terribly alone. What needs does he have to give himself up like this? Is he telling the truth?

Rage grows gradually. The man speaks to interlocutors that he literally sees. But he finally admits that he is not telling the truth and that he will be sincere. This is the story of his youth and the magnificent craziness of a vendetta: he will simply bump into a man whom he despises, and that will satisfy him completely… Just to say few words of it.

This is a text that has always fascinated the theatre world and we have seen few versions of it. This adaptation is particularly clever. Both the directing and the interpretation are impressive.

One may ask if it is possible to direct a personality as strong as Harry Lloyd’s. Yes, of course, and it is even him who desired it. The British actor, in his thirties, met Gerald Garutti when this director came to London, in 2011, to direct a script-in-hand staging of Christopher Hampton’s Dangerous Liaisons at the Royal Shakespeare Company for its 50thanniversary.

Lloyd asked Garutti only three months ago to work again together. In Notes From Underground, there is all the power of a condensed alchemy. It is short, thick, heavy, set up in haste and it makes the underground man’s questions more palpable.

Harry Lloyd, and this we learn by reading the programme, is the great-great-son of Charles Dickens. He attended Eton and Oxford before becoming an actor. The literature is his raw material. It constitutes and penetrates him.

He is a very famous actor in the UK, not only theatre-wise but also in movies and television.

He has an astonishing power, soul plasticity, he adapts, goes from a muted secretiveness to vehemence, from softness to aggressiveness. He is used to it, like his character. He is the one holding up Dostoevsky’s burning thinking.

A rare moment, a marvellous piece that shakes, moves, forces admiration. We go down the wooden stairs, wondering if we actually lived this instant. Outside, the city is rumbling.