© Grégory Liénard


Tragic practical joke by Eugene Ionesco

Created in May 2005

"I entitled my comedies anti-plays, funny dramas, and my dramas, pseudo-dramas or farcical tragedies because, it seems to me, that the comic is tragic and it is the tragedy of derisory man." Eugene Ionesco

In a "tragi-grotesque" verbal deluge, Ionesco questions fate, vanity and death. Macbett isn’t the reassuring caricature of one of the most famous Shakespeare's plays, but, more a critical operation of the myth. "Macbett" is "Macbeth" hunted by Ionesco. Ambition, hatred, inhumanity are the main engines. The most violent, most deprived of any ethics will inexorably rise to power.

"Between Shakespeare and Jarry, my Macbett is rather close to Ubu the King." Eugene Ionesco

My directing presents several challenges to the actors: how to be in the extremity of feelings by avoiding the pitfall of parody? How to realise show grotesque as well as, the sublime without sliding towards the comical and caricature? How to by-pass the psychological plot and sentimentality without being too distanced from?

My "Macbett" has a manifesto value: seven actors perform about twenty roles of the play. The stage is delimited by an imaginary line where beyond are situated the wings – a place of "stoppage time" – personified by blood red furniture on wheels. "Ivan the Terrible" by Prokofiev musically accompanies Ionesco’s text, alternately murmured, uttered, chopped-up, ill-treated, brutalised sung, denied, shouted out… by the actors.

"It is necessary to play everything, in allegro. No time, ever. Molière or Shakespeare, all goes at full speed. The actor goes fast and the writing always at full speed (…) always chasing time. Because over time, emotion swept up, the psychology." Valera Novarina

Ionesco’s writing is chaotic as well as being perfectly structured which imbricates and disputes all theatrical codes; it is the ideal ground for exploration. It is entertainment for some, but a nightmare for others; from "boulevard" style to tragedy, including fairy tales. His writing is universal and clear-sighted. "Macbett" give us the opportunity to reflect on power mechanics and its perpetual answers.

Jérémie Le Louët