Echoing Ettore Scola’s film “Dreadful, dirty and wicked”, the Teatro di Napoli troupe offers us a gleaming “Tartuffe” under the expert direction of the director of the TNP in Villeurbanne.
For his first staging of a play by Molière, Jean Bellorini chooses to step aside while climbing The Tartuffe in Italian with the troupe of the Teatro di Napoli-Teatro Nazionale. The creation of The Tartufo was scheduled for Naples in 2021. Delayed for a year due to the pandemic, the show today naturally finds its place in the context of the tributes paid for the 400th anniversary of the author’s birth.
Without going so far as to reproduce the structure of the alexandrines, the translation attributed to the playwright Carlo Repetti agreed with Jean Bellorini’s desire to work on the musicality of a rhyming text. “To get closer to a more natural speech, the actors tried to break the rhyme, says the director. I invited them to take the opposite path so that they take on the poetry of the language, starting from the hypothesis that highlighting the form makes it easier to recognize the content..”
Molière more alive than ever
The action takes place in a vast decrepit kitchen where the patina of the walls and the filthy tiling bear witness to a house that has mourned the splendours of the past. A nod to the cruelty of Italian cinema comedies of the 1970s, Jean Bellorini immerses the group scenes in a tragicomic that he dedicates to the film Awful, dirty and wicked by Etore Scola (1976). On the contrary, he uses the proscenium as a confessional to reserve there with truth and modesty the relevant intimate exchanges.
Molded in black skai leggings and seeming to come out of an after-party, a Christ (Luca Iervolino), perched on his cross, casts a half-amused, half-disgusted look at the intrigues that agitate the house of Orgon before playing the vindicators. A way of affirming the singularity of the characters, Macha Makeïeff’s costumes illustrate a humanity close to the margins in the variegated diversity of a garage sale style that breaks with the codes of good taste.
Betti Pedrazzi is imperial in Madame Pernelle, the matriarch. Embodying a pleasure-loving and good-natured Tartuffe, Federico Vanni reinvents the role as a wily Don Camillo wearing a pleated cassock. The opportunity for him to indulge in a funny pas de deux with Elmire (Teresa Saponangelo) during the famous table scene, while her husband Orgon (Gigio Alberti) is chomping at the bit hidden under the tablecloth. Bathed in songs drawn from the repertoire of Italian variety, The Tartufo assumes its cultural hybridity with majesty to dress Molière in a very lively modernity.
The Tartufo by Molière, translation Carlo Repetti, direction, scenography and lighting Jean Bellorini. In Italian with French surtitles with Federico Vanni, Teresa Saponangelo, Betti Pedrazzi… From 11 to 15 May, Théâtre national Populaire, Villeurbanne. From May 20 to 29, Nanterre-Amandiers-CDN.