Theater. The strange news of the Horla de Maupassant – Sciences et Avenir

“I’ve had a bit of a fever for a few days,” he points out in the first moments of this piece adapted from the story by Guy de Maupassant, the narrator of “Horla”. Where does this evil come from? Man wonders: “It seems that the air, the invisible air is full of unknowable powers, whose mysterious neighborhoods we are subdued (…) How deep is this mystery of the invisible! We cannot fathom it with our miserable senses, with our eyes that do not know how to perceive neither too small, nor too big, nor too close, nor too far, neither the inhabitants of a star, nor the inhabitants of a star. drop of water … “Is this A virus? Impossible not to think about it, in this year 2 of the Covid-19 pandemic. And it is with admirable wisdom that director Frédéric Gray offers viewers of 2021 the opportunity to confront their fear of the invisible with that described by Maupassant in “Le Horla.”

The time of “Horla”, that of medical and scientific disorders

Here is a text whose publication dates from 1886, that is, one year after the first vaccination against rabies of the young Joseph Meister thanks to the work of Louis Pasteur. Time of medical and scientific convulsions of which “La Horla” makes a singular echo: “I’m definitely sick!, Continues the narrator. I was so well last month! I have a fever, an unbearable fever, or rather a fever “. nervousness, which makes my soul as painful as my body! I constantly have this dreadful sensation of a menacing danger, this apprehension of a coming misfortune or a near death, this presentiment that is without a doubt the one attacked by a still unknown disease, that germinates in the blood and in the flesh. “The disease that stalks not only targets the body, we know this very well here too: the mind is affected too, and our anxiety-provoking times strangely resonate with the Maupassant hero’s discomfort.

Above is the trailer for the show.

The narrator is gradually beset by terrifying hallucinations. He becomes obsessed with a mysterious presence, that of an invisible being who “drinks his life.” In this role, Guillaume Blanchard offers a striking composition, which runs through all the nuances of the psychology of this unfortunate character. Worry, fear, elation … Insanity? “This text has the particularity of being the first work of fiction that presents the evolution of a mental disorder through the thinking of those who experience it,” Frédéric Gray comments to Sciences et Avenir. Horla’s hero falls into alienation? This is obviously the classic reading of the Maupassant tale. But the purely supernatural option, even science fiction, is also served by the staging of the play: the invisible man is perhaps the representative of an alien race landed on Earth as a conqueror, worthy of those that Howard Phillips Lovecraft would imagine a few . decades later in his stories.

What virus, or variant, is Horla’s name?

Guillaume Blanchard and Olivier Troyon in Le Horla, after Maupassant. Theater Credit A la folie.

Although invisible, the Horla’s presence required the intervention of a second actor. He is Olivier Troyon, also excellent: his appearances exude anguish and embody the evil that gnaws at the narrator. They are accompanied by lighting effects and the use of sounds that are the latest, but irreplaceable, ingredients of a very beautiful stage success. The piece mounted on “A La Folie Théâtre” deserves a success, as it shows the interpretive richness of Maupassant’s text. We will understand that our favorite can be summed up in one question: what virus, or variant, is called Horla?

“A La Folie Théâtre” (6 rue de la Folie Méricourt, 75011 Paris) from November 11, 2021 to January 30, 2022. Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 6 p.m. and Sundays at 4:30 p.m. A rare bonus on December 31 at 6pm

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