By Jean Lambert-wild, Lorenzo Malaguerra and Marc Goldberg


The creative team behind DOM JUAN OR THE FEAST WITH THE STATUE share diary entries about their new show.


Lino Ventura and Jean Gabin are his role models – ‘old school is classy’, says Steve Tientcheu. He couldn’t become a footballer, he didn’t have the right feet, so he became an actor. And frankly, we think it’s all the better for us. After training as a theatre actor, he is now a rising cinema star who features in many recent French movies. With Dom Juan, Steve returns to his first passion: theatre. To say that he excels as Sganarelle is not surprising, but we won’t say too much either because he is shy. Instead, we’ll simply write that Steve Tientcheu definitely has the class of the illustrious actors that inspired him. 

We first saw him in a documentary about himself, made by Alice Diop while he was training at Cours Simon. We were struck by his dedication to his work, although the film was also about many other things, including the way he was perceived by Cours Simon’s well-brought up teachers and students. His dedication was also visible in our rehearsals. He worked on his diction, trained physically so as to keep up with darting around on stage as Sganarelle for almost two hours every night. He also created a very precise score for his character so that all his actions, emotions and words are concrete. 

Casting Steve Tientcheu was also a way of emphasising how physically different Jean Lambert-wild’s Dom Juan is from him. Their height, weight, skin colour, voice are total opposites. This is one of the things we use for comedy in the show, especially for instance when Sganarelle imposes his physical presence, turning the relationship between master and servant on its head. In rehearsals, we noticed that, in the play,Sganarelle isn’t just a comic counterpart to make Dom Juan look good. We could even say that he is the play’s central character because of the many different situations he goes through. Steve Tientcheu’s Sganarelle is emotionally tossed around, he goes from joy to terror, from anger to naïve innocence, from love to hate. We see how important it is to understand characters through their emotions, history, past, childhood, the house they used to live and many other details that mean their personality can be fully invested. As Steve says: ‘Nowadays, I see more Dom Juans than Sganarelles: on the streets, in high places of the administration, in high places in religious institutions, where they can control quite a lot of people… nowadays, it is them who have the floor, in the media, more or less everywhere… When Molière was writing, Sganarelle was the star, Dom Juan was on his own. Well, they were many Dom Juans but they weren’t showing themselves like they do nowadays. The way Dom Juan thinks is written into the scenes, in the way he speaks. It is incredible that Molière was able to see that.’ Steve Tientcheu’s experience of working in cinema has very probably prepared him for this.  

Off stage, he chats with the Academy students. He gives them advice on how to better their acting, sharing little trade secrets. He never assumes the position of a master. Instead, he’s like a big brother who knows how hard it is to resist as an actor. In his words: ‘You must get a buzz from being on stage, otherwise don’t bother!’, and ‘Theatre is the real deal: it’s dope, it’s a real blast, it’s where you give all you’ve got… There is enormous pressure! Personally, I prefer theatre to cinema, even though cinema is full of stars and glitter, people recognise you on the street! But it’s another kind of work. When you’re on stage, you can’t lie, the audience and their reactions are right in front of you.’



Carnet de bord #3 > Dom Juan ou Le Festin de pierre > Matthias Beaudouin, comédien de la Séquence 9 de L'Académie de l'Union


Having read the plethora of different literary, theatrical and whimsical versions of the myth of Dom Juan, Jean Lambert...