Richard III – Loyaulté me lie # 13

Richard’s melancholy (2/2)

A rose thorn is pricking Richard’s heart, and it makes him mad with anger. Where does this thorn come from? Is it caused by anything, or is it without an object? Is it born from Richard’s deformity? From his sadness, him who is
“rudely stamped
and want(s) love’s majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph”?
Does it come from the knowledge that time inexorably flies, him who relentlessly asks what time it is?

Could we concede that if his speeches are so powerfully manipulative, it might be because they are made of what he confesses?
Are his concern and anxiety over the situation of the crown of England what feed his melancholy?

“The King is sickly, weak and melancholy,

And his physicians fear him mightily.

O, he hath kept an evil diet long,

And overmuch consumed his royal person.”

Is it the legacy of an odious genealogy?

“Nay, for a need, thus far come near my person:

Tell them, when that my mother went with child

Of that unsatiate Edward, noble York

My princely father then had wars in France

And, by just computation of the time,

Found that the issue was not his begot;”

Does it come from his continual instability, from the amused contempt he has for himself?

“I'll be at charges for a looking-glass,

And entertain some score or two of tailors,

To study fashions to adorn my body:

Since I am crept in favour with myself,

I will maintain it with some little cost.”

From his certainty that he is cursed?

“Then be your eyes the witness of this ill:

See how I am bewitch'd; behold mine arm

Is, like a blasted sapling, wither'd up:

And this is Edward's wife, that monstrous witch,

That by her witchcraft thus have marked me.”

From his feeling that everything is in decline?

“I cannot tell: the world is grown so bad,

That wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch:

Since every Jack became a gentleman

There's many a gentle person made a Jack.”

From his inability to change the course of destiny, he who feels utterly alone, deserted and without allies?

“Having God, her conscience, and these bars against me,

And I no friends to back my suit withal,

But the plain devil and dissembling looks”

It is undoubtedly caused by all of the above and probably more. It all adds up in Richard’s words and body, replacing a dumbstruck melancholy with a furious one.  

Richard’s melancholy isn’t a depressive state. On the contrary, it is a scuffle that mocks the world’s moral; that, through bloody deeds, presents his sadness in reverse angle. This melancholy’s ideal is to play all of one’s life on a throw of the dice. It makes Richard’s speeches clear-sighted, lucid, cruel in their truthfulness. In the play, distinguishing between the moments when Richard is lying and when he is telling the truth is paradoxical and ambiguous. Perhaps, and that wouldn’t be a small paradox, he lies to himself but tells the truth to others: “seem a saint, when most I play the devil”?

He hallucinates, aspires to a destiny bigger than him, indulges in his own and others’ pain, faces the forces of darkness with bravado; his life revolves around revenge, seeking deliverance through the perpetual swaying of death. All these things transform him. Scene after scene, he becomes a wild beast fighting another one, dark and invisible. Very quickly, it is clear that he will be crushed in the final assault of this indomitable melancholy.

To play Richard III, Jean Lambert-wild pins to the walls of his dressing room copies of paintings by Friederich, Chassériau, Fuseli, Turner. He hammers them with his feet, stretches his wrists, grumbling and laughing all at once. He interprets these paintings through a dance, like a damned soul, dreaming that he isn’t moving a single muscle. This because Richard’s melancholy, what Hippocratus called a trouble of the humours, will require a performance where his ability to channel a sense of rupture will be pushed to its limits. A performance where, sometimes, only a breathless word can answer the surge of a sentence. Where lips should laugh and eyes cave in.

Lambert-wild will have to physically translate that restless trouble that the dark bile dresses as criminal temperament. He will give life to Richard, the lame evil who dismantles his soul like a lighting-twisted spear.

Finally, we will explore how this melancholy awakes others: Lady Anne’s, Queen Elizabeth’s, or one of the murderers’, who once his bloody deed accomplished confesses:

“How fain, like Pilate, would I wash my hands
Of this most grievous guilty murder done!”

The power of the performance between Élodie Bordas and Jean Lambert-wild will depend on the quality of this dialogue.

Carnet de bord vidéo - 6

François Royet


Un clown, alité, face à son propre reflet, face à un double féminin qui se métamorphose, lui renvoyant l’image de...