Richard III – Loyaulté me lie # 20

Repetition and variation (2/3)


Of all the tentacles that make up our Richard III, it is the text, newly translated by Gerald Garutti, that the actors Elodie Bordas and Jean Lambert-wild must turn into a skeleton that supports each one of their movements: a movement of intimacy, secrets, of what is forgotten, what we have in common, yours, theirs, ours, movement of the feet, the hands, the lips, the eyes, everything, nothing, movement of a doubt that takes everything at heart. A restless light in search of that, which in the turmoil of shadows, will give meaning to its presence.


Learning this masterpiece is not an insignificant part of the process. It is not just a tedious remembering exercise that consists of putting words in order so they are heard and understood. What the actors have to do is literally enter a process of construction. They must accept to be impregnated with words, agree to see inside themselves bubbles of mystery and facts that, like foetuses in formation, will constantly be evolving until they form an envelope enshrouding the body of the actor, itself the heir of a few ancestors’ uncertain joys.

But this is not all: the actors must also play opposite one another, find each other and unite in this fury of words, so that a second sheath replaces the first one that was built in a gaseous babble. This second envelope is created by the collision of the enraged particles of an assumed double disappearance, which happens in favour of a union where one and the other become the shared identity of one and the other.

This is what we must repeat, and repeat again. And say it again and again, without fear of revealing oneself, because each scene, each word, each syllable, each letter must be said. To speak, repeating an utterance that only fixates itself to the silent waves of the emotions we keep silent. To speak and speak again, masticating, ruminating, speak again and again and again, speak until the whole body gives up and becomes a pasture, a forest, a stream, the valley of Shakespeare’s language.


Actors! Eat some words! Be the cannibals of their sounds, their meaning! Digest them! Let your flesh disappear in the flesh of words, which we can finally see!

In this cannibalistic learning process, actors also feed on the characters. But as they move closer to them, the characters start to invest the actors’ bodies. Palpating their skeleton, they test its resistance, day after day: sailing through every vein, making every muscle in the body vibrate, the skin stand on ends, from the top of the head to the tip of their feet.


As they work and rehearse, actors are sometimes surprised by the potency of their characters and they struggle to control them. Seeing the complicity that emerges between the actors and a text’s imaginary figures, we start to ask ourselves if it is the actors taking possession of the text, or the text taking possession of the actors!

To witness this process, day after day, is a formidable adventure.

Of course, the result is not instantly visible, of its own accord, within the snap of a finger. Sometimes, long rehearsal days end, and what was achieved remains latent and wholly invisible on a day-to-day basis.

But the following day, and the day after, and after, and after, we find ourselves keeping on trying again, saying again in a thousand different ways, what must be said and done in one sole action.


This long period during which we blindly keep looking back on the text, where, like crazed birds, we ceaselessly repeat Richard’s complaint, is essential. It is on this condition, and this condition only that, little by little, we become transparent and can show a glimpse of this Other, who, hidden in our innards, henceforth lives inside of us.



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