Richard III – Loyaulté me lie # 22


Richard’s carousel (1/3)

There is a third character which we haven’t talked about much until now. It is however a character that is very tangible and always present: the set. The set we have imagined for this show is conceived like a real play machine: it allows various possible ways of performing, of being on stage, of amusing and surprising each other.



The set of Richard III – Loyaulté me lie draws inspiration from Jean Lambert-wild’s clown. It is hard to picture the clown in a classical set, a castle or a totally realistic design. Even in his most tragic plays, Shakespeare really resists seriousness. There is always a formidably funny scene that comes after or before the vilest murder. To us, it seemed absolutely essential that the set design should match both the clown and what the play was saying.



This is why we have put the clown at the centre of the carousel’s façade – like in ghost rides or fun houses – the same type we still find nowadays in itinerant funfairs. The set is also greatly inspired by Elizabethan theatre: it allows the actors to include the audience in the situations they are playing. In that theatre, there is no fourth wall and it is absolutely fundamental that the set design “push” the actors towards the audience rather than take them further away from them.



Designed by Stéphane Blanquet, this infernal carousel is a real performance partner for the actors. It is simultaneously acted upon and endured by them. We won’t reveal the many effects and machineries we have planned for the show, but it is clear that this constant back-and-forth offers very diverse situations as well as many surprises for the actors and for the audience.



Another characteristic of the set is that it uses both very classical techniques (curtains, mechanical transformations, quick changes) and very contemporary ones (projections, sophisticated sound design, special effects). This encounter between classical and contemporary techniques generates a strange shock that gives humanity to digital effects and alters the theatrical effects that we know. This is undoubtedly every set design’s challenge : how can we connect the past in which the play was written with the present of the performance? The answer to this question goes beyond the problem of transposition, which is always reductive and often a bit unconvincing. We want to offer an imaginative answer to that, an answer linked to play and that is amusing, pragmatic and beautiful. At least, that’s what we hope!




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