In 2006, Michel Piccoli interpreted the king Lear of Shakespeare, the role that crown the career of any actor, in this strange room and wandering where the sovereign is nothing more than a beggar, chased by her daughters fighting over his legacy. Piccoli, in the old industrial of the 1930's in the staged by André Engel at the théâtre de l'odéon, was surprising ; angry man, man in rage.
Three years later, he was Lear, this time in the role of an actor who has devoted his life to Shakespeare, and who believes that they have an appointment with a director to talk about the role. But the poor man, in this room signed by playwright austrian Thomas Bernhard, wanders. It is even more misplaced than Lear on his heath. Here, too, Piccoli was remarkable. Because he was a very great actor and that this mise en abyme allowing him or her to examine, through the role of Lear, what it is to be a great actor.
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The roles to the extreme, Piccoli enjoyed rub, engage in "returning to the theatre" as one returns to the source. For the past few years, the insurance would not let it happen in the theatre. The memory of him on stage – his voice a little deaf, his big body towering – permeates the history of the French theatre. Piccoli, against his will, was a legend, a sacred monster. He did not like to speak of him, but agreed to the interviews for fear of being presumptuous.
"The first shock was theatrical"
His first time, in 1945, at age 20, will be The last Judgment, under the direction of Georges Douking at the théâtre Pigalle : he played the role of both an old man and a young unemployed person. The Dullin, Jouvet, Pitoëff had shown her the royal way, but this way, we could say, is built on chance encounters. Piccoli sought nothing but "fell" all along " on the ones that mattered ". In 1969, when he worked with director Marcel Bluwal with the Misanthrope of Molière's (in suit and Mao), he has already played more than fifty parts in ten-eight years old and said to our sister Danièle Heymann, of The Express, in a long interview : "If it had not been for the Misanthrope, I would have stopped the film. If I thought to change profession ? I am discreet, meticulous. I wax very well shoes. I would have become footman. "
Ever the actor had left the actor. "I do not want people to forget that I am a man of the theatre ; let's say that I play here to refresh me. Between theatre and cinema, the true satisfaction will always be the theatre ; it is more responsible, physically and morally ; in the cinema, on television, we must bow in front of a machinery. "And again :" I can't go years without going on stage. The theatre, it is my first job. "
Face to Face with himself
Thus, from its success in cinema, over the years, he goes back on stage, never afraid to risk his name on parts unknown. But no boulevard "too easy" ! Get out of the facility, meet the visions of Peter Brook, Chéreau, Bondy, Engel... In The cherry Orchard by Chekhov, directed by Brook in 1981, he played Leonid, the master of the cherry Orchard, symbol of their society dies. Piccoli is revealed upset and upsetting. This brother a little nervous, and well aware of his weakness and that excuse with his jokes, he was carried to a level of excitement as the room shuddered. "An eternal child, and an old boy," he said to Leonid. Still a man cornered to himself, as he has interpreted often in film and on stage.
Bondy will provide him with a foreign Land of Schnitzler, a shock in the world of theatre. The previous year, he had played Koltès in Battle of black and dogs, under the direction of Chéreau. These 1980s bring luck to the theatre. Each piece revealed a different it, giving the impression that his talent was a diamond with facets multiplied. At the end of the 1990s, Bob Wilson ruled in The Disease of the death of Marguerite Duras, the sides of the hieratic choreographer Lucinda Childs. Wilson clothed in black like a man of the Church, his hands and face stand out, splashed with light, as in a dream. Something sepulchral, sacred stood out to Michel Piccoli, actor to ever lecture.