Comedian Nadim rehearsals at the Point-Virgule theater on May 29 in Paris. - Aude Lorriaux / 20 Minutes

  • At the Point-Virgule theater in Paris, the humorist Nadim returned to rehearse his sketches. At the Antoine Theater, in Bobino and in almost all the other theaters of the show producer Jean-Marc Dumontet, life has resumed.
  • This is also the case in subsidized theaters, such as at Châtelet in Paris, at the Théâtre de la Ville or even at the Nouveau théâtre de Montreuil.
  • For the moment, the end of the tunnel is still unclear.

"I make pasta, it swells, so I make too much. I can't eat only tomatoes. A tomato is a Babybel of water ”On stage, Nadim chained the lines, a broom in his hand, a computer nearby. This humorist trains at Point-Virgule, in Paris, which welcomes his artists in search of a workplace. The auditorium is gradually being shaped, like many other theaters, where life resumes in various ways, between rehearsals, creations and works, or other initiatives. Until the public can come back.

"Everything had frozen, and there it cracks ... The activity begins to emerge its name everywhere ... We give life," explains Jean-Marc Dumontet, French producer of shows who owns no less than six private theaters. Almost each of these places has found a little activity since the deconfinement, last May 11. Thus at the Antoine Theater, radio host and actor Edouard Baer came back to rehearse his show The rantings of a man suddenly struck by grace , whom he should have played from June. In Bobino, the Coquettes, alias Marie Facundo, Juliette Faucon and Lola Cès, did a first work session, for their new show which was to be performed in July. The Grand Point-Virgule has also hosted some artists and filming for the Paris Première channel. The Free Theater takes advantage of this gray area to get a makeover under construction, while the Sentier des Halles has remained empty, according to Jean-Marc Dumontet.

"Here, it's not the same energy"

Nadim, who was to participate in the Paris Humor Festival on March 24, canceled due to confinement, took advantage of this reclusive time at home to write. He is not unhappy to find the boards, even without an audience. “Here I see how I send energy, I test new things, I watch how to send words, what intonations to take. In my house there is a fridge, a television, my daughter who does not go to school ... Here, it is not the same energy. It is a place where you feel that you are going to work, ”he explains, between two replicas of his show (which will be played from September 18) launched in different tones with flights of arms.

Other artists have reinvested in theaters, almost everywhere in Ile de France. This is the case at the Nouveau Théâtre de Montreuil and at the Ménagerie de Verre in Paris, where actors are preparing the Les Inaccoutumes festival. The cast of actors from the Théâtre de la Ville rehearsals at Espace Cardin, in the 8th arrondissement of the capital. Outdoor artistic proposals are to take place this June, in association with doctors from the Salpêtrière Hospital. Its neighbor Châtelet will be transformed into a film set by France Télévisions, to record shows which should have been on tour this summer.

On stage, an accordionist changes color

MC 93, in Bobigny, also helps artists, in its own way, by hosting shows that should have been created during confinement. “Some shows have been canceled. Others will be postponed. Most become nothing. I favored those who had not had a life. It is an absolute disaster, ”laments its director, Hortense Archambault.

On this day, Joris Lacoste is in the great hall of the Maison de la Culture in Seine-Saint-Denis, to prepare Suite n ° 4 , a show by the Encyclopedia of speech and ensemble of contemporary Brussels music Ictus. Dark room, silence, red and blue lights, the playwright makes some adjustments with the light creator. On stage, an accordionist, or rather her understudy, changes color. Another lining holds a false double bass, because the musicians of Ictus are still blocked at the border by the coronavirus. Words collected by The Encyclopedia of Speech appear in transparency, floating in the air above the boards: "Thank you / I take the ball / We good for now / I am a little stuck / Can I take it?" Voices also resound. A recorded “Thank you” precedes a very real instruction from Joris Lacoste: “Can you remove the desk in the center? »Someone blows his nose ...

MC 93. - Sergio Grazia

Blur on reopening

Joris Lacoste has been there for the first week of deconfinement. He is at the end of the creation of his show, returned to the scene with other artists, such as the director Didier Ruiz, technicians and part of the team of MC 93 who was hitherto on partial unemployment . The other half is still teleworking. "Every day we earn a little more," sums up Hortense Archambault, happy to also welcome as liners young people from the department who are preparing the national conservatory and former high school students still tied to the Maison de la Culture. “It is a very open theater. Children often come to revise. The hall is normally full of people, ”says the director, who is impatient to be able to reopen.

For the moment, the end of the tunnel is still shrouded in blur. And Edouard Philippe's announcements on the reopening of theaters for June 22 in the orange zone will not change anything. Because the shows scheduled for the end of the month could not be repeated. And some artists are very far away and cannot return to Europe, underlines Hortense Archambault. The theater will probably not reopen its doors with shows welcoming the public before September.

"With one seat in four, it's impossible"

Until then, the MC 93 will do something other than shows: maintenance, activities in small groups with children and young people, a radio project, perhaps ... "Between nothing and the resumption of a normal theater there is a need to do things. To find yourself. The epidemic has produced a lot of things on the body and I feel the need to share what we have lived with the gestures of artists ”, adds the director, who is not too worried about having rooms halfway or a third full.

This is not the case for Point-Virgule, which lives without subsidies, needs three months of marketing before any show and does not envisage reopening at less than 50% infill. “Today if I have to play with one seat out of four it is impossible. And neither artistically: the moments of extreme intensity, you do not experience them in a scattered room, if you are worried and if you are constantly watching your neighbor… ”, says Jean-Marc Dumontet. But the producer wants to be serene, and above all not vengeful: “What we are offered is not satisfactory, but there is no culprit. We are living in a totally new moment in the history of humanity. "


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