Bernard-Marie Koltès was born in Strasbourg on January 12, 1968, at the age of twenty. It was during a performance, Medea , starring María Casares and directed by Jorge Lavelli. At the end of the first act, the then journalism student needs to go outside. He can't breathe Nor does he feel the cold of the night. The vision of the body of the actress, one of the many exiled Republican Spaniards, causes the revelation. Before entering the theater again, he whispers "I am going to write," and thus names his meaning on earth. To his fulfillment he dedicated the other twenty years that he still had life.
His first birth was a Friday in April 1948, when Germaine Koltès gives birth to his third son, male like the previous ones. The birth is in Metz, a city so northeast of France that at least three times, by force of arms, it becomes German. War is a ghost always sitting at the family table. Commander Édouard Koltès, the father, tries not to become a stranger dressed in uniform. It is Germaine who raises children. She is the only one of her brothers who has not promised the vows. As an exercise of atonement or asceticism, who knows, forces their children to exhausting days of mountaineering. Little Bernard always looks for some pretext to be as he liked best: alone. In those childhood years he will realize in the penultimate of his works Return to the desert .
Koltès attends the classes of organist Louis Thiry. There he feels for the first time that the inexpressible exists, in fact, it manifests itself in the hands of that blind man who plays Bach. It was the first cramp in the center of all things.
It had to be Maria Casares , on that January night, some years later, who would show her the precise coordinates of her vocation. He decides to abandon his journalism studies and serve the theater : "I risk my life, my soul, my future for him, because my victory is in that risk," he tells his mother. He tried unsuccessfully to enter the theater through the door of the interpretation, after the stage direction. Do not give up. He founded his own company and wrote his first pieces. He wants to fulfill his destiny. "All I want is to be able to count well, one day, with the simplest words, the most important thing I know and that can be told: a desire, an emotion, a place, some light and noise, whatever be a fragment of our world and that it belongs to us all ".
Send the manuscripts of his works to as many theaters as he can, until the decisive encounter with Patrice Chéreau takes place. The director decides to mount as much as that persevering young man writes. Years later he confessed that what he fell in love with Koltès was the shared belief that doing theater was a mission of madmen or saints.
Keep writing and traveling, two similar ways to stay alive. The titles of his pieces have enigma carats: The night just before the woods, In the solitude of the cotton fields, Combat of black and dogs , etc.
Already sick with AIDS, he writes a work inspired by the Venetian criminal Roberto Succo because "the only moral we have left is that of beauty, beauty in itself. Without beauty it would not be worth living." Turn the life of the criminal into a mystical journey, a passion without fiercely contemporary resurrection, with the name of Roberto Zucco. From the real murderer he borrows these definitive lines: "Sooner or later, we all have to die, everyone. And that makes the birds sing, the birds laugh." Koltès dies shortly after.
Chéreau said his life was "a meteorite that crossed our sky in solitude." Like Marlowe, Kleist or Lorca, his work has been suspended for a premature eternity. The last words he wrote, addressed to his brother François , were these: " In God we trust, do we? ".
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