André Engel stages Shakespeare's tragedy
Under the direction of André Engle, Michel Piccoli doesn’t play King Lear: he is King Lear. A powerful dramatic moment.
Who as an actor hasn’t dreamt of playing King Lear, Shakespeare’s awesome and pathetic hero? Michel Piccoli and this dream became a reality in 2007. When the play was directed by André Engle at the Ateliers Berthier, Piccoli was eighty, exactly the age of King Lear. But he didn’t give the impression that he was playing a part: of King Lear, he has the breathlessness, the spontaneous aura and the impressive silhouette. He is Lear. But a natural, realistic Lear. The madness of the character, which seems "effaced", becomes larger than life.
André Engel has transposed the story to the period between the two wars. King Lear becomes Citizen Lear and his kingdom Lear Entreprises. In this world of business where only money counts, the men wear suits, the women wear dresses from the thirties and people talk on the phone. Resembling warehouses the Ateliers Berthier, where the play was produced while the Odeon Theatre was being renovated, provide the perfect setting for this transposition.
Although this choice may surprise some – but how to take a new approach to a play so often performed? – André Engel’s staging is highly ingenious and packed with effects that work. Above all it has to its credit the fact of being served by a truly great actor, Michel Piccoli. By his side, Jean-Paul Farré and Jean-Claude Jay are also excellent.
André Engel stage director
Michel Piccoli actor
Movie director : Don Kent
Duration : 02 h 41 min
Location : Ateliers Berthier (Paris, France)
Recording date : 2006
Production date : 2007
Production : © Idéale Audience / Arte France / TV5 / CNDP / YLE Teema
Available version(s) : FR