The complexity of Bluebeard’s Women’s desire at the Paris-Villette Theater

Perrault’s narrative is well known. Its secret hidden behind the door has survived for centuries. But about women torn by their curiosity, we know almost nothing. Lisa Guez stages them and offers a daring show where the talent of the selected actresses is on display.

Valentine (Bellone), Anne (Knosp), Nelly (Latour), Jordane (Soudre) and Valentine (Krasnochok) – five thirty-somethings as different as they are full of lust. They carry their own first name on stage. They all faced a man with a blue beard. Four are already dead. Will the fifth be able to survive the ordeal that awaits her?

Director Lisa Guez chose these five actresses for their differences and their complementarity. Together, they first embarked on an exercise in improvisation. From this collective authorship, the text of the play was born Bluebeard women, to discover at the moment on the stage of the theater of Paris-Villette, porte de Pantin.

In an interview with TV5 Monde, Lisa Guez explains that in this piece she explores the limits of this pattern, which according to her is a breeding ground for control in a relationship: ” I wanted to confront this material with the imagination of five actresses that I knew well. I asked each of them to imagine a woman’s journey from Barbe Bleue, contemporary version, which brings not an experience that could have been their own, but their own energy. I asked them to “fiction” themselves, to start from their imaginary lives to weave “their” wife into Barbe Bleue. That’s why they in the show carry their real first names in life.

Lisa Guez takes on the story The blue beard backwards to give voice to these women through their ghost of victims who have returned to the scene. It’s on the instrumental version of Bonnie and Clyde that they fall before the eyes of the spectator. We know their tragic fate, we now want to know how they lived, under what circumstances they died. Each of them found themselves very confused in the face of the man’s contradictory injunction: I give you and forbid you everything at the same time. The wife then has no choice but to open the closed door with the little key he gave her – and live his freedom until death occurs.

The husband’s dangerous figure is never embodied in this show by an actor. She is always played by one of the actresses. By excluding Bluebeard from the set’s naked decor to focus on his wives, the form becomes bold, a reunion as a self-help group through talk.

The four women, dressed in blue, face the spectators, sitting on a chair. In return, each of them will tell the others how she thought she had met the ideal man, and above all, how the romantic relationship developed into the paroxysm of the forbidden tragedy.

Relive the traumatic scene to better meet your aggressor, a well-known therapeutic principle. Thanks to the participation of all in sorority, each will therefore seek strength to replay the scene of Bluebeard’s return, overcome fear and find another possible end to the hope of escaping death.

Jordane – In front of you, who do you have?

Nelly – Bluebeard

Jordane – Bluebeard, who is it?

Nelly – My husband!

Jordane – Yes, why are you?

Nelly – His wife!

Jordane – Yes, so you’s his?

Nelly – Kone !!!!

Jordane – Yes, but above all you are his equal. Yes his equal. So you look him straight in the eye. You assert yourself. You face it.

Whether they call him Monsieur Bleue, BB or even the hairless viking, does not matter: it’s about finding a way to help the fifth potential victim escape the psychological influence that the man exerts, and therefore female homicide. .

The action takes place in a gray zone, at a time when everything is still possible, because the afterlife, where the four victims are, resonates with the fifth wife’s present. What is gradually built up in the dialogue between the ghosts of the murdered wives is the emergence of the common points that exist between their situations.

From these confrontations of views a song will be born which will accompany the last of the wives towards the path of liberation. No sister Anne, indeed, at the end of this play, to look after the arrival of male saviors – the brothers who ride ” in the powdery sun and the green grass“, as Charles Perrault writes. But the birth of a critical and reactive spirit, based on a kind of unconscious transmission of past tragedies. A beneficial door to a more controlled fate, though also marked by violence.

Charles Perrault’s narrative lends itself to several levels of interpretation. Under the warning against the lack of curiosity – women’s prerogative, an invention of Perraut – actually hides a question mark of desire, “sexual temptations”. Second level of reading highlighted by Bruno Bettheleim in his famous essay on psychoanalysis of adventure and which serves as the starting point for Lisa Guez in the modern version she offers us.

How can the male figure Bluebeard, disturbing and dominant, subconsciously attract women? What makes a woman agree to play “the prey” when she is in a relationship? When does lust, a subtle mixture of terror and pleasure, cross the border into violence?

Lisa Guez clarifies: ” Today, when everything has been disrupted, women are weakened. There is a return to traditionalism and the desire to find unique meanings to follow. This imagination creates a favorable basis for influence, in love, at work, as in all relationships.

In the story of the persons present on the stage, the boundary between executioner and victim is in fact often blurred, desire appears permeated with fear. The director says: These women, I understand them, I know them. They are not fragile, some are powerful; but anyone can at some point fall into this “co-constructed” trap.

From Festival d’Avignon to Center 104, wherever it has been performed, the show has had the success it deserves. He also received the jury award and the high school student award at the eleventh edition of the Impatience Festival in 202.

Good to know : This piece received the jury award and the high school student award at the 11th edition of the Impatience Festival in 2021, dedicated to emerging theater for young audiences. A burning track record.

Bluebeard women a collective writing directed by Lisa Guez, formatted by Valentine Krasnochok at the Paris-Villette Theater until March 30, 22.

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