A star of the French theatre, Denis Podalydès
’ name is mainly associated with the classical repertoire, and as a member of the Comédie Française
his mettle has been put to the test many times in leading roles. However, Le cas Jekyll
, the dramatic monologue he performed early in 2010 at the Théâtre de Chaillot, proved a resounding triumph with audiences and critics alike, for here the process of disguise was exposed in all its transparency. On stage, we observe Dr Jekyll making his death-bed confession—a scene described in the last chapter of Robert Louis Stevenson
’s famous novel and adapted especially for the celebrated actor by Christine Montalbetti
—and relating the stages in the creative mania that led him to invent a drug designed to neutralize his “bad” self. In reality, of course, the opposite happened and the monstrous creation devours its creator.
The production, with its sets by Eric Ruf conjuring up the smog-filled streets of Victorian London and the costumes of the upstanding Dr Jekyll sewn by Christian Lacroix, conveys the dark and rarefied atmosphere of the body of 19th-century fantastic fiction that set out to explore hidden aspects of the human soul. From a psychoanalytical perspective, Hyde has been labelled the incarnation of the unconscious, but there can be no doubt that the story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde belongs at the heart of the theatre, too, as a field for exploring the contradictions of human existence. From antiquity through to Shakespeare and Moliere and thence the modern theatre, the actors’ role has been an ethical one, precisely because they hold our forbidden side up for public display and reveal the hypocrisy of the “supremacy of the good”. The need for theatre as art stems from this unique ability, and Denis Podalydès returns us to a theatre of necessity.
23 - 25 May 2011
Free admission on May 23
After the performance on May 25
Meet Denis Podalydès
24 - 26 Feb 2011
Concs 10 - 15 €
Under the Volcano