Les Molière de Vitez
(A cycle of 4 Moliere plays inspired by Antoine Vitez’ 1978 staging)
At the Avignon Festival in 1978, Antoine Vitez directed a group of young actors in four of Moliere’s plays, all with the same scenery. Nearly forty years later, Gwenaël Morin has staged the same four Moliere plays, with his own acting students in Lyon. Using Vitez’ staging as raw material, Morin has moved away from the original template, but has kept Moliere in the center, as an extraordinary “theatre machine”, whose writing is “simple, precise and efficient, and therefore truly great”. He approaches Moliere’s works as a “symbolic public space” more than for anything they could supposedly tell us about today’s world. Morin considers The School for Wives, Tartuffe, Dom Juan and The Misanthrope to be “crisis-plays” in Moliere’s corpus that continue to stir up controversy. The sequence of the four plays are presented in Nanterre in the order in which they were written: this highlights the archetypes – and the similarity – of certain characters and situations. The casting was done randomly, by lot – irrespective of male or female characters, or lead or supporting roles. As a director, Gwenaël Morin centers his work on the actor and doesn’t weigh himself down with scenery or costumes, whether he is directing classics or contemporary authors (like Fassbinder and Peter Handke). The cycle Les Molière de Vitez is not claiming to present a new theory about Tartuffe or The Misanthrope, but to revive these challenging plays, just as they are.