Discover the hallucinating true story that inspired Un Triomphe, the comedy carried by Kad Merad and signed Emmanuel Courcol.
In Un Triomphe, in theaters since September 1, Kad Merad plays Etienne, an actor in trouble. To make ends meet, he accepts to lead a theater workshop in prison. Surprised by the inmates’ talents as an actor, Etienne decides to put on a play with them on the stage of a real theater. Then begins a formidable human adventure.
A TRUE STORY … SWEDISH
This feel good comedy is inspired by an incredible true story set in 1985 in Sweden. Actor and director Jan Jönson climbs with inmates of Kumla high security prison Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett. On the day of the public premiere in Gothenburg, five of the six actors escape. Thirty-five years later, Jan Jönson looks back on this unusual and comical theatrical experience.
At the time, Jönson was an actor at the Swedish National Theater. For several months he had been playing a monologue, The Man himself, written by Alan Drury. It was the confession of a young man in search of identity. After the last one in Stockholm, a spectator came to see the actor after the curtain was lowered. “Don’t stop this show, it’s a very important play. You have to play it in all theaters, but also in universities, everywhere!”
FROM THE THEATER IN PRISON
He was the director of Kumla prison. The latter asks Jan Jönson to come and play it in his prison, for his inmates. The actor accepts and finds himself doing his performance in front of 75 prisoners, “looking at me in about thirty different ways, sizing me up”, remembers the actor.
From the first line, “My name is Michael”, one of the detainees insults Jönson, telling him to go fuck himself, explicit gesture in support. “I was a little scared so I went on,“ My name is Michael. ”Looking at him out of the corner of my eye, I saw that he was starting to listen. At the end of the show, zero applause , total silence. I left the scene, the guards asked me to go back to talk to the inmates. And the guy who had insulted me got up and said, “Come back and learn. us to do theater “. And he handed me a red rose, I never knew where he found it”, confides the artist.
During the performance, Jönson had seen all these faces, these strange spectators sitting in front of him. In the middle of the monologue, he began to think of Waiting for Godot. “I thought to myself, they are the characters in Beckett’s play. So, I said: – I don’t know if I can teach you to play but I can already come back and read a play. – Which one? – While waiting for Godot. Then another man got up, and he said to me in a loud voice: “Beckett is my hero.” I told them about my life, why I was an actor, how I was. had discovered Beckett, at 14 or 15, playing the child in Godot. The director agreed: “Come to my prison, spend as long as it takes, even a year, and set up the play.” “
Jan Jönson returned to the prison regularly for a year, the time of a long period of friendship with these inmates. The readings began with about twenty prisoners. At one point, the director had to choose five. “I was afraid to tell either one I didn’t need them, I was delaying this moment. They all fascinated me. I listened to their voices, I observed their body language. day themselves said to me: “it is time to choose.” Adding that those who would not be on stage could still work on the technique, behind the scenes. I took the two inmates who had called me on the evening of the monologue, the first to play Vladimir, the second Pozzo “, explains Swedish.
The artist rehearsed the first act of the play with the prisoners for a very long time (he only had the rights for the first act). After a year, they found the right rhythm and the right silences. “We played in the prison and were told it would be good to show our work in a real theater. So these inmates, some of whom had not been released for almost ten years, were allowed to go. playing in Gothenburg. For the first time in their life, they met people who listened to them “, Jönson recalls.
The latter then receives a letter from Samuel Beckett in person! He had heard about their work and wanted to meet this famous Jan Jônson. “He made an appointment for me in a cafe in Paris, near the Pantheon ….