Purple Diary

[March 15 2024]

“Bérénice” by Jean Racine, directed by Romeo Castellucci and starring Isabelle Huppert, is being showcased at the Théatre de la Ville in Paris until March 28th

Castellucci updates the most contemporary of French classical plays with this new production. Isabelle Huppert plays the scorned and repudiated queen, Bérénice, bringing to the role all the verbal and physical radicalism it requires. Bérénice is a tragedy that prefers tears and exile to blood and death conveying a tragic feeling of majestic sadness. It’s primarily the story of a break-up: Titus is the emperor of Rome and Bérénice is the queen of Judea. The law of the Empire prohibits their marriage. Titus and Bérénice, who love each other, part ways. Castellucci focuses on the contradictions of the play to highlight its contemporary relevance: the internal violence expressed in paralysis, the beauty of verses that revolve around unspoken words, the chaos of a love triangle shining with clarity through the brutality of human emotions. The words are overlaid with a system of sound effects and music by Scott Gibbons, doubling and covering the voices to express a reality that transcends the limitations of language.


Text by Ewen Giunta

Photos Courtesy Alex Majoli

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