by Jean Racine
Directed by Muriel Mayette-Holtz
2014-02-28 00:00:00 2014-05-31 00:00:00
When Orestes arrives in Epirus to ask Pyrrhus to surrender Andromache’s young son Astyanax, who represents a threat to the Greeks, his request is refused by the king, who wants to please Hector’s widow, whom he is in love with.
But Andromache resists his attentions, remaining true to her husband’s memory. Ignoring Orestes’ ardent declarations, Hermione, the daughter of Helen and Menelas, loves Pyrrhus, to whom she is betrothed. She has come from Sparta to marry him; he disdains her. In struggling to break free of the terrible dilemma in which they find themselves caught, this love-tormented quartet sets in motion the tragedy that will determine their fate. Urged on by Hermione, Orestes causes Pyrrhus’ death on the day of his wedding with Andromache, who had consented to the union to save her son. Doomed to the punishment of the furies, Hermione stabs herself over Pyrrhus’ body. Andromache becomes queen and a widow a second time, while Pylades saves Orestes, who has gone mad, from the vengeance of the people.
Jean Racine, the author
Jean Racine’s Andromache was performed by the Royal Troupe on 17 November 1667 in the queen’s chambers when he was 28 years old. The title role was played by Mlle Du Parc. The performance stirred a great deal of talk about the play and its author, and was appreciated by Their Majesties. Racine, as he neared maturity, had produced a masterpiece. In the following decade, he wrote Britannicus (1669), Bérénice (1671), Bajazet (1672), Iphigénie (1674) and Phèdre (1677). In 1672, he was elected to the French Academy where he moved in circles close to power. In 1689 and 1690, his two biblical tragedies Esther and Athalie were performed in St. Cyr for Louis XIV. He died in 1699 after writing an abridged history of Port Royal (Abrégé de l’histoire de Port-Royal).
Muriel Mayette-Holtz, the director
Since 2006, Muriel Mayette-Holtz has been the general administrator of the Comédie-Française, which she joined as an actress in 1985 after graduating from the Conservatory, becoming its 477th sociétaire in 1988. She has performed many roles at the Comédie-Française, working with various directors, including Antoine Vitez, Claude Régy, Jacques Lassalle, Matthias Langhoff and Alain Françon. Alongside acting, she has pursued a career as a director (Fernand Crommelynk, Thomas Bernhard, Bernard-Marie Koltès, Pierre Corneille, Georges Feydeau, Dario Fo). This season she is directing William Shakespeare with A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Salle Richelieu, and Marguerite Duras with The Malady of Death at the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier. As a companion piece to Andromache, Muriel Mayette also staged Racine’s Bérénice in 2011. In her view, in French drama, the alexandrine meter represents the music of the soul and Andromache is like a song of the dead that exposes beings torn between duty and passion. Deprived of the detachment of reason, the characters of this tragedy push themselves to the point of self-destruction: the alexandrine as a permanent lapsus of conflicting feelings.
2:00 WITHOUT INTERMISSION
Direction****: Muriel Mayette-Holtz
Direction assistant: Josepha Micard
Scenography and lights****: Yves Bernard
Scenography assistant****: Michel Rose
Costumes****: Virginie Merlin
Music****: Arthur Besson
Dramaturgy****: Laurent Muhleisen
Suite au renforcement du plan Vigipirate, toute personne se présentant avec une valise ou un sac (hors sac à main) se verra interdire l'accès à l'enceinte des trois théâtres de la Comédie-Française.
Pour faciliter les contrôles, merci d'arriver au minimum 30 minutes avant le début des représentations.