by Victor Hugo
Directed by Nicolas Lormeau
2014-06-10 00:00:00 2004-07-06 00:00:00
Don Carlos, King of Spain, and Hernani, an outlaw, unexpectedly find themselves at the same time in the room of Doña Sol, whom they are both smitten with.
Their rivalry is pointless, since the girl is promised to her uncle, Don Ruy Gomez. Hernani, determined to abduct Donna Sol, again crosses the path of the king who refuses to fight, and lets him go. On the day of Doña Sol’s wedding, Hernani secretly enters Don Ruy’s castle. Discovered, but invoking the sacred law of hospitality, he conspires with the latter to kill the king, going as far as to offer his own head. Warned of the plot, but now emperor, Don Carlos pardons the two conspirators. On the evening when the Doña Sol is to be wed to Hernani –in reality Don Juan of Aragon– Don Ruy reminds the latter of his promise. The two lovers take their own lives by drinking poison, followed by Don Ruy who stabs himself over their bodies.
Victor Hugo, the author
The son of an ardent Bonapartist, Victor Hugo was already a talented and widely recognised author – even if his work was subject to great controversy – when Hernani was performed for the first time at the Comédie-Française in 1830. The play, full of excess and passion, illustrates the struggle of Romanticism –the “modern beauty of the grotesque”– against the “drabness of classicism.” It escaped the censors and, after a “battle” that has remained in the annals, Hernani went on to become a resounding success. Elected to the Académie Française in 1841, Victor Hugo adopted liberal ideas and entered politics in 1843. An exile under Napoleon III, he returned to Paris in 1870, and embraced the cause of the people. He died on 22 May 1885 in the capital, where a crowd of more than one million people gathered for his state funeral on 1 June.
Nicolas Lormeau, the director
Nicolas Lormeau trained as an actor at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Art and joined the troupe of the Comédie-Française in 1996. Since 1989, his concurrent work as director has covered a repertoire ranging from Victor Hugo to Karin Serres, to Charles Vildrac, Ramuz, Stravinsky and Chekhov. At the Comédie-Française, he has staged Musset’s The Donkey and the Stream and adapted, directed and performed in the same author’s The Confession of a Child of the Century. Nicolas Lormeau is also the inventor and performer of an unconventional visit to the Comédie-Française, And Under the Portrait of Molière... a Plastic Cup. For Hernani –premiered in June 2012 as part of the Printemps des Comédiens festival in Montpellier– he proposes a modern and concise vision of the play, emphasising the quartet of lovers around whom the plot revolves.
Direction and scenography: Nicolas Lormeau
Original soundtrack: Bertrand Maillot
Costumes: Renato Bianchi
Lights: Pierre Peyronnet
Artistic collaboration: Patrick Haggiag
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