L'Heureux Stratagème

The Successful Stratagem
by Marivaux
Directed by Emmanuel Daumas


19 September 4 November 2018


L'Heureux Stratagème

2018-09-19 20:30:00 2018-11-04 15:00:00

“Although infidelity is a crime, I am of the opinion that one should not hesitate to commit it, when tempted, unless one wishes to deceive people, which one should avoid at all cost.”

The speaker of these words is the Countess, a female character of remarkable freedom and far from a simple coquette in Emmanuel Daumas’ view. The play, which he describes as “ageless”, was written in 1733 for the Comédiens-Italiens, at the same time as Le Petit-Maître Corrigé [The Fop Reformed]. Its plot focuses on the workings of passion, which Marivaux exposes without overlooking their contradictions: the Marquise is abandoned by her lover the Chevalier who has fallen in love with the Countess; the latter, returns the Chevalier’s love and now rejects the advances of Dorante. The spurned Marquise and Dorante then devise a stratagem: they will pretend to be in love, and even announce they wish to get married, in order to arouse the jealousy of the objects of their affections. The marriage of the servants Lisette and Harlequin is interwoven with the main plot, producing a masterful symmetry.
“The Marivaudian test is never a one-way street: there is not one character who tests and another who is tested.” In keeping with this analysis by Bernard Dort, Emmanuel Daumas –who has already directed Marguerite Duras’s La Pluie d’été and Voltaire’s Candide at the Comédie-Française– sets out to examine the authenticity of these characters who are less caricatured than they seem. Far from the clichés associated with a farce about inconstancy, the rivalry between the Marquise, the woman of experience, and the young Countess resembles an initiatory journey going from deeply felt emotions expressed in the heat of the moment to the experience of bitterness. Attentive to the cruel barbs that punctuate the playfulness of this comedy, the director has opted for a traverse stage to bring us as close as possible to the characters’ emotions, body language and gazes.

Staged in a bifrontal device




Creative team

Directed by: Emmanuel Daumas
Scenography and costumes: Katrijn Baeten and Saskia Louwaard
Light: Bruno Marsol
Sound: Gérald Kurdian
Make-up and hairstyling: Catherine Bloquère
Artistic Collaboration: Vincent Deslandres


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