At the Théâtre du Rond-Point, in Paris, a toxic love disintegrates before our eyes

Stéphanie Aflalo and Gaël Sall in “Ahouvi”, by Yuval Rozman, February 27, 2023, at the Phénix national scene Valenciennes (North).

At first glance, the story told by author and director Yuval Rozman at the Théâtre du Rond-Point in Paris is that of a toxic love that degenerates before the eyes of the public. Tamar, who left her hometown of Jerusalem for France, meets Virgil, originally from Marseille. She is an actress, he is a photographer. They fall in love. Live together. Adopt a dog (which more or less becomes the child they won’t have). They flow into everyday life, iduously frequenting Roxanne, an ex-girlfriend of Virgil. They are young, they are beautiful. But nothing is going well.

Read the review (in 2021): Article reserved for our subscribers “The Jewish Hour,” Yuval Rozman’s caustic look at Israel

In the theater, intimacy is an illusion. The space, a white dance floor designed in quadrifrontal, offers the actors no fallback solution. The couple – he (Gaël Sall), athletic body, bare feet and loose pants, she (Stéphanie Aflalo), slim figure in spring outfit – find themselves at the center of gazes and a growing unease. The text by Yuval Rozman, an Israeli artist living in France for nine years (he deserted compulsory military service in his country), is the third part of what he calls “Quadrilogy of [s]down “. The first approached the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a political angle, the second from the angle of religion, the fourth (and last) will deal with its economic aspects. The one presented at the Rond-Point is dedicated to love. Ahouvi, in Hebrew, means ” My love “.

Interesting translation which, emphasizing the possessive, invokes the perversity of relations of domination. It is this drift that the public witnesses, witness and voyeur of the deterioration of a bond corrupted by the secret violence of the man and the unbearable (incomprehensible) submission of the woman. The die is cast straight away: “Am I living with a psychopath? », asks the heroine. Before revisiting the drama from the beginning: the meeting, the pion, the life together, the dog, everyday life, the friend Roxanne (Roxanne Roux), Virgil’s impatience, his words which hurt and make him feel guilty, his fist which is raised , his excuses. Then, again, the same mechanism: he attacks her, she takes it. And so on, until finally she leaves for good, after he tells her he loves the dog like he never loved her (or anyone).

Infernal spiral

At first glance, Ahouvi is a couple story like there are too many. It is knitted with heavy steps over the course of a piece which does not theorize, but aggregates micro-events. Forgotten water bottles, surtitles poorly placed on the television screen, shoes that stink in the Twingo: tragedy with a capital T is made with anecdote and cliché, which is what this fiction is. exact relay. The actors, on the edge of a non-act, not always convincing, surf on the tremors of the silences which weaken their words. They never utter confident sentences in a straight line. They are muttering or eruptive. A bias that wants to sharpen the minutes of a representation boomeranged back towards the spectator.

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