Jean-Paul Rouve celebrates the lyricists of French song on the stage of the Antoine theater

The actor of Tuche, who had not set foot on stage for 10 years, chose to honor the poetry of popular tunes in I don't look.

Entering one morning through the artists' entrance to the Antoine theater, getting lost behind the scenes that don't seem to have changed since the 1950s, sitting at the back of the orchestra and listening. In the preamble, Gainsbourg and Aznavour explain their writing process, the quintessence of their text. “French songs tell stories. A song is a drama in three minutes that we receive...» From Barbara to Joe Dassin, passing by France Gall, the names are displayed on the wire curtain, under which sneaks a Jack Russell. It's Gtro, Jean-Paul Rouve's dog who appears in jeans, Converse and a hooded sweater on the front of the stage. “Let me introduce myself, my name is Henri. I would like to succeed in my life, to be loved. In songs, but without singing, he declares, tells, plays, inhabits Daniel Balavoine's text. This is I don't seem an original and intimate show.

Just after the filming, the actor and director recounts the genesis of the project, seated at the café next to the theatre. “Today, poetry is unfortunately no longer a major art, regret Rouve. Songwriters are today's poets. Souchon and Renaud are poets. The text is fundamental. As I am passionate about song lyrics, I wanted to make a show out of it. And tell a story with texts that spoke to me.” Seventeen titles are linked for 1h20 of show. From adolescence, with The singer by Daniel Balavoine, to when i was a singer by Michel Delpech, whose hero is 73 years old. All the themes of life follow one another: love, children, divorce. For moments of wandering, he summons Eddy Mitchell and He's not coming home tonight. “We could have stuck to the Panthéon de la chanson française with Brel, Brassens, Barbara, easily held a two-hour show, he says. But what interested me was to show that there are high quality texts in popular song, in variety”.

“We set out to trace the life of a man through French song”

Jérémie Lippmann, director

On the piano, his friend Alain Lanty accompanies him. The “French song jukebox” accompanied Marc Lavoine, Florent Pagny, Renaud and Johnny Hallyday on stage. “I remember everything I played, he testifies at the time of this new challenge. VSt is a challenge for me to be on the stage of a theater and not a concert hall. I am very happy. Happy that the planets have aligned to succeed in setting up this project”, explains the musician who is going on tour again with Marc Lavoine, the day after the last of I don't look.

For posterity

The third musketeer is the eclectic director Jérémie Lippmann. This kind of "hybrid" project does not put him off, quite the contrary. Jean-Paul Rouve proposed the idea to him when he regularly met him on his bike in their district of 18e borough. The young quadra likes to break the codes, "to make people happy" by unearthing nuggets to make them discover to the new generation, "for posterity". “To put the words in scene, I love that. It is for the collective memory. If the youth can say wow, Brel, that's coolI'll be glad I did," enthuses Lippmann. It was already his will with JoeyStarr when he rode Elocution at the Assembly with texts by Victor Hugo, Robespierre, Olympe de Gouges and then Sharing a dreamassociating the piano of Sofiane Pamart and the poems of Pouchkine, Césaire or Artaud, always with the rapper of NTM.

“We started in December, remembers Jean-Paul Rouve. For ten days, we worked on the base, the choice of texts. Then I went to shoot polar park, a series by Gérald Hustache-Mathieu for Arte; then I had the shooting of the Consent, the film adaptation of Vanessa Springora's bestseller, where I play Gabriel Matzneff. In June, I was tired. But Jérémie had made progress on his side on the texts, the staging, the dressing. We played our first tests to friends who appreciated and rediscovered the meaning of these songs. So it was gone!“A new adventure for Jean-Paul Rouve who had sworn never to do a single stage. And will he find his role of Jeff Tuche? “The urge is still there. We have ideas, we have to write and it's not because we write that we're going to do the 5e shutter. You have to be demanding.”

» I don't seem from September 22 to October 26, Wednesday to Saturday at 7 p.m., at the Antoine theater, 14, boulevard de Strasbourg, 75010 Paris. Book with the Figaro ticket office.

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