Can we laugh at everything with Molière? Until recently, the question would have seemed pointless. Wasn’t Jean-Baptiste Poquelin the champion of scriptwriting, of linguistic parody? If, except that times have changed, that it is not certain that all Turkish nationals savor the Turkish delights of Bourgeois gentleman and that a certain contemporary audience laughed out loud at the gallantry of the Forced marriage. Decorum imposed its rules in the 17th century, it prints others in the 21st century, #MeToo went through there. Nothing says either that certain projections which amused the public of the hall of the Palais-Royal are comprehensible today.
In short, laugh with the author of Scapin’s trickery does not really go without saying. On the occasion of this 400th anniversary, professors Lise Michel, Marc Escola, Danielle Chaperon from the University of Lausanne, their colleagues from Friborg Claude Bourqui and Geneva from Eric Eigenmann have devised a series of explosive events which will examine the strike force of this humor and its conformity with the spirit of the times.
An example? The famous scene of Tartuffe where Elmire, the wife of the master of the house, suffers the assaults of that rascal Tartuffe. “A priori, this sequence of harassment does not make you laugh, explains Danielle Chaperon. Except that Molière installs the husband, Orgon, under the operating table. And this presence changes everything.” Director Matthias Urban will perform this crisp piece in You cough loudly, ma’am, at La Grange de Dorigny in Lausanne, from January 20 to 29.
In this fireworks are also planned online videos with French-speaking comedians who will tear to pieces the heritage of the ancestor, as well as the regular presence, on the airwaves of Espace 2, from this Saturday January 15, of a director of Molière in the show It’s your turn. In March, Claude Bourqui and Marc Escola will publish an anthology of texts in the Osez (re)lire collection (Flammarion/J’ai lu). “Our ambition is to reach all audiences by multiplying the media,” enthuses Danielle Chaperon. Molière could well recall, as a psyche agitator, that if laughter is specific to man, it is not universal.