Published on September 18, 2023 at 5:00 p.m.Updated September 18, 2023 at 5:25 p.m.
The audience of the Théâtre de la Tempête is invited to the ball. A concert ball of monsters, in a strange setting made of contemporary ruins (TV or computer screens broadcasting aquarium images). While a Mephistophelian crooner warms up the room, two silhouettes emerge from a shabby sofa: Michael Jackson and Britney Spears. The first refutes her death, the second plays the survivors. Sketched songs, aborted choreographies… the two ghostly idols quarrel before facing world opinion which wants to “cancel” Michael and his songs for child abuse and the singer’s fans who defend him tooth and nail.
This is the unusual plot of “World Autopsy”, the play by Emmanuelle Bayamack-Tam, directed by Clément Poirée. A “musical drama” sums up the author. Or a contemporary ballet comedy in which the idols have replaced the gods of Olympus and are confronted with allegorical characters of a new kind. The writer, winner of the 2022 Medici Prize with “The Thirteenth Hour” engages in a perilous exercise: surfing the emptiness of our star-driven era and the hysterization of our fantasies. His text is on the edge, on the threshold of emptiness. But every time he seems to push through an open door, he deviates from his path and rushes into an unexpected breach.
Trained at the school of Philippe Adrien, who died just two years ago, Clément Poirée inherited his sense of poetic image. He adds a crazy energy, a theatrical D system which allows him to represent everything with malice (a crucifixion, a resurrection and a failed ascension of the true-false messiah Michael). With Emmanuelle Bayamack-Tam, he found a soul mate to explore contemporary lands. Fantasy, formal invention, right gesture, the director of La Tempête directs the actors with subtle care between feigned innocence and biting derision.
No false note in the casting. Pierre Lefebvre-Adrien is a competitive Michael, by turns diabolical and childish. Mathilde Auneveux shines in the thankless role of Britney, a broken child star that no one listens to. François Chary, as an uninhibited fan, and Louise Coldefy, as an overexcited World Opinion, advantageously give them the answer, when the duo of singing musicians Stéphanie Gibert and Sylvain Dufour happily give the “la”. At the end of the show, we no longer really know where we are and what we saw – except that the idols took it for their rank. What remains is the music and songs that remind us of our innocence. On the stage invaded by the public, the ball for the end of the world has just begun.
by Emmanuelle Bayamack-Tam
Directed by Clément Poirée
Cartoucherie de Vincennes, Théâtre de la Tempête
Until October 22, 2:10 a.m.