an unparalleled meeting

Maryvonne is a documentary play that explores the relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter in search of answers.

Maryvonne is one of our surprises in this edition of the Festival OFF. Surprise because, as for Crossing in dark water of a swimming pool painted in black, which is also played in the same theater, this piece had in advance nothing to please us. And yet …

In fact, the documentary theater, in the idea, is not really what stimulates us. But a series of “chances” – which certainly were not – ended make us curious. And so, in Avignon, a safe crush is always pleasant, but you also need to know how to take risks and put your fears and preconceived ideas aside …

More captivating than expected

This creation is repeated the filmed conversation between an 85-year-old grandmother and her granddaughter came to connect again. This grandmother is not ours, and what she tells us is not incredible. She does not tell so many things besides, and tells herself even less. And still, we are fascinated by this exchangeof certain realities which he compels us to see in the face, by this form also, which offers more staging options than you might have thought.

© Matthieu Cauchy

Camille Berthelot actually manages to make dynamic and vibrant process. That’s what’s playing out the video projected in the background, and what’s playing on the board. There’s this grandmother hiding her emotions behind her cigarette, her coffee, her stack of books and a straight face, and this grandson, who from the stage enters into dialogue with this filmed image, who listens to it, observes it, questions it.

An image in which play with light sometimes it also seems to project it where other times it comes to melt its shadow. And then there are his words, which sometimes come to rest the video – suddenly muted – which continues to roll. At other times, the picture freezes and the young woman then turns to us to comment, to tell us.

A touching moment of exchange

The excerpts from books that Maryvonne chooses to share are inspiring. They speak love, sorrow, youth, tenderness. A little of her no doubt too. Also, the triviality of certain words, of certain gestures, becomes poetic. We smile a lot throughout this show because there is something completely authentic, ren. So much so that we even sometimes let ourselves be surprised by the emotions.

Avignon 2022 - Maryvonne_2
© Matthieu Cauchy

For even though there are much modesty in this exchange, which gives the illusion of taking place in real time, tenderness invites itself in a few moments as the grandson approaches the screen and caresses this absent face. IN the moments of silencealso, where Maryvonne seems to be fleeing to another place that belongs only to her …

“I should smile more often, but I do not know how.”

Also she is touching this “little old woman, a little grumpy and not easy”, as she defines herself! And also funny in the way she has to say thingssincere, without filter and with a healthy dose of self-loathing.

A delicate interpretation

With his sensitive and luminous presenceAlma Livert was definitely it ideal actress for this role. The proof we were convinced that this grandmother was his. His interpretation is delicate, sober. She’s the granddaughter who just wants to create the bond she’s never had with her grandmother, without judging her, without rushing her. This little girl who hopes the words come, the ones who will finally talk abouta sudden disappearancethose who want to talk about love.

Camille Berthelot, author of the play – and true granddaughter of Maryvonne – wondered: “Will what I say speak to anyone?”. This small piece of privacy does not belong to us, it is true, but it refers us to many other things that belong to each of us. To the essentials.

Maryvonne, by Camille Berthelot, with Alma Livert, directed by Camille Berthelot, will be played from 8 to 27 July at 13.05 in Théâtre du Train bleu (canceled on Thursday).

Find all our articles dedicated to the Festival Off d’Avignon here.

Avignon 2022 - Maryvonne



A tender and original show

Through this film, Camille Berthelot wanted to meet, tell the story of this grandmother, whom she was never close to, but whom she needed to know. We become the privileged spectators of this fragile and modest exchange. A wonderful moment.

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