a joyous hymn to tolerance

Life is a Party is a moving and spicy chronicle that tells about 45 years of a man’s life’s journey in search of himself.

Life is a party the new staging by Virginie Lemoine, a regular at the Festival OFF. Also accustomed to success! And it’s not this year that’s likely to change! It is with good taste and finesse which characterizes her return with an adaptation of the play by Lilian Lloyd about homosexuality.

This is the story of Roman. The story of an encounter with oneself, of the obstacles that must be overcome in order to hope to live in peace with one’s difference, when deep down one is so similar to others. It is a comedy sprinkled with daily dramas, intolerance and stupidity. A simple and light story, carried by actors who probably make it even more brilliant than it is!

“Life is a party, dress up for it. »

Audrey Hepburn

The long road to yourself

Both narrator and character in his story, Romain regularly speaks to us through intrusions into his past to tell us about his life’s journey. We thus witness a rhythmic sequence of scenes from his daily life, which are played before our eyes. Her first sexual relationship with her best friend, the announcement of her homosexuality to her parents, the rejection of her first homosexual impulses or her first relationship with a man…

© Frederique Toulet

And then there is the ignorance and guilt of his parents looking for a reason, an explanation for a reality that has none, that simply is what it is. The fascination of his best friend too, a little annoyed at not having been the object of any desire on his part! In short, preconceived ideas and prejudices you want some here. Lots of ignorance too.

It must be said that he is not helped with this cynical and depressed mother, incapable of love, and this tender but awkward father. “In addition, if you are a professional, I would really have missed everything. » she regrets. But Romain does not want to fight, neither against his parents nor against society. He does not want to defend anything or be a symbol of any cause. All he longs for is to be allowed to live his own way, without any kind of commitment.

Should the small story write the big one?

But can we refrain from the political and social commitment that being gay represents in a society that still has a long way to go in terms of tolerance and equality? Is militant action a right or does it become a duty under such circumstances? This is the main question that arises throughout this story and obviously makes you think, although the answer is still quite strongly suggested.

Avignon 2022 – Life is a party_4
© Frederique Toulet

Because at the same time that Romain unravels the somewhat intertwined thread in his story, it is also the turbulent history from the 80s to today that is outlined. And we look back at this crucial time to the liberation of homosexuality in Franceit is also an opportunity to remember it the achievements are recent, fragile. And that there are still many irrational fears and other received ideas to combat.

Indeed, let us remember that it was not until 1990 that the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from his disease register. And that blood donation has only been approved for gay men since 2016…

A cast that works fantastically

Julien Alluguette – found especially in the TF1 series ‘Here it all starts‘ – is captivating, endearing and true in this contemporary role. He could be the brother, the son, the best friend of all of us. It could be us. And if his stagemates are all up to the task, we had a soft spot for Alexis Victor and Valerie Zaccomer which in particular embodies his parents to Romain.

Both are very convincing and make us feel strong emotions towards them. Alexis Victor embodies this loving and generous but modest and clumsy father with an accuracy that makes it touching. As for Valerie Zaccomershe is fantastic in the role of this unsympathetic and neurotic mother who would have preferred a girl and constantly postpones his love for later.

Avignon 2022 – Life is a party_3
© Frederique Toulet

The staging by Virginie Lemoine is full of freshness and dynamism. It is a refined arrangement, in an arch, consisting of several doors through which the characters come and go and intersect to the rhythm of the chronology of events, their feelings, reflections and consciousness. Which provides a sense of perpetual motion which literally takes us into history.

A feel good comedy

The years pass to the rhythm of Romain’s birthdays and his father’s gifts, which are so many nods to different eras crossings. that rehearsal comedy works wonderfully, especially in a scene made funny by sudden hyperactivity in the mother ! And that’s exactly what makes this piece so fun and bubbly : this simplicity in the way of approaching things. This priority given to life, to joy, to hope. Too bad the conversation is being taken sometimes a little judgmental.

Life is a party is a piece that militates without seeming too much, which above all speaks of love and humanity and which, after making us smile and laugh a lot, ended up bringing us tears.

La vie est une fête, by Lilian Lloyd, with Julien Alluguette, Ariane Brousse, Benjamin Tholozan, Alexis Victor & Valérie Zaccomer, directed by Virginie Lemoine, plays at Théâtre Actuel from 7 to 30 July at 19.05).

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

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Fun, light, touching

Life is a Party is fresh and light in form, deep and engaging in purpose. We laugh a lot, we are sometimes moved, we hum along to a few notes of Supertramp, Pink Floyd, Police, Queen or David Bowie. An entertaining and touching moment that celebrates all things life.

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