Krystian Lupa, director, following the cancellation of his show “Les Emigrants”: “It is not my oversized ego that is the source of the conflict”

Krystian Lupa, on the set of the play “Les Emigrants”, at the Comédie de Genève, May 9, 2023.

After being canceled from the Comédie de Genève due to the director’s breaches of the rules of Swiss theatre, The Emigrants, show by Polish Krystian Lupa, will not be played in Avignon either. The announcement was made on Wednesday June 7 by Tiago Rodrigues, the new director of the festival. We joined the Polish artist in Krakow.

What is your reaction after these two successive cancellations?

I am very surprised. I had never experienced such a situation before. In Geneva, I was confronted with the revolt of a technical team which led the management of the theater to withdraw the show from its poster.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers The Avignon Festival cancels “Les Emigrants”, the show by Krystian Lupa

I would like to recall the context. In Switzerland, we had lost a week of work, because I had caught the Covid, at the beginning of April, in a very violent way. For these reasons, the end of the rehearsals promised to be very stressful. We started the technical rehearsals late, but The Emigrants is an extremely complicated show on this level. At the very beginning of these final working sessions, I wanted to warn everyone: due to the lack of time, a difficult period awaited us. So I said that I would try to lead the rehearsals in the most peaceful way possible. I know myself well: not only am I myself a very emotional person, but we operate, with the actors, on emotions. I apologized in advance for any outbursts that I knew could arise. This happened twice. When I am in a momentum with the actors and in a state of intimate acceleration, I cultivate the inner madman in me to use it and access other areas of thought.

It was in this particular context that I came up against the technical teams. Those of the light, which, because they subjected me to settings contrary to what I demanded insistently, precipitated me into a kind of schizophrenia. I derailed. I’m ashamed of it. Then I also had problems with the sound engineer, in whom I immediately felt the refusal to adapt his method to mine. I do not hide it, these last technical repetitions exhausted me, but I was not aggressive. It is not my oversized ego that is the source of this conflict, but the oversized ego of this team.

After these events, experienced as a trauma by the theater of Geneva, by the actors and, no doubt, by yourself, would you say that two incompatible worlds have met? That of Swiss technicians and their values, and yours, with the artistic requirements that belong to you?

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