Laurent Poitrenaux, an actor passing on contemporary texts

Laurent Poitrenaux at the National Theater of Brittany, in Rennes, on October 10, 2020.

Short brown hair, dark pupil, white shirt under a black leather jacket: the colors of actor Laurent Poitrenaux are invisible to the naked eye. To find them, you have to make him talk, an exercise he likes to practice both in town and on stage. In the modulations of a voice that wanders between the metallic and the unctuous then arises the rainbow of vowels whose latent births Rimbaud has so well revealed..

Since he started in the theater, Laurent Poitrenaux has become the ferryman of contemporary languages. That of the writer Olivier Cadiot in particular (but not exclusively). Today, that of the British Harold Pinter in which he interprets, under the direction of Ludovic Lagarde, two plays at the Théâtre de l’Atelier, in Paris (The Lover And The Collection). Whether poetic, sinuous, lyrical or thrifty, the actor seizes the scriptures without trembling. The fear that tormented him at the beginning left him with maturity (he has just turned 56).

By dint of hard work, he also got rid of the feeling of illegitimacy that poisons beginners and of the mirages of inspiration that lulled illusions. He is not the type to sigh when he says of a role: ” I feel it. » Anchored to the rhythm of the sentences, screwed to their points and clinging to their commas, it flees the “romantic poses”. It is located “on the side of the workbench, of the cutting, of the notch, of making”. This taste for detail, concreteness and craftsmanship removes stage fright and leaves plenty of room for jubilation.

“Raised in joy”

Over the shows played (about fifty since 1990), this native of Vierzon (Cher) slipped into the proses of Samuel Beckett, Roger Vitrac, Luigi Pirandello, Michel Vinaver, Georg Büchner, Anton Chekhov, Shakespeare, Molière, Racine , Jean-Luc Lagarce, Witold Gombrowicz, Yannick Haenel, Pascal Rambert, Bernard-Marie Koltès. “What excites me is to make the words ring out”, explains the actor, confessing his debt: “These playwrights made me smarter than I am. » He has forged a love affair with them that occupies him full time, to the point of vampirizing his brain even when he is silent: When I walk in the streets, I am always repeating my texts in my head, at full speed. This is called making Italians. »

Read the interview (2014): Three questions to Laurent Poitrenaux

This method is not surprising when you consider the almost programmatic title of his first professional appearance. In 1990, he starred in Verbal pathology III. The order of speech, a staging by Thierry Bédard, sidekick met on the benches of Théâtre en Acts, a school founded by Lucien Marchal, in the 11e district of Paris. This is where Laurent Poitrenaux learned his skills: “I was refused at national schools. A little upset but not traumatized, I had to go elsewhere to learn the trade. » Failed twice at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Art and at the National Theater School in Strasbourg, he did not give up his dream: “I wanted to grow up with people, to meet a tribe. I had no appetite for the figure of the solitary actor. »

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