For ride-Sharing Midi, the stage director Éric Vigner has taken a radical party : to show a Ize and even a Mesa very “rough” and a passion for more intellectual than carnal in precious decorations with asian accents. You rarely see their bodies touching, but we hear the poem burning that seems to crop up in the Song of Songs. Éric Vigner has had the audacity to work on the first version of 1906 of the room. It is ” the story a little arranged “, as he himself who confesses to Paul Claudel, a passion that he has actually lived.

in the back. We are in 1900, on the deck of a boat en route to China, the Ernest-Simmons, a ship with double fireplace. Paul Claudel left France where he had returned after a post of the consul in Shanghai, China. Devout catholic over the age of thirty years, a virgin, is he full of bitterness. It was destined to the religious life. But his retirement to the abbey of the benedictines of Ligugé, in Vienna, is a failure. The young consul was denied entry in to the orders and does not become a monk. He resigned himself then to return to China where he accepted the position of vice-consul in Fou-Tcheou, in the province of Fujian. There, on the steamer that brings him back to Asia – and in default to have married God, it was love at first sight for a Polish that is traveling with her husband and four children : Rosalie Vecht, which will be its ” Ize “. She has a beauty that is proud. It is a ” creature, according to the words of Claudel, radiant and so beautiful “. Born of a Polish mother and a scottish father, Rosalie has then 29 years old. She is married to a cousin much older than she is, Francis Vecht trader by profession.

‘Four years of “burning”

The heart of Paul is conquered. He discovers femininity and the female body. In the first of the Five Great Odes written in Fou-Tcheou, Letters to Ysé (editions Gallimard), Claudel sighed : “Splendor as fragile as a royal hair of a woman ready to sink under the comb / O my friend ! o muse, in the wind of the sea ! o idea hair of the bow. “

Between 1900 and 1904, Paul Claudel saw “four years of “burning” with Rosalie Vecht. And then this last falls pregnant by him and hastily leaves China and the consul. On the boat back, she meets a handsome man of business, Jan Lintner, who became her second husband in 1908. In January 1905, Rose gave birth to Louise, who will never hold the name of Claudel and will not learn that at the age of 28 the truth about his father. Claudel waits for years, until 1917, news of Rosalie. And then the reunion. In 1923, Claudel, ambassador to Japan, wrote to Rosalie Vetch : “there will never be another body and another heart for me than those of my Rosie. “This story, we know today, in particular thanks to Louise, illegitimate daughter of Paul and Rosalie. It has preserved 190 letters from Claudel to his mother and then sold to a bookseller paris before they end up in the royal Library of Brussels.

“For me, it is essential to know this to understand that Claudel, when he begins to write Partage de midi, has already lived the first two acts (the play) the long voyage on an ocean liner, the discovery of love and the female body – and that it is in the process of living, as Mesa Act III, the nightmare of the absence : it is no longer new,” says the stage director Éric Vigner. The break of noon is the story of a passion magnified in the theatre.

“Partage de midi” by Paul Claudel, directed by Eric Vigner. In the TNS of Strasbourg, until 19 October, Comédie de Reims, from 13 to 15 November, TNB Rennes, from 12 to 19 December, Paris, théâtre de la Ville, from January 29 to February 15, 2019.

To read :

– Paul Claudel, the Letters to Ize (editions Gallimard).
– Thérès Mourlevat The Passion of Claudel. The life of Rosalie. (editions Phébus)

"Sharing midi", directed by Eric Vigner, in the TNS of Strasbourg until 19 October, Comédie de Reims, from 13 to 15 November, TNB Rennes, from 12 to 19 December, Paris, théâtre de la Ville, from January 29 to February 15, 2019.