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La Porte à côté
Fabrice Roger-Lacan
Actes du théâtre n° 70.[ imprimer ]
She’s a shrink. He sells yoghurt. They’re neighbors on the same floor, the best of enemies and, like millions of singles lost in the city, secretly exploring internet dating sites in search of love – for someone the exact opposite of the unbearable person living next door. Thanks to the magic of compatibility tests they both find a soul mate and can’t resist the pleasure of telling each other – for another chance to have an argument. But is it the last?

”Fabrice Roger-Lacan’s new play is a jaunty, sentimental, funny comedy. It’s an exhilarating read and easy to see how Édouard Baer and Emmanuelle Devos will work together. The form is quite unusual. At times the two characters, designated simply as ‘‘She’’ and ‘‘He,’’ stop short and address the audience or think out loud in front of their respective computers. Sometimes they even say it – they feel like they’re just ‘‘characters.’’
‘‘It wasn’t fully developed in my mind at first. The form emerged during the writing. I could already see the two characters, and after that their social personas took shape rather quickly: she’s a shrink, and he’s a product manager for a large company. I imagined the guy listening to some very loud music by Bruckner that he’s thinking of using in a yoghurt commercial. That information is conveyed to the audience early on. I wrote various scenes – like tableaus – then the idea came to me of interludes, or breaks, where they address the audience or think out loud, to themselves.’’
The play talks about contemporary ways of confronting reality but isn’t preachy, and Fabrice Roger-Lacan makes you smile and laugh without being heavyhanded.* Such as in the meditation sessions ‘‘he’’ subjects himself to, and the ‘‘compatibility tests.’’ ‘‘I took some of the material straight from certain web sites,’’ admits the playwright, a sharp observor of our times. The characters are not at all puppet-like, but the playwright is never too far away. It’s a bit like with Diderot, where you never lose the writer’s tender, mischievous train of thought. ‘‘I admire how Milan Kundera uses that freedom in his novels, points out Fabrice Roger-Lacan. And it’s no accident that the great novelist from Prague adapted Diderot’s Jacques the Fatalist and his Master.’’
Édouard Baer was the obvious choice to play ‘‘He.’’ And when Bernard Murat introduced Roger-Lacan to Emmanuelle Devos, he was enchanted and sure that she was right for the part. He knew her film work and felt certain she would be a wonderful shrink.”

Interviewed by Armelle Héliot
(copyright L’Avant-scène théâtre)

Opens at the Théâtre Edouard VII, January 31, 2014.
Director: Bernard Murat. Cast: Emmanuelle Devos, Edouard Baer.

Characters : 1 women - 1 men -
L'Avant-Scène Théâtre

HE Do you always act like that when asking for a favor?
SHE Act like what?
HE Disagreable.
SHE I’m the one who’s disagreable?
HE Yes, you. Are you saying it’s me?
SHE Saying I’m disagreable - isn’t that disagreable?
HE Did you see how you barged in here with that brill?
SHE Don’t you like brill?
HE Are you sure that brill isn’t a turbot?
SHE You mean if it’s a turbot then you’ll let me use your oven?
HE I never said you couldn’t use my oven.
SHE So can I?
HE I didn’t say you could either. I didn’t say anything. You didn’t ask me anything, you just barged in and started hounding me!
SHE How are things going at work these days? Pretty tense? You seem to be a bundle of nerves.
HE We’re not getting into that again!
He sits down and buries his nose in the newspaper. HE(behind the newspaper) The oven is over there. Make yourself at home. I’m not here.