A wonderful start to the tg STAN cycle: a powerful text by Bergman and superb actors.

It's such a pleasure to see once again the tg STAN team and their ‘different’ approach: major texts, magnificent actors, a ferocious sense of humour. This cycle has started at Les Tanneurs with Scènes de la vie conjugale (Scenes from a Marriage) after Ingmar Bergman's film of the same name, a 2013 play created in French in Toulouse. For two and a half hours – that pass swiftly – we follow a couple, Johan and Marianne.

At first sight everything's perfect, except for a decline in passion after 13 years of marriage and two daughters – though they wonder if it isn't rather a good thing, considering how other couples their age are tearing each other apart. Marianne, always keen to do everything well, is stunned when Johan leaves her for Paula, fifteen years her junior. In the end they come together again as lovers, slightly disenchanted but appeased, having discovered a new kind of tenderness that's more lucid and having accepted the general confusion caused by emotions.

Illiterate

Along the way Bergman will have told us this: ‘Everywhere, there are only wounds. Whatever we do, we do it clumsily. Where emotions are concerned, we're all illiterate.’

The text is magnificent, it moves us because it's imbued with universal humanity and truth. And the actors are splendid for being able to express everything in this text so accurately and for enlivening such a grave subject. tg STAN's Frank Vercruyssen, whose humour and quirkiness are a constant, lets the audience in – as is his habit – on the ‘making of’ of the piece (and as often happens with tg STAN, there's a lot of changing clothes, eating and drinking on stage). And we discover in this piece a gorgeous actress, Ruth Vega Fernandez, splendidly emotional as she moves from staunchness to tears, from meekness to quiet strength.

La Libre Belgique, 5 February 2015

 

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