Pierrette Dupoyet has the reputation of an institution, with the tenacity of a craftsman. 2018 marks over three and a half decades worth of work in the Avignon Festival Off and this year she has three offerings on stage. When anyone asks why she is doing three shows in the Off she simply responds “I couldn’t find time for a fourth.”
Her first creation of the day, Apollinaire, Au Revoir, À Dieu, is a splendidly charming romance. Dupoyet enters the space as language professor Madeleine. Effortlessly precise, she controls the class through the remarkable sound design by Jean-Marie Bourdat. Madeleine is disappointed in her student’s incuriosity regarding the recently dead poet, Apollinaire. Over the next hour she recounts meeting the poet on a train ride in southern France and the romance that followed. Knowing that this romance is doomed does nothing to restrain her wistful nostalgia.
Dupoyet has apparently found fellow spirit in this historical figure. Madeleine was at once a woman of planning-precision and one of unmistakable passion. Dupoyet’s masterly stage presence concocts an enchantingly intimate “journal entry” point of view. Then, when we return to the classroom years later, she has matured. She has taken well to her work as teacher. It is a perfect outlet for her passion for languages just as the theatres of Avignon OFF seem tailor made for this remarkable artist.
Apollinaire, Au Revoir, À Dieu can be seen at the Théâtre Buffon at 11:35