Rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs, in the Montparnasse district, the heavy red doors of the Lucernaire theater can only be opened for the few students of the drama school directed by the actor and director Philippe Person . Rue de Clichy, the iron curtain of the Théâtre de l’Oeuvre remains lowered. “We hope not to be the last to be able to reopen”, worries Benoît Lavigne, the director of these two historic stages of the Parisian theater. In an open letter addressed at the end of the week to the President of the Republic as to the Prime Minister, he wrote with as much anger and bitterness as sadness: “Culture is dying. She is in agony. “
Because, he continues, “For months now, our sector has been in crisis and to date we have no prospect, no indication, no hope of reopening for all cultural establishments, namely museums, cinemas, concert halls, galleries of ‘art and theaters’. And the director-director to add: “During your last speeches, not a word was said about us. It is as if we do not exist, as if we no longer exist. ” An observation which, one suspects, does not satisfy Benoît Lavigne, who, while expressing his perplexity at the opening of DIY stores but not bookstores, calls for “Speak louder, as athletes have done, or even religious people who have obtained announcements of reopening. For that, can we be content to wait without saying anything for a hypothetical reopening of theaters in January ”?
Especially since, according to restrictions that could be enacted, such as curfews, “If people have to be home by 9pm, and if plays end after 8pm, many won’t come. In addition, rooms would be half filled to respect sanitary distances. But how can we imagine getting by financially with 50% of revenue and fewer shows? It’s a real drama, especially for small venues that aren’t backed by large groups. The prospect of bankruptcy is emerging ”.
90% of the employees of these two theaters find themselves in partial unemployment
The open letter reminds us that “Culture – in all its forms – remains more essential than ever. It has perhaps never been as precious as it is today ” in a world “Confronted with obscurantism, with individualism in the fold in oneself”, he told us over the phone. Because, for him, “Culture – like education – uplifts our hearts and souls. It tends again and again to make the individual better in chaotic and uncertain times. It is, as Jean Vilar defined it, “food as essential to life as water and electricity”. Can we be satisfied that, in the current context, culture boils down to digital platforms Amazon and Netflix ”?
Currently, 90% of the employees of these two theaters find themselves in partial unemployment. All programming needs to be redone ” in the fog “, and the thread is maintained at best with audiences via the Internet. Wider, “We are currently 800,000 employees and intermittents of the show at a standstill, in uncertainty”, points to the text, which welcomes “Aid granted”, but continues: “What we want as quickly as possible is to find the public“ in the flesh ”in our theaters; rediscover this direct, unique and irreplaceable contact between spectators and artists. “