He would have been happy, friend Ralite. He who relentlessly frequented theaters, went to the Festival d’Avignon – we hear in the hall the cicadas and the rustling of the swifts’ wings – always curious to see shows, of course, but also to meet and interact with the artists, actors, directors he met in the poorly paved alleys of Avignon, stay for hours at the annex of the BNF of Maison Jean Vilar, where he read and reread books of theater, history, poetry, blackening pages of notes which piled up in his faithful black leather satchel.
“We miss him, Ralite”
He would have been happy, Ralite. It will be three years on November 12 that he died. His disappearance created a lack. How many artists, intellectuals, doctors, researchers say so: “We miss him, Ralite. “ We miss him, but his speeches, his speeches on the occasion of his multiple interventions in the Senate, the National Assembly, Aubervilliers, the States General, the central committee of the PCF as we said then constitute a precious heritage. Just like his interviews or his forums that have appeared here and there in the press. The show designed and performed by Christian Gonon was imagined from the book of interviews carried out by Karelle Ménine, Thought, poetry and politics. Dialogue with Jack Ralite, published in Solitaires intempestifs.
” How would I say… “ Thus begins the show, with that politeness of language which Ralite used without abusing it and which announced an idea, an argument, a thought. A warning sign to arouse in his interlocutor the attention but especially the concentration. So Ralite, like the painter on the motif, drew aloud the outlines of a moving reflection, on the lookout. The division operated by Christian Gonon, his bias, mainly focused on the relationships that Ralite had with the poets, artists or presidents of the Republic, to whom he wrote long letters to plead, with a courteous but firm pen, the cause of the artists, this bias, therefore, gives the full measure of Ralite’s personality. A politician of stature who had a high idea of politics and observed the drift – this semantic shift – where the word “politician” has insidiously replaced the word “political”.
The actor avoids the pitfall of the biopic
Alone on stage, a small table covered with scattered leaves, a simple lamp and a chair for any accessory, Christian Gonon gives an interior amplitude to his “character”. By readjusting his tie, fiddling with his glasses or feverishly consulting notes taken on pieces of paper, the actor avoids the pitfall of the biopic and manages to slip some signs as so many proofs of existence. Gonon recreates snapshots of life, sprinkling the show with reflections, indignation at the drying up of cultural policies happily mixed with childhood memories, his admiration for Robespierre the Incorruptible, his first emotions in the theater, his adherence to “the party”, to its critical disagreements and its loyalty to the communist ideal, to the point of evoking its affective complicity with Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Vilar, Vitez, Hugo, Aragon, Picasso, René Char, Bernard Noël, Julien Gracq …
Suddenly we hear the red poster
Aragon occupies an important and special place in the spectacle. He was, said Ralite, a “Comrade of cultural brigandry, but also of political lucidity“. Suddenly we hear the red poster , said soberly, without sleeve effect. But also Strange strangersfrom the same Prévert who had written the Children of Aubervilliers, these “Nice children of the proletarians / Nice children of misery / Nice children of the whole world / Nice children of Aubervilliers” . Ralite was born in Châlons-sur-Marne but he had become one of those children of Aubervilliers, forever.
Since poets enlightened me, they can enlighten others. A politician who deprives himself of this mutilates his practice.
“I often quote poets because they enlightened me. I tell myself that since they enlightened me, they can enlighten others. A politician who deprives himself of this mutilates his practice ”,he said again. When all the actors of the troupe form a sonorous chorus where voices collide to read this famous address to the President of the Republic, we can see how much all of Ralite’s thought remains of a salutary vitality and a burning topicality.