Duration: 1 hour 20 minutes without interval
After packed houses in Via Rovello in the Autumn of 2016, and an Italian and international tour which was received with extraordinary success - the first port of call was Paris, at the Théâtre de l’Athénée, named after Louis Jouvet - a return to Milan, at the Teatro Grassi for the play which Toni Servillo has based on the seven lessons that the great French actor held at the Conservatoire National d’Art dramatique in Paris, during Nazi occupation.
On the stage of a closed theatre, master and apprentice work passionately on a theatrical classic, Molière’s Don Giovanni. They are searching for truth in the performance, they accompany us on a journey to discover the mysterious world of acting and rehearsal, right up to the moment in which the actor understands that they have reached the heart of their character, to have understood it, and to be able to perform it in an authentic manner.
The subject of the rehearsal is Elvira’s second scene, the moment in which the unhappy lover of the great seducer enters the stage and pleads him to repent, because it is the only way to save his soul.
Toni Servillo and Petra Valentini, in the roles of Jouvet and Claudia, the most talented apprentice - who is forces to abandon the production as she is Jewish - demonstrate what it means to be an actor, to experience “a consuming passion - explains Servillo - which is that of removing ones “self”, remaining at the complete disposal of theatre. The poetry of this great man consists in the underlining of the eternal motive tied to the theatre: the place in which one loses themselves in order to find themselves again”.
The adventure of theatrical creation, in the tragic context of a country at war, is transformed into a message of hope and a form of fundamental resistance of humanity in the face of imminent horrors.
(Elvire Jouvet 40)
by Brigitte Jaques © Gallimard
based on the book “Molière et la Comédie classique” by Louis Jouvet
translation by Giuseppe Montesano
directed by Toni Servillo
costumes Ortensia de Francesco
lighting Pasquale Mari
sound Daghi Rondanini
assistant to the director Costanza Boccardi
with Toni Servillo, Petra Valentini, Francesco Marino, Davide Cirri
a Piccolo Teatro di Milano – Teatro d’Europa, Teatri Uniti co-production