Little Red Riding Hood and Gretel, Hansel and the others: two tales for today

Das Plateau staged Little Red Riding Hood at the 2022 Avignon Festival

Little Red Riding Hood Photo Christophe Raynaud de Lage

Of the three shows for young audiences offered this summer at the Avignon Festival, two were inspired by tales by the Brothers Grimm: Little Red Riding Hood et Gretel, Hansel and the others. Whether it’s the Das Plateau collective signing the first; or Igor Mendjisky creating the second, these shows each time constituted their director’s first foray into young audiences. They are currently on tour.

If these adaptations each offer a new reading of these tales, both move away from the violent and peremptory ends of Charles Perrault, and extend even further the positive versions proposed by the Grimms. Igor Mendjisky thus almost completely rewrote the story. Gretel and Hansel are not abandoned by their parents, nor do they fall into the hands of a terrible witch: on the contrary, the children decide to flee temporarily to escape a very dull and bland world where meals do not exist. anymore – they only eat pills – and where their parents don’t have time for them. Mendjisky describes (at the festival’s press conference) this rewriting work as ” a constant back and forth so that the piece speaks to both children and parents“, adding” I nevertheless tried to follow Joël Pommerat’s point of view according to which we should speak to children as well as to adults ».

The story at the center

A singular choice, these two stagings immerse the spectators in the tale through its narration. Thus, with Igor Mendjisky the public receives the story through the children to whom the parents and one of their friends tell the tale to put them to sleep. At Das Plateau, the story of Red Riding Hood is addressed directly to the public, like a dive into her memories by Little Riding Hood herself. The actress Maelys Ricordeau who interprets this character also embodies the mother and grandmother of the chaperone. A way of working for the director Celestial Germ (as she explains in a press conference) the questions of ” memory of generations ” as well as “ the transmission ».

The power of images

Igor Mendjisky adapts Hansel and Gretel by the Brothers Grimm at the Festival d'Avignon 2022

Hansel and Gretel Photo Christophe Raynaud de Lage

Both Igor Mendjisky and the Das Plateau collective give pride of place to scenography. Pour Little Red Riding HoodDas Plateau collaborates for the third time with the scenographer James Brandily « in a project that allows you to work on illusion, magic, which allows appearances and disappearances according to the light, thanks to a one-way mirror “. The result is a tray with a magnificent aesthetic, evoking a moving picture where the house of the chaperone, that of the grandmother and the forest follow one another. Igor Mendjisky, for his part, installs his piece in a hyperrealistic children’s room, with the aim of ” draw sensations, because when you are a child, it is above all what marks you “. To do this, the director uses various narrative mediums including video, Chinese shadows, or 2D animation, the work with these different scales transporting the spectator according to his imagination, with twenty-five characters with voices and very distinct personalities.

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Two contemporary issues

Finally, the two adaptations claim to work on feminist issues. Igor Mendjisky takes the decision to rename the tale in order to change its point of view and have the viewer follow a determined, mature Gretel, ready to do anything for her little brother, and to whom we will deliver, in as a moral, the poetic injunction to ” take care of the stories that wander inside you “. To justify his choices, the director cites his twin sister who gave him the impression of ” grow up with some kind of half to [ses] sides “as well as his eight-year-old daughter to whom he humorously attributes “ the role of literary advisor ».

If Das Plateau achieves its goal of ” magnify the strengths of childhood » by its formal proposal, feminism seems, nevertheless, more present in the note of intent than in the piece itself. Certainly, there is the doubling of the end where the grandmother takes her revenge, leading a wolf into a trap to protect her granddaughter – a gesture testifying to intergenerational female solidarity. Admittedly, the chaperone is no longer the brainless child of Perrault to whom Das Plateau raised a ” inversion of guilt between child and wolf “. On the other hand, the moral of the story seems to remain that of the original tale: if this misadventure happened to Little Red Riding Hood, it is because she deviated from the path from which she had been forbidden to stray. There is therefore still a long way to go for this “inversion of guilt” to be completely erased and for this tale to fully assert itself as emancipatory…

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Hanna Bernard –

Little Red Riding Hood
Texts Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, translation by Natacha Rimasson-Fertin and extracts from Future, ancient, fugitive by Olivier Cadiot
Directed by Celeste Germ
With Antoine Oppenheim, Maëlys Ricordeau
Artistic collaboration Maëlys Ricordeau
Dramaturgical advice Marion Stoufflet
Music Jacob Stambach
Scenography James Brandily
Light Sebastien Lefevre
Images Flavie Trichet-Lespañol
Sound and video Jérôme Tuncer
Costumes Sabine Schlemmer
Assistant director Mathilde Wind

Production Das Plateau
Co-production Jean-Vilar Theater in Vitry-sur-Seine, Le Grand R National Stage in La Roche-sur-Yon, Avignon Festival, New Generation Theater national drama center (Lyon), Nanterre-Amandiers national drama center, La Comédie de Colmar Grand Est Alsace national drama center, Comédie de Reims National drama center, Brétigny Theater contracted stage of national interest arts and humanities, Gérard Philippe Theater Saint-Denis national drama center, La Villette – Paris artists’ initiatives, CREA – Festival Momix – Stage under agreement of National Interest “Art Enfance Jeunesse” (Kingersheim), National Theater of Brittany (Rennes), Le Grand Bleu stage under agreement of national interest art, childhood and youth (Lille)
With the support of the Drac Île-de-France – Ministry of Culture, the Île-de-France Region, the Department of Essonne
Residences Ferme du Buisson National Stage (Noisiel), Jean-Vilar Theater in Vitry-sur-Seine, Le Grand R National Stage in La Roche-sur-Yon

Das Plateau is approved by the DRAC Île-de-France and supported by the Île-de-France Region as aid for cultural artistic permanence, and by the Essonne department as aid for territorial residence.
Das Plateau is a member of the 360 ​​collective of companies.

Duration: 40 mins

Festival d’Avignon 2022
Chapel of the White Penitents
from July 15 to 18, at 11 a.m. or 3 p.m.

Chatillon Theater
from September 28 to 30

New Generation Theater (TNG), Lyon
from October 4 to 15

La Villette, Paris
from November 24 to 26

Theater Les Halles, Sierre
from November 30 to December 2

Theater of La Roche-sur-Yon
from December 7 to 9

National Theater of Brittany, Rennes
from December 13 to 17

The Big Blue, Lille
from January 11 to 14, 2023

The Phoenix National Stage, Valenciennes
from January 17 to 19

The Quay – Angers CDN
from January 23 to 25

Festival Momix, Kingersheim
January 29

Gerard Philipe Theater, Saint-Denis
from February 1 to 4

Sartrouville Theater / Yvelines – CDN
February 11

Bretigny Theater
from March 7 to 9

Nanterre-Amandiers Theater
from March 23 to 25

Comedy of Colmar
March 30 to April 1

Jean Vilar Theater in Vitry-sur-Seine
from April 17 to 22

MC2: Grenoble
May 11-13

The Bush Farm, Noisiel
from June 1 to 3

The Comedy of Reims
from June 8 to 10

Gretel, Hansel and the others
Writing and direction Igor Mendjisky
With Igor Mendjisky, Esther Van Den Driesshe, Sylvain Debry
Assistant director Thomas Christin
Dramaturgie Charlotte Farcet
2D animation Cleo Sarrazin
Music Raphaël Charpentier
Scenography Anne-Sophie Grac and Igor Mendjisky
Video Yannick Donet
Lights Stephane Dechamps
Set construction Jean-Luc Malavasi

Production Moya Krysa
Partners Avignon Festival, La Colline – national theatre, Célestins – Lyon theatre, L’Azimut – Antony/Châtenay-Malabry, National Circus Pole in Ile-de-France, Le Grand T – Loire-Atlantique theatre, Les Gémeaux – National Sceaux Stage, National Theater of Nice – CDN Nice Côte d’Azur, Romain Rolland Theater of Villejuif – State-funded stage of national interest Art and creation
With the support of the Integration Fund for Young Actors of the ESAD – PSPBB, of the SORANO space
With the artistic participation of the Young National Theater
Project supported by the Ministry of Culture – Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs of Île-de-France

Duration: 1h15

Festival d’Avignon 2022
Chapel of the White Penitents
from July 8 to 11 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

L’Azimut, Antony and Châtenay-Malabry
from October 8 to 12

Roman Rolland Theater, Villejuif
from October 18 to 23

The Hill – national theatre, Paris
from December 1 to 17

The Celestins – Theater of Lyon
from December 20 to 31

Le Grand T, Nantes
from February 28 to March 3

National Theater of Nice, CDN Nice Côte d’Azur
from March 15 to 18

Olivier Theater – Stages & Cinemas, Istres
March 21 and 22

Espace Marcel Carné, Saint-Michel-sur-Orge
March 24

The Gemini, National Stage of Sceaux
April 7 and 8

The Quay – CDN Angers
from April 12 to 15

Espace Sorano, Vincennes
April 21