In I took my father on my shoulders, Arnaud Meunier embraces the epic of a son confronted with the near disappearance of his father. Inspired by Virgil, an ode to the forgotten in a France that is cracking.

"I took my father on my shoulders", by Fabrice Melquiot, directed by Arnaud Meunier.

Rond Point Theater, Paris

It is an imposing concrete block, a tower as it has sprouted in clusters in the suburbs. Turning on itself, it reveals, in cutting plan, several modest dwellings. Here is Roch and his son, Aeneas, in their dining room, a banner with the image of AS Saint-Etienne stuck to the wall faded. Roch bought some meat for special occasions. The announcement of his cancer is one that he drops like a bomb while peeling the carrots. The doctors only give him a few months. Not enough to make a tragedy, seems to say this man reluctant to effusions.

So begins I took my father on my shoulders. By a double earthquake: that of a near death, which freezes time and freezes the blood; and the tangible one that will shake the walls of the city, cracking its foundations. An umpteenth blow of fate for its precarious inhabitants who, without having been able to pay the insurance, will not be compensated.

The daily of left behind

This bitter and sensitive dive into the daily lives of men and women left behind, was born under the pen of the playwright Fabrice Melchiot. Of a rare power, his text, distantly inspired by the Virgil's Aeneid, embraces the initiatory journey of the modern Aeneas, determined to tear his father from the grisaille to join Portugal, a sort of eldorado.

Director of the Comédie Saint-Etienne where the piece was created, Arnaud Meunier puts it beautifully on stage, with the impressive scenography of Nicolas Marié and an excellent troupe. Philippe Torreton embodies Roch, admirable of resilience, robust body that the disease besieges and dries up. The young Maurin Ollès interprets his son with a disconcerting naturalness, between urban language and more lyrical flights. Rachida Brakni portrays the unfathomable Anissa, cold and ardent, in love with her father and son. In the role of Grinch, the faithful friend, Vincent Garanger upsets.

Philippe Torreton, the metamorphosis of a shy

Bénédicte Mbemba, Frederico Semedo, and Riad Gahmi complete a distribution without false note, whose alchemy will be illustrated during the farewell party of Aeneas and his father, moment of great accuracy where the joy disputed with despair .

Few shows that explore with so much humanity and scope – at the risk of a few lengths sometimes – marginalized lives, suspended on the edge of the world. United by an unwavering bond of solidarity, Roch, Aeneas, Anissa, Celeste and the others form an unforgettable family of heart, where one supports oneself at arm's length, humble and worthy to the end.

Jeanne Ferney

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