A certain way
of being alive

Denis Lavant

For me, the text is of paramount importance. I read a lot in the most diverse contexts, I tried to be a peddler of words through poetic readings. These days there’s an enormous loss of language between the written and the oral due to the accelerated mode of modern communication. With poetry in verse, we more certainly find the value of long, short syllables, the texture of words. As an actor, I am extremely sensitive to the sound of words, to their flavour.

I started with gesture and wanted to forge this "conduit" to speak out. Language fascinates me. The phenomenon of language also passes through poetry, through play on words, through wild etymology! It is a wealth, a source of life. There is something fabulous about language that manifests itself in ageless gusts.

Serving the text, yes that's what matters to me; putting myself at the service of an author for the theatre.


I also think that poetry resonates not only in writing but above all in a human state or through a certain way of being alive. It’s a way of seeing the world around us. And for that, I believe that a poetry performance works, paradoxically, when it permits as much improvisation as possible. The ones I made were snapshots. The term "performance" bothers me. I prefer to speak of “poetic precipitates”. When I work with musicians, this obviously requires more support along the way to give myself landmarks, waystages, while when I'm alone, left to myself, I can take different paths at any time and decide at the very last moment. I’m free to choose my texts and the way I play them, my only requirement being this extreme need to "speak". I’m constantly looking for harmony between my immediate feeling and my words, to maintain the balance of this experimentation according to the listening and attention of the viewer.


— Extract from Échappées belles by Denis Lavant 
published in September 2020 by Les impressions nouvelles


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