January 06, 2020
The revered film director vowed never to touch theatre. So why is he staging the great Aids epic Angels in America? Apparently, it’s all a misunderstanding
Arnaud Desplechin: Theatre is for the bourgeois. Film is the art of rascals!
Arnaud Desplechin looks surprisingly calm as he excuses himself to listen to a voicemail from the Comédie-Française’s technical team. France is one week into a general strike over pension reform and the country’s premier theatre company has followed suit, resulting in cancelled performances and rehearsals. “We take it day by day,” says Desplechin, whose new production of Angels in America is due to open in mid-January. “It will start to get difficult if it continues.” We spoke in December and the strike is still going strong, but there is no plan to delay.
It doesn’t help that Tony Kushner’s sprawling 1990s play about the Aids crisis is only Desplechin’s second theatre project, his first being a 2015 version of August Strindberg’s Father. The 59-year-old auteur is renowned for such character-driven screen dramas as Kings and Queen and My Golden Days, which often draw on his own life and background. Yet this month he will be in two Paris theatres at once, since an adaptation of his film A Christmas Tale is appearing at the Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe.
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