“everyone loses during a war,” says Muriel Mayette-Holtz to explain his staging of Trojan , a beautiful adaptation of Euripides ‘ tragedy in the vast Greek theatre open to the sky of Siracusa, Sicily.

In mid-may and until June 23, the National Institute of Drama Ancient, the foundation INDA, responsible for the programming of the theatre of Syracuse, has provided twenty-three performances of this piece, each of which attracts approximately 5,000 spectators. The show is impressive, the staging colossal: eighty actors, actresses and singers evolve for two and a half hours on a stage evoking the ruins of the ancient city of Asia Minor, sacked by the Greeks.

Mise en scene inspired by the storm Vaia

To restore this desolate spectacle, Muriel Mayette-Holtz, installed at the Academy of Fine Arts on may 15, was inspired by the environmental disaster caused by the storm Vaia that devastated 41.000 hectares of forests in the Friuli region (north-eastern Italy) in September 2018. “The idea of integrating in the project stage of the pines and firs felled by the wind of unprecedented violence arose out of the need to create a bridge between two tragedies in two thousand years of distance between two regions at a distance of 1,500 kilometers of one another and between human beings and the natural world. A bridge of which it is difficult today not to admit the necessity,” says Stefano Boeri.

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This milanese architect and designer, 63 years of age, responsible for the scenography, went in the Friuli to select 400 trunks of trees lying on the ground, a height of between four and eight metres. It was reconstituted on the vast plateau of the ancient theatre, of which the terraces are carved into the stone, a dense forest is supposed to represent the remains of ancient walls. An ingenious mechanism allows you to maintain erect 250 trunks while the other lies on the ground. Of flares and firecrackers contain fires and outbreaks of war, which comes to an end. Actors and singers are changing the decor in reciting the moving text of Euripides, which was played for the first time in 415 BC.

A final sumptuous “The Trojan,” she said, showcasing the heroines of the war, these women, who remain to rebuild after destruction,” explains Muriel Mayette-Holtz. Ph.Franca Centaro

The text has lost nothing of its relevance, as underlined by Muriel Mayette-Holtz, the first woman to have served as Director general of the Comédie-Française (2008/2014), then Director of the Villa Medici (2015-2018): “The Trojan,” she said, showcasing the heroines of the war, these women, who remain to rebuild after the destruction”. It cites Hecuba, wife of king Priam and queen of Troy, who says: “in life, there is hope and for me it is a heroic courage than to be always thinking in the future”. As well as Talthybios, ambassador of Agamemnon, the commander-in-chief of the Greek army, who speaks of “tears for Andromache”, the wife of Hector slain by Achilles, and which will be given as a slave to Neoptolemus. Talthybios who, in spite of her tears, “has taken away in the arms of Andromache his young son Astyanax to throw him from the top of the walls” in order to avoid that it does not seek later to avenge his father.

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The final table is sumptuous: the women of Troy who mourn their future slaves distributed among the victors who have killed their husband strip out of their clothes covered in dust to appear in a red dress for the funeral of the young Astyanax. “Men are unable to stop wars, even if they are suffering,” says Muriel Mayette-Holtz, adding: “we are not able to take advantage of our history and we reproduce always the same misfortunes. All wars are the same. There is neither winner nor loser. Everyone loses in a war. As said by Poseidon, who had built the walls of Troy, he is crazy in the deadly rampage on the cities, and changes in desert temples. It is he who perishes to finish,” stresses Muriel Mayette-Holtz.