Monday, March 17, 2014

The Question... Ariel Ifergan on Le Dernier jour du condamné

Death and The Privilege of Writing
by Estelle Rosen

Since 1999, Ariel Ifergan has performed in 15 Montreal productions including Pièce d'identité, Dossier Prométhée, Montréal la blanche. From 2007 to 2011, Ariel Ifergan produced Z comme Zadig, an adaptation of Zadig de Voltaire, co-written with director Anne Millaire in which he played all characters. M Ifergan was also involved in the touring production of Devinez-qui, les dix petit nègres, directed by Michèle Deslauriers. In 2013 he directed L'Augmentation de Georges Perec at Segal Centre. Young peoples theatre plays an important part in his career.  

CHARPO: Victor Hugo's novel Le Dernier Jour d'un Condamné (The Last Day of a Condemned Man) is about the thoughts, feelings, and fear of a man awaiting execution with a sub-text about abolishing capital punishment. How do you prepare for a complex role like this?

IFERGAN:  Victor Hugo wrote this story at the age of 27. This production was also an occasion for me to rediscover this master of French language; to take a look at Hugo's impressive biography and bibliography. He died at 85 and probably wrote every day of his life... and had an important political implication.

(photo by Alexandre Frenette)
Another important theme of the book, besides the death penalty, is the action of writing. The privilege of writing and creating as a powerful tool of freedom.

With director Eric St-jean, we discussed with great pleasure the historical, political and philosophical issues of Hugo's text. Those discussions happened mainly at the beginning of the rehearsals and will probably restart at the end of the process, but for now, as an actor, I really concentrate on each word I'm pronouncing and the immediate feelings of the character.

Actually, I keep repeating to myself for the 75 minutes of the presentation that I have to concentrate on what I'm doing, stay in the present moment and not allow my thoughts to jump to the next scene or think about the previous scene. It might seem simple but it is not.

Hugo's character is guilty, guilty of murder most likely. We don't know any details of the crime but he deserves to be punished. He understands that. This man is not strong, he is not very courageous, he committed a crime... But he is also a romantic character (hero) because of Hugo's talent and poetry, and because of the emotional journey that he experiences. This countdown he suffers creates a surprising compassion.

March 26 - April 12

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. Please read our guidelines for posting comments.