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Mélanie Doutey and Haïm Lipsky

Encounter with Mélanie Doutey: narrator of a true story

By Manon Variol

Haïm - In the Light of a Violin, written and directed by Gérald Garutti, is based on a true story: the life of Haïm Lipsky, a Polish violinist who survived Auschwitz. He transmitted his love for music to his children and grand-children who all became great musicians. Haïm's story is performed in a very simple but poetic way: a narrator, Mélanie Doutey, and four musicians. The play will be performed from 11 to 21 June at the Print Room. A poetic evening you should not miss. We met the French actress who was particularly moved by the story of the courageous violinist.

Haïm - In the Light of a Violin is a play like no other. What did you like most in the project?
It is something you do not see at first sight: this story is timeless. We talk about a tragedy of the 20th century, the Second World War. Unfortunately, this story has been repeated over and again in some form in other communities. But this play does not talk about misery. It deals with transmission and gives hope. The main theme of the piece is the power of the will and passion.

There are 5 artists on stage, but you are the only one talking...
Yes, but it does not feel like reciting a monologue! I do not feel lonely on stage, as there is a dialogue between the story and the music. The musicians play characters: the pianist (Dana Ciocarlie) is the mother, the violinist (Yaïr Benaïm) plays Haïm... So I am surrounded by musicians who help move the story forward.

Samuel Maquin, Mélanie Doutey and Alexis Kune
Samuel Maquin, Mélanie Doutey and Alexis Kune

Have you met Haïm Lipsky?
Yes, he came in Paris to see us perform. I was very moved by his humility. I think he is a real hero. He went through these terrible events and transmitted his passion to his children, who are now great musicians. Haïm had a painful life.

He is extremely modest. Something really moved me, a simple gesture. He came on stage to greet the public with us, and he had this childish gesture: he raised up his arms, like Popeye does to show his muscles! We had just told his story, talking about tragedy and hope, from the child's naivety to adult maturity. This gesture was so naive and at the same time universal. It means so many different things: "I did it, I survived !"

Mélanie Doutey, Haïm Lipsky and Gérald Garutti
Mélanie Doutey, Haïm Lipsky and Gérald Garutti

What kind of director is Gérald Garutti?
Gérald is extremely picky. He wrote the play, so he already had in mind what he wanted. He leaves nothing to chance! I don't like approximation so I love working with him. It is wonderful to feel accompanied on stage, by his text and his perspective. 

Haïm - In the Light of a Violin will be performed at the Print Room between from 11 to 21 June. The play will be in French with English surtitles from Christopher Hampton's translation.


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