France and the world celebrate 400 years of Molière

Published on : 15/01/2022 – 14:10

Theater plays, exhibitions, conferences… This year 2022 will be punctuated by tributes to Molière, whose 400th anniversary France is celebrating.

The anniversary year of Molière starts on Saturday January 15 in France, but also in other countries, to celebrate the 400 years of the best known and most popular of French playwrights.

The celebrations will take place in particular in the high places which marked his career as a troupe director and playwright, but especially in his “house”, the Comédie-Française, born seven years after his death in the continuity of his troupe.

Baptized on January 15, 1622, Molière, whose real name is Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, is such an emblematic author that actor Francis Huster has been fighting for years to get him into the Pantheon.

An idea recently defended by LR presidential candidate Valérie Pécresse, who described the 17th century playwright as “the greatest genius of French theater”. But the Élysée has ruled out such a possibility, estimating in a press release sent to AFP that all the pantheonized figures “are after the Enlightenment and the Revolution”.

The Comédie-Française at the heart of the festivities

The Comédie-Française will play plays by Molières exclusively until July, starting on Saturday with “Tartuffe or the Hypocrite”, the original and censored version of the famous play on the false devotee.

Like every January 15, a tribute will be paid to Molière at the Comédie-Française: a bust of the playwright is solemnly placed on stage, the entire troupe gathered salutes him and everyone recites a line from his plays.

This ceremony, preceded by Tartuffe, will be broadcast live in cinemas, where “Le Malade imaginaire”, “L’Avare” and “Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme” will be broadcast in the coming months.

International tributes

At Versailles, where Molière had King Louis XIV as a protector and in front of whom he created some of his emblematic pieces, several will be repeated in their original form: the “comedies-ballets”, created in complicity with the composer Lully.

In the city, which organizes “Le Mois Molière” every summer, a statue signed by the artist Xavier Veilhan will be erected in May and an exhibition, “Molière, the factory of national glory” will open its doors from Saturday.

Another statue will be unveiled on Saturday, this time in Pézenas (Hérault) between Béziers and Montpellier, where Molière stayed several times at the start of his career. The historic center will be punctuated by excerpts from his comedies or evocations of his life and a Molière stamp will be on sale in preview.

Many conferences, activities and celebrations will be dedicated to him in France and around the world, including the American Yale University, the Università degli Studi di Torino (Turin), or Switzerland and Belgium.

With AFP

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