Fashion for success? – About the play “Lost Illusions” based on Balzac, director. Divadlo Na záb-dan Jan Mikulášek

One of the most important conversations Lost illusions Honorius Balzac seems to be the story of the novel’s protagonist, the twenty-one-year-old poet Lucian Chardon vel de Rubempré, and the cunning and corrupt journalist Stefan Lousteau, who defends the former.

picture: mat. organizer

Although Chardon was only in Paris for a few days, he was abandoned by his lover, the wealthy Madame de Bargeton, and escaped the humiliation of the class that accompanied him, joining the uncompromising (though not smelly) artistic group Daniel d’Arthez’s Feast. she loses all the money she received from her mother, her sister Eva, and her husband (as well as her best friend David), who left her homeland in Angulem. The latter situation was especially sad for Chardon – the dream of becoming a writer and publishing his works was not possible without money. So he comes up with the idea of ​​becoming a journalist, and that’s why he comes to a famous restaurant and asks for help from Stefan Lousteau, an extremely eccentric person who does not have a good reputation in this matter. The conversation between them is long and full of different threads, but it must be admitted that a corrupt and immoral journalist will not beat his arm. The young and naive poet will learn what environment he aspires to and at what price he will pay to make his dreams come true (and we will).

Thus, Lousteau first deals with the fame that Chardonnay dreamed of: This fame, with great longing, jshe is almost always a crowned prostitute. Yes, for the lowly works of literature, she is like a poor girl frozen in a street corner; for secondary literaturej is a woman who came out of journalism brothels and was detainedj jand I pimple! For excellentjwinnerj literature is its own villa, tax-paying, bright, bold, politejShejgreat gentlemen, joinjShejthat he oppressed them, that he had a carriage and a phaeton, and that he could force his creditors to wait in the halljhours. Then, subconsciously feeling who his interlocutor is and what his ambitions are, he paints a psychological portrait of him, presents him as a provincial naivety, and comes to the capital to conquer the world thanks to his talent and hard work: Glory winners jest – for me today, as before for me – an angel with wings, (…), an angeljsomething mythologicalj abstractjand something poorj suburban girls (…); you are a bread with a bronze brain and a heart they areWarm experiences under the snow are rare in the lands where you are tied to our feet. They are rare and sparsely distributedj irritatejiaj kadzi, rare jhow many righteous lovers in the world of love, jhonest riches in the financial world, jas a pure man in trade. After these bitter words of Stefan Lousteau, full of harsh sarcasm, it is time to warn: the fever is always the same here, from the depths of the provincesjand the same, does not mean: continues to growaythe number of unseen ambitionsjithat spillsjraise your head and proudly make a fashion storm like Prince Turandot in “A Thousand and One Nights”j everyone wants to be Prince Calaf. But no one will solve itje riddles. Everyone is comingjmisfortunes, dziennik mud, the swamp of the bookstore. fruit, jaki collectsjThese poor aggressors are biographies, chronicles, gossip for the Yenniks, or books commissioned by cunning paper merchants who prefer the nonsense that has been circulating for two weeks.j sales. This is a warning that Lucian Chardonnau does not understand or does not want to understand, so the destiny written in these words becomes his destiny, and the story about him is one of the two main themes of Honorius Balzac’s three-part novel. : Two poets, A great man from the provinces of Paris and The suffering of the inventor.

picture: mat. organizer

We know the story of Prince Turandot mentioned here, but not thanks to him A thousand and one night tales, and Puccini’s unfinished opera seems to be a good literary context for the story of a young poet who has to sell his soul to the devil (in this case, to the disgusting and corrupt world of the Paris elite) in order to realize his dreams. from being an artist. Prince Calaf, mentioned by Lusto, confronts Prince Turandot, who guards the borders of his world with cruelty and jealousy because he is pure, because he wants to find the three riddles honestly and become a husband. He must really love her, because one mistake can cost him his life. In Puccini’s opera, everything ends successfully, because Calaf touches the prince’s heart and causes him to surrender to love. Everything could have gone happily had it not been for the fate of the slave Liu, who fell in love with Kalafa, who committed suicide in order not to betray his lover during the trial of the three riddles. I dare say that this death separated the lovers forever because they were like a painful fracture in their clasped hands.

In Balzac’s work, the poet Chardonnay, who is young and in love with literature and his twin fame, also guesses all the secrets of the cruel Parisian Turandot. In order to find himself in his kingdom, he must learn to lie, to corrupt, to be ugly and lowly. In general, as a tenor who sings the most famous aria, he takes this series of lessons from the magnificent world with flying colors. Turandot: Nessun dorma. However, he does not realize that all the worst instincts he has to awaken in order to be worthy of the love of the “prince” poison his soul and heart, so he slowly begins to slide towards what Louston predicted. the bottom of misery. He loses his vigilance as he tries to catch all the elders by the tail, and as a result nothing is left. No money, no friends, no fame, as a result of the duel, a bullet hit him in the neck. Because, as one literary critic (one of the few people who didn’t delete it) noted in an interview with Chardonnay: talent is a terrible disease. Every writer has a monster in his heart that eats him like a tapeworm in his gut as he develops his senses. Who will win against whom? Human disease – or human disease? You really have to be a great person to maintain a balance between genius and character. Talent grows, heart dries up. As long as he is not a giant, as long as he does not have the shoulders of Hercules, man remains either heartless or incompetent.. You are weak and fragile, you will surrender. So, finally, Chardon will have to flee Paris and return to Anguleme, relying on the good heart of his sister and brother-in-law, whom he spared during his time in Paris, squeezing his tail under his tail. Again, this would have been the case if it had not been for the tragic ending for Liu, the actress Coralia, who was truly loved by Chardonnay at the political safari altar still in the jungles of Paris. The girl sacrificed her life because she loved him and wanted to be happy with him, because she became an easy target for her boyfriend’s political rivals, so even though he did nothing bad to her personally, she still bears her actions. for his fate. In the third part of the novel, Chardon returns to Paris to start again, but if he succeeds there, he will leave. Lost illusions we will not learn.

Jan Mikulaszek mainly uses the second part in the adaptation of the novel, completes it with some fragments of the first and does not deal with the third at all, but this seems normal, because the Czech director is primarily interested in the Paris adventures of Lujan Chardonnay. . Thus, while the protagonist is still in Angulem, we follow him from the moment of his introduction to Madame de Bargeto, the benefactor and creator of the whole Paris journey. And an immediate surprise – Ms. Bargeton appears on the stage of the Zabradli Theater in two people; The idea, I must admit, is excellent. In Balzac’s novel, Mrs. Bargeton must leave Chardonnay after arriving in Paris for a noble lineage. He surrenders himself to his high-ranking cousin, the Marquis d’Espard, and after a while accepts the offer of Baron de Chatelet, who is madly behind him. In Mikulaszek’s work, Lujan Chardonnau is introduced to two versions of Mrs. De Bargeto – a man in love with her, an “Anglo-Saxon”, a real man and a Parisian Chateaule, devoid of feelings and calculations. Depending on the situation and the context, they will be exchanged in contact with both Lucia herself and the other protagonists of the play. Abandonment happens quickly enough, and we are passionate about the young poet’s adventures in Paris, where the second part of the novel ends. On stage, we will not see Luke’s family episodes at all, but the second main plot of the novel, the fate of Luke’s friend and brother-in-law, the printer David. Probably all because Jan Mikulaszek, while preparing a play in Prague, wanted the protagonist of his story to be not only a poor and ambitious province who came to the capital, but also the capital itself. It is a paradise for all desirable young people, but it eats them very quickly and efficiently at different levels of existence. There was very little to invent, because Balzac’s text was enough. Mikulášek seems to understand this very well, so the only thing he does in this situation is to cut everything accordingly, to present it in an attractive, modern form. It’s a bit grotesque and a bit serious, so the audience immediately understands this formula of the meeting. Perhaps it is because such an open distance prevents the spectator from recognizing the horrors he is looking at. But this is an outward defense, because it is not known how it is that ten or a few minutes after the performance you look at him as if he were his hero. Jana Koulukova’s scenery is extremely thought-provoking, everything takes place on a stage confined to high aquamarine curtains, behind which … there are more aquamarine curtains. Thus, in the airless, claustrophobic space of Balzac’s world, the actors are not only confined to the stage, but also encounter a similar “aquamarine wall” when trying to escape from it. So, there is no escape from this world, and even if there is, how many walls must be overcome in this maze first, God knows.

Jan Mikulášek gave a short performance that was very reminiscent of our modern reality, that anyone who has the experience to realize their minds, hearts and dreams, and who savagely collides with reality, will find himself. Lucian Chardon did not succeed, but the danger here is not the story itself, but the traces of the mechanisms that led to it. Perhaps such a lesson will be useful to us as long as we live and dream. When we dream, we try to realize our vision. Hopefully, it will not be at any cost and at the expense of others. That’s what Balzac and Jan Mikulasek say. Worth considering.

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