Radical theatre about desire by Vincent Macaigne

En manque

Vincent Macaigne, Théâtre de Vidy, Compagnie Friche 22.66

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Vincent Macaigne’s theatre is intense, brutal, and loving. After many ground breaking productions – Requiem 3 was performed at the Holland Festival in 2012 – he can no longer be considered an enfant terrible. Not that his work has become any less radical. His latest performance, En manque, is about people struggling with loneliness, love and despair. Four characters go in search of pure and radical love, fighting against the world and against life, but for desire.


Background information

Vincent Macaigne returns to the Holland Festival with En manque, a play about loneliness, depression and the pain of unrequited love. En manque centres on a woman who is wrestling with depression. After a childhood spent in poverty she married a 

rich man and used his immense fortune to found a prestigious art gallery in the valley in which she grew up. But she experiences great social and mental loneliness. This desperate person goes through life as if she is carrying her own dead body with her. Longing for pure and radical love, nothing less will satisfy her. Only her daughter can break through her depression after she has fought her own internal battle.

The extreme theatrical universe of Macaigne is intense, brutal and yet loving. Visual art, physical theatre, soundscapes and text combine in violence with an undertone of humour. Macaigne’s work is an effort to uncover the moral ambiguity of existence, often via a radical deconstruction of classical literature and theatrical texts. This is a method that he previously used in Idiot! (2009, a free interpretation of Dostoevsky’s The Idiot) and Au moins j’aurai laissé un beau cadavre (2011, a free interpretation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet). 

En manque offers no insights into the underlying psychological drama. It also offers no sociological explanation for the situation. With his four actors and 10 extras (consisting of actors, dancers and circus performers among others) the only thing he does show us is a convulsive effort to recapture the lust for life. 
As he writes: ‘The play is not concerned with reality but with our deepest-seated darkness and light. Our love and intimacy in the world. Our fury and anger about the future. Our guilt and the paths that have led us to where we are. Not in order to resolve the paradoxes or contradictions but to exceed our limitations.’ 

Macaigne made his debut at the Holland Festival in 2012 with Requiem 3: an aggressive and darkly humorous take on the feud between biblical brothers Cain and Abel. En manque is his most recent work. The play had its premiere on 13 December 2016 in the Théâtre de Vidy, Lausanne.



The French director, playwright and actor Vincent Macaigne (Paris, 1978) studied drama at the Conservatoire National Supérieur d’art Dramatique in Paris. He made his debut as a director with Friche 22.66 (2004) and in the same year also directed En manque.

In the energetic theatre of Macaigne, choreography, visual arts and dialogue come together to make a particularly powerful, sharp and devastating spectacle. As dramaturge Eric Vautrin writes: ‘the aggression and brutality in his work stems just as much from euphoria as anger, from love as despair, from tenderness as unrelenting rejection. He seeks no solutions, he looks for the vitality.’ In 2006 Macaigne wrote and directed Requiem ou introduction à une journée sans héroisme, another production that was rewritten and re-performed in improved versions a number of times. In 2009 he unveiled the first version of Idiot! – a radical interpretation of the novel The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky, which was reworked into Idiot! parce que nous a urions dû nous aimer in 2014.

Macaigne‘s plays have been seen in countries such as Brazil and Chile, among many others. He has also made a name for himself as a film director with Ce que restera de nous (2009) and Dom Juan (2015) – in conjunction with the Comédie-Française. He has appeared as a film actor in Tonnerre (2013) by Guillame Brac, Une histoire américaine (2015) by Armel Hostiou and La Loi de la jungle (2016) by Antoinin Peretjatko among others. In 2011 Macaigne appeared at the Festival D’Avignon with Au moins j’aurai laissé un beau cadavre, a free interpretation of Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Macaigne was a guest at the Holland Festival for the first time in 2012 with Requiem 3 (the third version of this piece).



text, direction, scenography
Vincent Macaigne
collaboration scenography
Julien Peissel
Jean Huleu
Lucie Basclet
Marianne Pierré & Jonathan Cesaroni
stage manager
Sébastien Mathé
Machteld Vis
assistant director
Salou Sadras
Ateliers du Théâtre de Vidy
administration Compagnie Friche 22.66
AlterMachine Camille Hakim Hashemi, Elisabeth Le Coënt
Thibaut Evrard, Liza Lapert, Clara Lama-Schmidt, Sofia Teillet
Gwen van Beersum, Berith Danse, Chuday Goncalves, Harry Kraaij, Marina Kopier, Laura Laman, Amarante Nat, Anne-Friné Steiger, Violeta Valatkaite, Hilde Valentijn - Keune, Alisse van de Ven
Ivanka Bluekens, Elea Bluekens
Théâtre de Vidy, Compagnie Friche 22.66
Théàtre de la Ville - Paris, La Vilette - Paris, Tandem Scène nationale, Holland Festival
with the support of
FranceCompagnie Friche 22.66 is supported by DGCA Ministry of Culture and Communication France as “national company*
with touring support of
Pro Helvetia, Swiss Arts Council, Institut Français

This performance was made possible with support by