A production by Compagnie l’Éternel Été and Lucernaire Diffusion co-presented with Alliance française de Toronto

Les Fourberies de Scapin

Duration

75 minutes

Creative Team

  • Text Molière
  • Director Emmanuel Besnault
  • Cast Emmanuel Besnault, Victor Duez, Benoit Gruel, Manuel Le Velly and Chloé Zufferey
  • Lighting director Didier Landès
  • Tour manager Catherine Hérengt
  • Lucernaire diffusion manager Benoit Lavigne
  • Production manager Mathieu Taillardas
  • Surtitles Natalie Feheregyhazi
  • Surtitles operations Jeff Soucy

Le Théâtre français de Toronto wishes to thank:

Partner
Sponsor
Foundation
Show Sponsor

L’Alliance Française de Toronto wishes to thank:

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Synopsis

Two friends, Octave and Léandre, have each married for love young women of unknown births and social classes. And this without the consent of their fathers! Scapin, a cunning and generous valet, returns to the stage to help youth and true love triumph.

In a frenzied rhythm, a troupe of five actors, musicians and singers stage one of Molière’s funniest plays. A classic comedy revisited in music in the spirit of La comedia dell’arte.

Notes from the Copresenters

What if we put aside the wigs, the period costumes, and the overused directorial tropes, as we have often seen in previous incarnations, in favour of a more stripped-down version that highlights the text and the actors’ solid acting? Les Fourberies de Scapin (Scapin The Schemer), a classic in Molière’s repertoire, is undoubtedly one of his most popular comedies. Here, in this production by the company L’Éternel Été, we are transported back in time, but with a nod to the present.

Karine Ricard was lucky enough to discover this show in Avignon in 2022, and was immediately charmed by Emmanuel Besnault’s ingenious staging, which pays homage to the spirit of “théâtre de tréteaux” (an improvised-style of street theatre tracing back to 17th century Paris), and by the actors’ exceptional mastery of physical acting. The show has been performed over 350 times in France and has been touring for several years. The commedia dell’arte-style acting, the evocative simplicity of the set design and costumes, and the effectiveness of the staging make this version of Scapin a moment of theatre for all ages, a whirlwind of twists and turns that is both comic and sometimes even touching.

We are delighted to present this show, a joint initiative between Théâtre français de Toronto and the Alliance Française de Toronto.

Karine Ricard and Pierre-Emmanuel Jacob

A Word from the Author

Emmanuel Besnault

After discovering the spirit of our ensemble in Il était une fois… le Petit Poucet, notably performed at Lucernaire in 2015, and then in Olivier Py’s La Vraie fiancée, Benoît Lavigne, director of Lucernaire, wanted to invite Compagnie L’Éternel Été to create a play by Molière. My immediate choice was Les Fourberies de Scapin, because I’d long sensed that it would fit in perfectly with the idea of ensemble theatre that we’re defending. Scapin! The most famous valet in the repertoire, the scene of the galley and the sack… But above all, a play perfect for an ensemble, a play about and for young people, even though it was written by a 49-year-old Molière at the time, who died two years later. Scapin it’s him, the eternally young ensemble leader, lovingly at the service of youth, resourceful, cunning, vindictive, never short of ideas but always one step ahead.

Emmanuel Besnault

Biographies

Emmanuel Besnault

Emmanuel Besnault

Director, Scapin

Trained at the Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique de Paris, he has performed in productions by Wajdi Mouawad (Littoral and Notre Innocence at La Colline) and Olivier Py (Le Cahier noir at Centquatre). At the age of 19, he founded L’Éternel Été and became associate artist of the Théâtre de Noisy-le-Grand, then of Montbrison, and currently of the City of Versailles. He has staged some twenty plays by authors such as Molière, Chekhov, Musset, Shakespeare and Camus. He has played the title role in Goldoni’s Harlequin valet de deux maîtres over 400 times, and in Molière’s Les Fourberies de Scapin over 200 times. He recently appeared at the Théâtre du Soleil in Le Grand jour, written and directed by Frédérique Voruz.

Victor Duez

Victor Duez

Role of Sylvestre

He trained at Les Enfants Terribles and graduated in 2018. His first professional experience was with Les âmes libres, directed by Véronique Boutonnet in Rouge. In 2019, he co-founded the Collectif Dixit to write La Moitié du ciel. In 2020, he meets the Minuit 44 company and joins the cast of Phèdre, in the role of Hippolyte, under the direction of Laurent Domingos. In 2021, he returned to Les âmes libres for an adaptation of Maupassant’s Une Vie, and joined L’Éternel Été with Les Fourberies de Scapin, Musset’s Fantasio and Labiche’s Un chapeau de paille d’Italie. He founded La Jungle in 2023, with whom he wrote and performed his first one-man show, Tout va bien.

Benoit Gruel

Benoit Gruel

Role of Géronte and Octave

He discovered theatre at the age of 13 thanks to an amateur ensemble that performed farces at village markets in the Charente region. As a teenager, he founded the Machine à Bulles company and created the Drôles de Mômes festival. He then trained at conservatories and private schools. Mainly an actor, he also writes and directs a number of shows, such as for the ensemble Scaramouche et compagnie, specializing in artistic fencing and stunts. He teaches circus, improvisation and body expression. With L’Éternel Été since 2011, he has performed in Le Petit Poucet, La Vraie Fiancée, Scapin, Ivanov, Fantasio… Since 2023, he has been performing La famille vient mangeant with compagnie Mmm.

Manuel Le Velly

Manuel Le Velly

Role of Argante and Léandre

Manuel Le Velly trained at the Jacques Thibault Conservatory in Bordeaux, then at the Charles Munch Conservatory in Paris. He joined Compagnie de l’Éternel Été in 2012, with whom he has worked regularly since, notably in Il était une fois… le Petit Poucet, La Vraie Fiancée, Les Fourberies de Scapin, Le Cercle de Craie, Le Capitaine fracasse and Fantasio. He performed in the play Le Chemin des Dames written and directed by Gilles Langlois with the Compagnie du Tricorne, in Scènes de chasse en Bavière, by Martin Sperr, Les Légendes de la Forêt Viennoise both directed by Juliette Duret at La Parole Errante and in La Carte du Temps by Naomi Wallace directed by Roland Timsit at Théâtre 13. Since 2020, he has been working with Compagnie La Gueule Ouverte, directed by Geoffrey Rouge-Carrassat, in Gilgamesh Variations.

In 2022, he joined Compagnie Acme for the show Quelque part dans l’ouest. He is also a musician, often composing for L’Éternel Été shows.

Chloé Zufferey

Chloé Zufferey

Role of Hyacinthe and Zerbinette

In 2015, Chloé joined the Enfants Terribles theatre school, where she studied for a year. In 2016, she joined the Conservatoire Régional de la Ville de Paris. She studied there for two years and received a Diplôme d’Études Théâtrales in June 2018. She joins the Etéya company and plays Blanc alongside Lionel Fournier, directed by Simon Labarrière. In September 2018, she enters the Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique de Paris, where she works with Ariane Mnouchkine, Louis Garrel, Valérie Dreville, Le Nouveau Théâtre Populaire… During her training, she sets up her company LA WESHE with Thomas Zuani and Camille Dordoigne. Under Camille Dordoigne’s direction, she performed the one-woman show De 10 à 13. Since the beginning of 2021, she has also been working on Je ne suis pas un héros, a project performed and directed by Thomas Zuani. In 2019, she will star in De son vivant by Emmanuelle Bercot, alongside Benoît Magimel. In June 2021, as part of her training, she performs Une jeunesse en été under the direction of fellow student Simon Roth, which will be revived in January 2023 at the MC93 in Bobigny and in February at the MC in Grenoble. She then joined the Nouvelle Hydre collective and played in Le Village, directed by Marc-Elie Piedagnel.

Didier Landes

Didier Landes

Lighting Control

Didier began his career in the performing arts as a musician in 1976, before moving into technical fields, particularly lighting, in 1978. Since then, he has held various positions: lighting designer, lighting manager, stage manager. Since 2003, he has also been a lighting trainer for various courses, in partnership with the Mission Départementale de la Culture de l’Aveyron. He has recently worked with the following companies: Divines Comédies, La Dive, Artizans, Les Flûtes Déconcertantes, Les Quatr’à Strophes…

About Lucernaire Diffusion

For several seasons now, Lucernaire Diffusion’s shows have been touring France and beyond, from Switzerland to Canada, Italy, Morocco and Romania to name but a few.

With some great adventures at the Festival d’Avignon, Lucernaire Diffusion (created in 2016), a subsidiary of Lucernaire directed since March 2024 by Maxence Gaillard, presents an average of twenty shows per season, (for all audiences and young audiences), Les Fourberies de Scapin, Arsène Lupin, Du bonheur de donner, Un Chapeau de paille d’Italie, La Cagnotte, Fantasio, Chaplin 1939, L’Affaire de la rue de Lourcine, La foire de Madrid, Le journal d’un fou, Le Revizor, Merteuil, Hansel et Gretel, Les Trois brigands, Le Chat botté

Artistic quality and genre diversity remain the watchwords of our distribution and production choices, orchestrated by Benoit Lavigne, who heads up all these activities, with Karine Letellier in charge of programming and Catherine Hérengt in charge of distribution.

In Images

Les Fourberies de Scapin Cie de lʼÉternel Été
Les Fourberies de Scapin Cie de lʼÉternel Été
Les Fourberies de Scapin Cie de lʼÉternel Été
Les Fourberies de Scapin Cie de lʼÉternel Été
Les Fourberies de Scapin Cie de lʼÉternel Été
Les Fourberies de Scapin Cie de lʼÉternel Été