The detonating “Silence” of Falk Richter

Posted Oct 24, 2022, 4:00 PM

There is good silence and bad silence. The good silence of the forests, of meditation; the bad silence of denial, of buried violence… the silence that one imposes on others to keep one’s power of domination. It is the latter that Falk Richter summons in “The Silence”, created in Strasbourg and today on the bill at the MC93. In this text on edge, in the form of autofiction, he confronts the traumas of his youth with the anxieties of an anxiety-provoking present: crisis of democratic values, climate crisis, return of reactionary ideologies.

Falk Richter talks about his chaotic discovery of homosexuality. From his painful “coming out” at 14, faced with edgy parents who spy on him – an abusive father who hits him, a mother and a sister who don’t say a word. It evokes the drama of a family united only by silence and pretense. The German playwright gives himself up entirely with a formidable avatar as his only filter: his accomplice Stanislas Nordey, alone on stage. We may be used to the intense and distanced acting of the actor and director, we are once again amazed by the clarity and generosity of his interpretation: for nearly two hours, Falk is Stan and Stan is Falk, madly, until you lose your voice.


The actor steps aside several times to make way for an exchange between the German and his mother Doris filmed two and a half years after the death of the father. A mind-blowing testimony to blurred tenderness, broken by maternal denial. Falk/Stan sheds light on the crazy reproduction mechanism of family violence that leads parents traumatized, in this case by the war, to transmit their neuroses to their children. More generally, he rebels against the homophobia he has experienced in his flesh, against a toxic virility which persists, even increases, throughout the world. Richter’s writing is slender, striking. The boiling flow of Nordey mixes with the hits of the 1980s.

At the end, the action focuses on the day of the father’s death, this parent who, until his last breath, will not be able to break the wall of silence and reach out to his son. Richter’s speech speeds up, loses some of its percussion. The phone calls to his agent and his companion, his rant about the state of the planet seem more conventional. But the emotion comes back in force when he speaks to his love of youth, now married (to a woman) and father of a family. The invocation moves in a heroic attempt to reverse time, to reinvent a story, an “autofiction” where love would be king and queen, where love would simply be.

The Silence


by Falk Richter

In Bobigny, MC93,

until November 6.

Then tour in 2023 (MC2 Grenoble, Maison de la culture d’Amiens)

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The detonating “Silence” of Falk Richter

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