“The possessed of Illfurth”: theater is witchcraft – Toutlaculture

From April 12 to 23, 2022, the Monfort hosts the show in its Cabin The Possessed of Illfurth from Munstrum Theater (Lionel Lingelser). A theatrical feat carried by a single actor on stage, who summons the demons of a fictional autobiography to better exorcise them. A tour de force, an incandescent jewel, a masterful lesson, a vital jolt – it’s all that and maybe even a little more.

On the bare stage we will come across fictitious biographical elements, the enuresis of a fragile child, a naturopathic mother, the comrades of a basketball club, a manipulative director who considers that boredom, “it’s boring ”…

On the bare stage we will come across demons in a nightclub, two possessed children, the Duendeand the Blessed Virgin so stoned she doesn’t know where she parked her dragon – and how to blame her, since it’s Saturday night.

Starting from the real, mixing it with the symbolic with a lot of freedom, giving free rein to the language, mixing the harshest harshness with a thousand strokes of humor, always keeping a clear and straight path in the middle of all this mess: such would have been could have been the writing bet of Lionel Lingelser – co-founder of the Munstrum theater – and his accomplice author Yann Verburgh, who chiselled a text for him to his (un)measurement. A difficult bet. But if there has been a bet, it is a bet that has been won.

The anchoring is biographical. Lionel Lingelser is indeed Alsatian, he grew up in Illfurth, he was immersed very young in the incredible story of these two young children, Joseph and Thiébaut Bruner, the last possessed officially exorcised by the Church in Alsace in the 19th century, and his grandfather’s house was indeed the very one where the drama of these two children had been played out. Lionel Lingelser did indeed grow up there, plunged his roots into this soil, to finally reveal himself in the profession of actor.

The rest is probably largely made up or misrepresented. From this basic material, which already makes a big disconcerting gap between the most trivial reality and a fantasy rooted in popular beliefs and Catholic mysticism, the two friends manage to draw a hallucinated, abundant and yet coherent story, which takes a hundred detours to always return to strike at the same place, that of possession, of what happens when one’s body is no longer one’s own. Demonic possession therefore, put into abyss with this form of possession of the actor who abandons himself to the character, also confronted with this extreme form of possession which happens when a human being arrogates to himself the right to dispose of the body of another without his consent.

The gallery of characters summoned around Helios, the alter ego of Lionel Lingelser, like him born in Illfurth, like him who became an actor, is colorful, and often yields to caricature to access a grotesque dimension particularly well handled, which draws more than a burst of laughter from the spectators: the exorcist priest, the neo-hippie mother, the director imbued with himself who surrounds himself with nebulous quotations from Garcia Lorca and Artaud… He is not little more than the character of Bastien, the aggressor of the young Helios, who is portrayed with a subtlety that is as constant as it is welcome.

This extreme text, torn between laughter and tears, perched somewhere between the stage and hell, is a gift made to a very talented artist: Lionel Lingelser carries it alone, from start to finish, in the first person, s erasing behind Helios, carnival from one character to another with confusing speed. Rarely has lying-truth been brought to such an incandescent point in the theatre: the boundaries are blurred, person and character merge, risk-taking is very real at the same time as the storm of contradictory emotions that shakes the audience. Goldsmith of micro-indications, Lionel Lingelser portrays his characters with a nothing, an attitude and an inflection of the voice, he makes whole speeches hold in a tiny gesture, a movement of the wrist is enough for him to draw a laugh or a sigh from the public. conquered. He’s a marathon runner, he’s a magician, and the whole show is nothing but a great feat in which his mastery of his art shines – at the same time as a sometimes somewhat excessive side is revealed!

All this, this gallery of characters larger than life, these settings as varied as a theater in Geneva and a nightclub in Hell, The Possessed of Illfurth manages to summon him on stage without the aid of any artifice other than light – the stage is bare, there is so to speak no costume apart from a cape quickly removed and a crown quickly put on, no accessories apart from a jacket and a chair. The Munstrum Théâtre, usually rather baroque, strips itself of its artifices and uses the ultimate power of theatre, the power of the imagination. It’s all in nothing, you just have to want it. But you still need power, and the illusion is only due to the talent, the commitment, the unfailing strength of conviction of a very talented actor, who does not count his efforts.

The Possessed of Illfurthit is a masterful reminder of what theater can be and what theater can do.

It’s a hell of a trip, which doesn’t shrink from any excess to make its point tangible.

It’s a chilling reminder that demons are among us.

It is the luminous affirmation of the possibility of surpassing and inventing oneself.

It is a cry of love to the theater and to its public.

To discover until April 23 at the Monfort in Paris.


Direction and interpretation Lionel Lingelser
Text Yann Verburgh in collaboration with Lionel Lingelser
Artistic collaboration Louis Arene
Lighting design Victor Arancio
Sound design Claudius Pan
Régie Ludovic Enderlen
Administration, production Clémence Huckel (Les Indépendances)
Diffusion Florence Bud
Press Murielle Richard
Visual (c) Jean-Louis Fernandez

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“The possessed of Illfurth”: theater is witchcraft – Toutlaculture

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