While setting up Orpheus Glance we read Splendid’s as a contribution, a further suggestion… a strange French noir of filmic character, somewhat American style with regulation gangsters and sweaty tuxedos. A cinematographic cliché that fitted well into the dramaturgical texture of a show which ironically insisted precisely on clichés.
We liked the accuracy of the characters, their strange poetic and cutting language, the elegance of the dialogues, almost set to music, which made the whole work altogether new. We were struck by how Jean (Genet) / Johnny had portrayed himself within the gang, the Rafale, with the same lightness he advised for putting on this play in which the actors “…. are never without their machineguns, even when dancing, and never touch one another …..”
We then laid the text aside – it had always seemed to us much closer to a cinema setting – with the intention of considering it in its entirety in the future and with the posthumous image of dancing actors armed with mitraillettes in a sort of unnerving “Betrayals Waltz”. In effect the theme of Betrayal, Transvestism and the inexorable necessity of death, so obsessive in Genet, had already surfaced as premonitory signs in this 1948 work (and had a strong influence on our Orpheus).
But it was almost two years later, during dogged research for a kind of stylised hyperrealism which led us to the complex “Rooms” project, that Splendid’sresurfaced in a new light.
We wanted an event to counterbalance the forced artificiality of “Twin Rooms”, within which we interweave misleading stories, using some noirtechniques as well as those of certain experimental films.
One effect was the thought of setting a “Rooms” event in a real hotel, for 15/20 spectatorsIt had always seemed to us a little forced to put this show on a stage since it is a pièce created to be drowned in the luxury and squandering of a Grand Hotel, the one possible scenario for the dynamics of struggle and death that govern it. The public will be “obliged” to follow – almost as if they were hostages of the Rafale – the movements of the actors, stretching out on the sofas and fitted carpeting of the “Splendid” Hotel.
Furthermore, “Genet couldn’t bear to live in his own house or a furnished flat, and right up to his death he preferred hotel rooms.”
This impossibility of finding a destination, a bond, a fixed abode would have made Genet the ideal occupant of our Room, and perhaps his ironic glance falls on us now and then, just as in this pièce, “…in conformity with the anarchy on which the impeccable making of Splendid’s turns,….Genet is laughing like a great conjuror.” (parts in italics are from Franco Quadri’s preface)