The French New Wave on stage: 3 by Rivette in L Magazine

The French New Wave on stage: 3 by Rivette in L Magazine

In the 60s, Jacques Rivette was one of the French New Wave’s most demanding directors, regularly producing lengthy films that stretched the attention spans of his audience. Stage director Doris Mirescu is using three of his movies, L’Amour fou (1969), Out 1 (1971) and Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974), as the bases for a yearlong multimedia theater event entitled 3 by Rivette—three plays that the troupe Dangerous Ground will perform at the Brick Theatre, starting with L’Amour fou (through March 10). “For me, all three films are linked in mysterious ways," Mirescu says. “They have common themes: theater, literature, love, time, revolution, resistance, freedom."

Last July, in a Bushwick storefront called Scapegrace, Mirescu did her first version of Celine and Julie called But the Next Morning. “I used the entire house, the garden, the basement, the upstairs rooms, the bathrooms and also the street," Mirescu says. “This allowed us to break away completely from the fourth wall and create an environment that questioned the rules of storytelling." Mirescu sought to push environmental theater to its limits. “It was an immersive experience and also a very intimate one," she says. “The proximity between the actors and the audience was so moving. There were three cameramen following the actors, allowing for different perspectives to be seen at the same time."

Mirescu will not use footage from Rivette’s films in these performances, and the plays will be performed in English. “I am using the scripts, with a few changes but almost no cuts at all," she says. “What is interesting to me is to have a dialogue with the original film, but I am not making a remake of the original piece. Revelation occurs in the fragmentation of the original, when it is pushed to the breaking point and the varnish disappears." She is not interested in what we think of as traditional multimedia theater. “Far too often, multimedia theater means projecting images that illustrate and therefore are redundant and therefore lack significance," Mirescu says. “Making multimedia theater means using media and images in order to multiply the levels of entry into the real. It means multiplying reality itself in order to see it in motion, in multiple places at the same time. It means playing with time, allowing time to expand."

Mirescu is particularly inspired by Rivette’s innovations with running times—the original Out 1 is more than 12 hours long. “The work is not and never will be a finished product, a dead object," Mirescu says. “Rivette is an inventor, a risk taker, always looking to endanger the form." Each performance will be filmed as it’s happening. “In our case, reality is the stage event, which becomes film," Mirescu says. “None of it is prerecorded or in that sense controlled. All of it is vulnerable, because it is open to the reality of what happens on stage. Open to mistakes also, and therefore to change."