La guerre des pauvres

First showing 17 & 18 March 2021

Ménagerie de Verre, Paris, as part of the Etrange Cargo Festival

"The story is Philomèle, and they say she was raped, and they cut out her tongue, and she whistles at night in the woods."

La guerre des pauvres (The War of the Poor) by Éric Vuillard is a feverish account of the revolt of the German peasantry between 1524 and 1526: a frantic tale of discontent, anger, radicalisation and a bloody march to the abyss.

I asked actor Laurent Poitrenaux to deliver this dazzling text, which condenses the breath of an epic into about sixty pages. His presence alone brings the text to life through the body. From then on, within the context of Vuillard's implicit writing, which, without naming anything, crosses the layers of time to engage with the present, there is a panoramic stage set, with Yves Godin's luminous architecture in dialogue with Denis Mariotte's organic installation, the soundscapes of Villeneuve and Morando and the anachronistic incarnations of Martin Gìl and Éric Windmi Nebie.

If an uprising is an inevitably fleeting flare-up, the eruption of a form destined to unravel and give way to gravity, it is nonetheless the vital impetus necessary for all movement.

Olivia Grandville


Press coverage

"Les luttes économiques et sociales forment une longue guerre des pauvres, de fait jamais gagnée et en fait jamais perdue, qui se prolonge jusqu’à aujourd’hui.", Ludmila Malinovsky, I/O Gazette

"« La guerre des pauvres », Olivia Grandville fait la révolution à La Ménagerie de Verre", Amélie Blaustein Niddam, Toute la Culture


©Laurent Philippe


Text: La guerre des pauvres by Éric Vuillard (2019, Actes Sud)
Conception and adaptation: Olivia Grandville
Reading: Laurent Poitrenaux
Music: Benoît de Villeneuve and Benjamin Morando
Dancers: Martin Gìl, Éric Windmi Nebie
Stage set-up: Denis Mariotte
Lighting: Yves Godin
Artistic collaboration: Jonathan Kingsley Seilman and Marie Orts.
Stage management: Jeff Yvenou


Production: Mille Plateaux, CCN La Rochelle

Co-production / support: La Ménagerie de Verre, Paris ; Le lieu unique, Nantes centre for contemporary culture ; Chorège, CDCN de Falaise ; le 783, Nantes.
With support from the Loire-Atlantique Department and the Pays de la Loire Region.