Driven by his passion for the great Jacques Brel, the director Jean-Pierre Armand delivers a magical and poetic “Brel standing”. To discover from September 2 to 4 in Saint-Pierre-des-Cuisines.
Cantor of portraits of beings burned by passion and commitment, Jean-Pierr e Armand dares to tackle a tribute to Jacques Brel. With fervor, admiration and great respect, in a touching and unique scenography.
For you Brel is “an immensity”, a monument …
In my time, with Ferré and Brassens, he was one of my idols. With them, he impacted all generations. Only those under 20 do not know them. He is famous especially among people of my age because he had his greatest successes in the 1960s. He left the scene really early and died at 49, he was only 10 years old. success but at the highest level.
To imitate Brel, to embody him is not conceivable for you, what bias did you use then?
I found, a bias, I had a state of grace in the night like that! (laughs) I wondered how to show this guy who deserves to be put back in the spotlight in front of everyone again so much he went so high and especially in his interpretations which were even stronger than the words he was using. He bared himself completely. So the idea was to use his friend Georges Pasquier dit Jojo, whom he met at the start of his career at Trois Baudets and who became his driver, his butler too. They made friends and never left each other playing 300 shows a year for ten years, it was huge!
How did you install your scenography?
I imagined a very simple fisherman’s hut, that of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin that he had built near Menton, then a large sail on which we will project the whole universe of Brel, his photos, on stage , in his private life, in his life. And we also did a capture of his many interviews on life, death, women and I imagined he was taking a piano next to the sail and tapping. Raphaël Breil, excellent pianist and singer, thus embodies Jojo who embraces his universe. We imagined some pianistic awkwardness to show that it was not his great official pianist Gérard Jouannest and we did not want to do a recital but a real tribute to Brel through his great friend Jojo whom no one knows moreover.
This tribute obviously goes through the songs …
Yes, 16 of his finest that Raphaël Breil sings wonderfully well and, with the help of videographer Bruno Wagner who reinvents images in his own way, we unfold the thread of his existence and this strong relationship between two friends with lots of gags. Through Jacques Brel, it is the remembrance of “Next”, “La Valse à mille temps”, “Madeleine”, “La chanson de Jacky”, “My childhood”, “Les Bourgeois”, “Amsterdam” , “See a friend cry” … through the prism of friendship. And we also evoke the highlights of his love story which was tumultuous.