BirthParis, France (1946)
French writer and dramatist. After having taught philosophy for ten years, Gérard Lépinois collaborated on several magazines – L’Art du Théâtre, Théâtre/Public – and wrote for the stage, with the stated desire to rid the word of its intended meaning and to give birth to “a meaning that may gain advantage by not being entirely expressible and told in one single way”. He developed his viewpoint in 1992 in an essay L’Action d’Espace (Space as Action), where he denied that “the staging is writing in space, forcing it instead to create its own space”. He works intimately with the artists who produce his texts: many stage directors (Farid Paya, Claude Bernhardt, Moustapha Aouar, Yves Marc from the Théâtre du Mouvement, Michel Dezoteux in Brussels), puppeteers (Dominique Houdart, Philippe Casidanus, Francis Jolit), and choreographers (Brigitte Dumey).
Gérard Lépinois conducts workshops in dramatic writing in secondary schools, in universities (Paris VIII-Saint-Denis and Paris X-Nanterre), in the Institut International de la Marionnette (IIM; International Institute of Puppetry), Charleville-Mézières, and in the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Techniques du Théâtre. “A man of many languages and varied states of being”, he publishes theoretical writings (L’Action d’Espace, 1992) and stories: Pas la Mort (Not Death, 1995). Un (One, 1999), Il faut que la Neige fonde ou L’École Imprévue (The Snow Must Melt, or the Unexpected School, 2003).
At the end of the 1970s, he encountered Dominique Houdart and Jeanne Heuclin (from the Houdart-Heuclin company), and the meeting led to a period of common and prolonged research on the relationships between text, voice, and form. In addition to Le Grain de sel et le Grain de sable (The Grain of Salt and the Grain of Sand) and La Petite Physique des quatre éléments (The Abridged Physics of the Four Elements, 1985) – short philosophical poems recited by a manipulator with sand, fire, water, a few little objects and pieces of cloth – this fruitful collaboration resulted in the birth of Padox, a character invented by Gérard Lépinois, drawn and realized by the scenographer Alain Roussel. Behind his strange, tender and surprised expression, Padox is the archetype of modern man. Having started with small puppets (La Nuit et ses Épingles (The Night and its Pins, 1981); La Deuxième Nuit (The Second Night, 1986), Padox took on human dimensions, multiplied (La Troisième Nuit de Padox, 1995; Padox au Parfum, 1997; Padox Ca fé-Concert, 1998), took to the street (Padox Parade, 1992), entered the daily life of working-class neighbourhoods (Padox dans la Cité, 1995), always astonishing his contemporaries. After La Comédie de l’Écho (2002), inspired by a folk tale, warning young audiences against war and intolerance, Gérard Lépinois wrote a Docteur Faust (2005) for the puppets of Francis Jolit.