Figure of the theater in the region, author and writer keen on history, Guy Vassal died Sunday at 81 years old. A tribute will be paid to him this Friday at Lattes, where he created the Jacques-Coeur theater.
He made a whole story out of popular theatre, and the reverse was also true with him: from the past, glorious or unknown, he made works. And this walking stick with the finish of caduceus, history and theater intertwined, he will never have let go during the six decades of his artistic and public path. Man of the theater, man of the theaters of the region, Guy Vassal died Sunday at the age of 81.
Child of Coufoullens, in the Aude, Guy Vassal was born in Toulouse on March 8, 1941. At the high school in Carcassonne, his teacher was René Nelli, who encouraged him to write theatre, which he was already passionate about: this would be the play The Time of the Troubadours which he will create in 1964 on the steps of the castle of his family birthplace. In the meantime, he studied under Charles Dullin, and joined Jean Vilar’s Théâtre National Populaire in Antigone in 1960.
Another decisive meeting will be a little later, Stellio Lorenzi who embarks on the last season of the program The Camera explores timedevoted to the Cathars, in 1966, then in the serial adventure Jacquou the crunchy three years later.
Asked by Pastor Monod to write the history of Aigues-Mortes, he created his first festival in the Gard city then another in Albi. During the same 1970s, he founded the company of the Théâtre populaire des Cévennes, a militant gesture for decentralization in rural areas. In 1980, he received the Georges Pitoeff prize from the Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers.
He directed the Carcassonne festival for a time before taking over in 1988 the direction of the regional theater Jacques-Coeur, in Lattes, where he staged his plays, hosted well-known figures and regional companies, and created the festival of artists five years later. Nights of Encivade.
If success is there, when Jacques Blanc is re-elected as President of the Region with votes from the National Front in 1998, some criticize him for not cutting ties. When the Region changed its face in 2004, he was ousted from the Lattois theatre, his festival dying out two years later.
He stumbles but does not fall: still leaning on the stick of his double passion, throws himself headlong into the writing of historical novels, inevitably: Compassinspired by Bathélémy de Lesseps and the La Pérouse expedition; Coup in Kercorbaround the episode of Chalabre under Napoleon III, or even Mam’zelle Désir, what the hellon the epic of the operetta…
And if he no longer held theater venues in the region, his plays written with a precise pen dipped in the ink of his heritage (like Harlequin feet in the water, Holà, hé, Sganarelle!, The trip to La Pérouse, Clean up for Dom Juan…) continued to be staged and performed there. Let’s bet that they will still be because what animated them always burns the boards of curiosity.