He said he was “overcome with emotion” to have been chosen by the Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (COJOP) to be the artistic director of the four opening and closing ceremonies of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games (July 26 to August 11) and the Paralympic Games (August 28 to September 8). The 40-year-old actor and director Thomas Jolly, who Le Monde spoke to by phone in the middle of rehearsals for the revival of the rock opera Starmania, which will be presented from November at La Seine Musicale in Boulogne-Billancourt in Paris’s western suburbs, welcomes this mission with “joy and pride.” He was contacted in spring by the committee, which had created a shortlist of a dozen people from the artistic community.
Known for his marathon shows (24 hours for the Shakespearean tetralogy presented this year at Le Quai in Angers in western France) that leave the spectator exhausted but transported by the creativity of his direction, Jolly has been given a stage as big as his imagination, at the heart of Paris, with the Seine as a common thread.
It will be watched by an audience of several billion people around the world, and beyond that the 500,000 or so who will be able to watch the festivities from the banks of the river. “There is, of course, pressure, but the joy calms my fears. I do theater with the goal of reaching as many people as possible. This time it will be the whole world!” he said, also proud to be entrusted with the responsibility 100 years after Paris’s previous Olympic Games in 1924. In 1992, at the time of the Albertville Olympic Winter Games, it was the choreographer Philippe Decouflé who directed the opening ceremony.
‘He knows how to break norms’
The size of the “stage” that he will have to bring to life does not scare him either. The prospect of using the river as a stage even seems to be “a beautiful poetic opportunity” to him. “And the opportunity to follow the course of Paris’s history by following the course of the Seine, which is lined with monuments. It’s an ambitious plan. It’s the first time that the ceremonies will not take place in a stadium.”
At a time when the topic of sustainability and energy sufficiency is everywhere, how will he reconcile it with the flamboyance that characterizes his work? “We can be sustainable and spectacular. But that doesn’t mean we’ll end up with cardboard cut-out sets,” said Mr. Jolly, who has always tried to use recycled sets in his productions, which border between theater, cinema and rock opera.
You have 17.3% of this article left to read. The rest is for subscribers only.
Read the full article here