lundi 25 février 2013

A tort et à raison


Théâtre Rive Gauche
6, rue de la Gaîté
75014 Paris
Tel : 01 43 35 32 31
Métro : Edgar Quinet / Gaîté

Une pièce de Ronald Harwood
Traduite par Dominique Hollier
Mise en scène par Odile Roire
Décors de Stéphanie Jarre
Lumières de Jérôme Almeras
Costumes de Sylvie Pensa
Avec Jean-Pol Dubois (Wilhelm Furtwängler), Francis Lombrail (Steve Arnold), Thomas Cousseau (Helmut Rode), Odile Roire (Tamara Sachs), Guillaume Bienvenu (David Wills), Jeanne Cremer (Emmi Straube)

L’histoire : Berlin, février 1946. En zone américaine, le commandant Steve Arnold attend Wilhelm Furtwängler, le chef d’orchestre favori d’Hitler. Il est chargé de l’interroger. Il a « la question » à laquelle Furtwängler n’a jamais su répondre clairement. Malgré tous les témoignages qui se succèdent et qui innocentent le grand artiste, le commandant Arnold est bien décidé à mettre à jour sa culpabilité, guidé par une voix plus forte que les ordres qu’il reçoit…

Mon avis : Une grande partie de l’œuvre de Ronald Harwood a été consacrée à deux de ses thèmes favoris, la musique et la Seconde guerre mondiale. Très souvent d’ailleurs, il traite du Nazisme à travers l’expérience vécue par des musiciens. C’est ainsi le cas pour Le Pianiste, dont il a écrit le scénario, et pour ses deux pièces de théâtre, Collaboration, qui met en scène le compositeur Richard Strauss, et A tort et à raison, qui traite du procès en dénazification de Wilhelm Furtwängler, un des plus grands chefs d’orchestre allemands de tous les temps. Dans ces deux derniers cas, le dramaturge s’interroge sur le degré d’implication de ces deux musiciens dans le régime nazi. Etaient-ils sympathisants, étaient-ils manipulés, ou bien se sentaient-ils au-delà de toute responsabilité en raison de leur statut d’artiste reconnu et adulé.

A tort et à raison est un affrontement idéologique entre un officier américain, Steve Arnold, et le chef d’orchestre préféré d’Hitler, Wilhelm Furtwängler, deux hommes que tout oppose. Le premier est un militaire avec tout ce que cela implique de rugosité, de brutalité, de grossièreté, mais aussi de sens du devoir et d’un désir obsessionnel de vérité. Sous des apparences frustes et un comportement abrupt, Steve Arnold est un homme intelligent. Il est d’évidence parfaitement rompu à l’exercice de l’interrogatoire. Le problème, c’est qu’il s’est fait SON idée et qu’il va tenter de la rendre avérée avec un entêtement de tous les instants. Face à lui, se trouve un homme qui appartient à un monde totalement inconnu de lui et qui ne l’intéresse pas. Visiblement, la musique classique n’est pas sa tasse de thé.
Wilhelm Furtwängler est en effet un homme cultivé, racé, doux mais pas malléable. Star dans son pays, tout entier voué à son métier-passion, il est convaincu, par l’admiration qu’il suscite et les honneurs qui lui sont rendus, d’avoir acquis le statut d’intouchable. Il s’estime au-dessus de la mêlée.

L’opposition entre ces deux hommes est intense, féroce. Les attaques de Steve Arnold sont violentes, parfois basses, toutes entières destinées à obtenir un aveu : oui, j’ai adhéré au parti, oui j’avais de la sympathie pour Hitler… La défense de Wilhelm Furwängler est à l’aune de cette agressivité. Il s’indigne, s’insurge, argumente. Il se défend comme un beau diable, tentant désespérément d’expliquer sa position.
Le talent de l’auteur, c’est de nous laisser le choix du verdict. Le militaire et le musicien sont aussi convaincants l’un que l’autre. Chacun a sa vérité. A nous de nous faire la notre en notre intime conviction.

Avec un sujet aussi profond, cette pièce nous offre évidemment deux formidables numéros d’acteurs. Francis Lombrail, dans le rôle de Steve Arnold, est l’archétype du GI. Il a un physique et une gueule d’acteur américain. Il me faisait penser parfois à James Caan. Malgré son comportement abrupt, ce n’est pas un homme tout d’une pièce. On ne le découvre qu’aux trois-quarts de la pièce quand, soudain, l’armure se fendille laissant apparaître une révolte et une souffrance qui bouleversent l’opinion que l’on pouvait avoir de lui. L’homme a un cœur. Il ne pourrait pas supporter de laisser en liberté un homme qui aurait fraternisé avec un régime responsable du pire holocauste de l’histoire de l’Humanité… Mais avant d’en venir là, Francis Lombrail nous fait souvent sourire et même rire avec son langage imagé de soldat, ses réflexions à l’emporte-pièce et son premier degré.

Jean-Pol Dubois est carrément impressionnant. Il est vibrant, à vif. Il faut voir comme il réagit aux accusations. Il semble touché, mais il n’est jamais coulé. Il remonte régulièrement à la surface pour fournir des arguments et trouver des explications à son attitude. Il est tout aussi crédible que son adversaire.

Autour d’eux, voué à la portion congrue, il est difficile d’exister. Pourtant Jeanne Cremer, dans le rôle de la scripte Emmi Straube, Guillaume Bienvenu, dans celui de l’assesseur David Wills et Thomas Cousseau dans celui du second violon Helmut Rode, ont ça et là l’occasion de faire valoir un bien joli talent. Guillaume Bienvenu a un joli personnage. On sent en lui un être épris de justice, de tolérance. Il a du mérite à ne pas cacher son admiration pour cet artiste qu’est Wilhelm Furtwängler face à son supérieur hiérarchique et à rester impassible devant ses intimidations. Et il n’a pas peur de lui tenir tête... Thomas Cousseau nous offre en une scène une grande dimension émotionnelle. C’est sans doute le personnage le plus proche de nous. C’est un humble, un frustré. Il a peur pour son job et pour sa vie s’il ne rentre pas dans le moule du Nazisme. Les choix qu’ils faits sont visiblement contraints et forcés. Je pense que la majorité des gens auraient agi comme lui… Quant à Jeanne Cremer, elle apporte la seule note de féminité dans ces affrontements virils. Elle est prise ne tenaille entre la brutalité de l’officier et la sensibilité du musicien. Elle estime les deux hommes et les comprend.

Basée sur des faits historiques réels, A tort et à raison est une pièce forte en ce sens qu’elle fait appel à notre conscience et à notre discernement. Nous pouvons sans difficulté nous mettre dans la peau et de Steve Arnold et de Wilhelm Furtwängler. Comme nous pouvons tout autant nous approprier les personnages de David Wills, d’Helmut Rode et d’Emmi Straube.

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