“Good friends. A few beers. Lively conversation. No jobs, unemployment everywhere, the crisis dictates the headlines. The police maintain order on the streets. Young people swing between cynicism, desperation and radicalisation. From the joblessness to gangster life, via anarchism and terrorism, we learn about the chaotic path of a man who is tightly gripped by injustice and violence: François Koeningstein alias Ravachol,” writes Axel Cornil on his work on the French anarchist and bomber, who was executed in Montprison in 1892. With four actors who play 15 characters in 22 scenes, writer and director Cornil paints the portrait of the path to a revolution – unsentimentally, humanely, full of contradictions. Apart from Pierre Verplancken who plays Ravachol, all the others constantly change perspective as they change character. With precise portraits and great joy in performance, the actors draw an arc of both sympathy and enmity.
RAVACHOL premiered in Mons in 2019 and then toured to various festivals, including the Impatience Festival in Paris. Since the stage set didn’t survive the pause in performance due to the pandemic, the festival and the ensemble have decided together to bring the production to the table in Dresden: as a staged reading, but with the actors giving a full performance.
Axel Cornil, born in 1990, studied acting in Mons and scriptwriting at INSAS in Brussels. RAVACHOL is the second time he has directed his own play.