« The Just Assassins », directed by Régis Florès (English)

During an era of oppression, what would you do for a greater good? In this case, it is all about overthrow a tyrant to free a people, the Russian one. The play opens with the objective set by Russian Socialist- Revolutionaries, assassinate the Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovitch with a bomb, and the narrative is characterized by Machiavel’s thought in The Prince: does the end justify the means? From the ashes of a decadent era and of the dead corpse of the tyrant, a new society is supposed to rise. Revolution is thus supposed to be a game of power, considering the bomb is not a damp squib.
In this particular context of a revolution, the struggle for freedom becomes the very source of all visceral feelings such as love and hatred, suspicion and fear. But an unfortunate weakness from this play is the lack of peps from the actors: some dialogues are inaudible, and others fail to move the audience because of a lack of expressivity. But the text itself is also responsible of the problems we encounter when seeing this play, written by Albert Camus, failing to restitute the tragic intensity of the context : the year was 1905 and dark clouds were brewing over Russia, Revolution was the new hope for a better society. Killing one in order to save many is one of the tough decisions that the Socialist group has to make a decision which is supposed to unfold the humanity of the characters and of their ideals. What a shame that what we have is an approximate love story and a simplistic portrait of a Socialist group, for eventually a pseudo-melodramatic play. One can say that we encounter the perpetual platitudes, about who is a terrorist, who is the savior of a nation, and about how thin the line is between the two. Nevertheless it remains interesting.
Following a typical TV series pattern which is due to the text, this play fails to appeal to a spectator according to whom theatre should be the very source of politics and all desire. The drama unfolds in a simplistic narrative, each character can bring destruction down upon the other and everyone knows that. An insatiable thirst for conflict lies in Stepan, wondering how many bombs would be necessary to destroy Moscow, and fortunately, it does manage to strike the audience. But maybe the scene that may appeal most to the spectator, thanks to an ingenious stage and the captivating music of a violoncellist, is the one when Kaliayev is arrested for the assassination of the Grand Duke and is put to jail- certainly the climax of the play.
Unfortunately, the feeling of an approximate text is what will stay with the longest, and it is what we will remember in the end. For the spectator, there has never been any bombing, any revolution. It was just magic…or what we precisely called a damp squib.

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