“Zoé”, the new work by Julie Timmerman, confronts a girl with her bipolar father: explosive

After two hits around geopolitical and ideological themes, “A Democrat” and “Bananas”, Julie Timmerman addresses a family experience disturbed by an illness.

France Télévisions – Editorial Culture


Reading time: 2 min

Mathieu Desfemmes, Anne Cressent, Alice Le Strat and Jean-Baptiste Verquin in "Zoe" by Julie Timmerman (2024).  (PASCAL GELY)

With a democratJulie Timmerman approached Edward Bernays, propaganda theorist and Bananas Peel the bunches of Central American bananas.

With ZoeThe author and director does not take the stage this time, but reveals a part of herself, evoking her upbringing and her evolution in a family whose bipolar father introduces alienation into the house.

Neither pathos nor didacticism

The only child of a couple of actors, Zoé sees days of joy and anger happen due to the bipolar disorder that affects her father. At 8, 10 and 40 years old, with the help of her friend Víctor, then a psychologist, Zoé tries to find her place between a father who is crazy, but who nourishes her with the culture she adores, and a mother overwhelmed by a responsibility that she struggles with. to cope with the situation. Until the day she Zoé decides that she will save her father.

Julie Timmerman’s precise, evocative and poetic language is always present in Zoe. If we did not expect it in this intimate record, its theme retains a political dimension by raising awareness about a pathology that we have been talking about for a short time. Without pathos or didacticism, the drama is there, but the author maintains her perspective, infusing a humor whose spirit is one of her constants in each of the pieces. The sense of rhythm is different, Zoe passing at dizzying speed, we would be asking for more.

The spark of words

In three acts, in a family kitchen, Zoe sees a mother and her daughter go from calm to storm, from love to anger, from compassion to disgust, according to the “vacillations” of their father. More than narrative, the three acts unfold like three paintings, represented in three periods, three stages of the disease. This evolution results in the narrative progression that Julie Timmerman knows how to use, both in writing and directing.

Furthermore, the play gains momentum like the father’s crisis and the words are important. All it takes is one to cause a spark, then combine it with another, like two flints, and then one more, to set the body on fire and set the scene on fire. Like when his father fell on the kitchen table, which became an abyss into which he fell and swallowed him. One of the stage ideas that Julie Timmerman is full of is her four actors, whose team spirit sets the stage on fire.

Julie Timmerman
Director: Julie Timmerman
With: Anne Cressent, Mathieu Desfemmes, Alice Le Strat and Jean-Baptiste Verquin
From January 5 to February 29, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 9:15 p.m.
Belleville Theater
16 Piver passage, 75011 Paris
Telephone: 01 48 06 72 34

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