Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian

“Theatre is not a natural space. By means of theatre we constantly seek the deepest truth. I love people more than actors. Theatre is magic and represents truth”.

These are the intense and poignant words of Hervé Ducroux. Born and raised in France, he’s always been a symbol of Castellina in Chianti. With his theatrical plays, he has brought new life into the soul of this Chianti town.

“Far from the fake, the appearance, the stereotypes of our theatre, so sterile and so similar to television”. For Hervé theatre needs to be real.

Charismatic and always full of energy, he got into theatre from a very early age.

“I fell in love with the theatre when I was still in school – he tells us – 10% of the time spent at school must be invested in other activities. I will never forget those moments. I had the honour of meeting an extraordinary person, who was teaching Greek and Latin in my school. He loved theatre more than himself. He was staging Pirandello, which no one in France knew. He was extremely charming, very cultured. This encounter was a defining moment for me”.

“An actor’s life is like a cat’s,” he explains. “He sleeps, sleeps and then reacts. Everything happens in the moment. It’s not an easy life. There are many actors in the world, and even those who work a lot, still don’t work enough. It’s hard when you don’t have projects “.

“Having a synthetic mind – continues Hervé – I decided to devote myself to directing. One must never explain the meaning of a thing to an actor. You must always be wary of saying what to do to actors”.

After years spent working in a “Molière company” in Paris, in 1984 Hervé arrives in Rome: “I was a very curious and very active young man. I loved comedy with real passion ” he continues. “A turning point for my career was the encounter with Angelo Corti. He reinvented the Italian commedia dell’arte” he explains. “In Rome, I had the honour of meeting many real and gifted stars, like Anna Franchetti and Paola Borboni“.

“Only after meeting Gaia Bastreghi – continues Hervé – I started to put on stage shows that aimed to give back to people their real-life stories. This is the value of popular theatre, very true and always very intense. It’s a form of representation that will never die, because masks have always existed. Men need to change their skin. Theatre also means giving people back the pleasure of being”.

“At the end of the day this is exactly what I did in Castellina. We have staged two plays: “Stranieri” and “Pia”. These are simply stories of men. Men and women who come together to tell us about their lives and experiences, to recognize one another and meet each other. Theatre must speak of people”.

The short film “Il segreto del Santo”, which has been seen around the world, was a great success: “It’s now used in many American schools to teach Italian,” exclaims Hervé. “It’s a simple story, surreal but based on true events, memories and smiles of this beautiful country. Fascinating stories that, though not recounted in history books, are the real history of the people of today”.

Jessica Nardi