“As writers we always feel we are free to kill people without any punishment. Perhaps the satisfying thing about Please, Continue is that fiction is judged in the same way we judge reality”. This was what Argentine writer Alan Pauls said when I told him I wasn’t very comfortable with the project we had done together with Yan Duyvendak, in which real-life barristers, public prosecutors and a judge put Hamlet on trial for the death of Polonius (in the photo, Hamlet, played by Thierry Raynaud, in the dock at Marseille courthouse). Interestingly, my unease could well be linked to what he saw as one of the strengths of the performance. The fiction embodied by the actors and the reality represented by the court each have their own spaces that collide in the performance: the tempo of the theatre shatters in the hands of judges and barristers, the actors’ performance style contrasts with the barristers’ (the barristers overact; the actors don’t), the legal arguments are infinitely more banal that Shakespeare’s, etc. You end up feeling sorry for Hamlet in the dock and realise that when fiction becomes reality it turns into a nightmare.

18 and 19 January, Please, Continue in Neuchatel