The underside of the play on Samuel Paty on the theater on April 9 | EUROtoday

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“II used to be terribly moved by studying the textual content. Allowing my brother to be carried out within the theater has a robust symbolic significance: it’s, not directly, bringing him again to life…” confides Mickaëlle Paty, about the play The teacher, written by the novelist and filmmaker Émilie Frèche. Performed this Tuesday, April 9 at the Théâtre Libre, in Paris, as part of the “Paroles citoyennes” festival, it retraces the last eleven days of the life of Samuel Paty, a 47-year-old history and geography professor, murdered on October 16, 2020. by an Islamist terrorist for showing caricatures of Muhammad to his students during a lesson on freedom of expression.

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“Immediately, I perceived that it was an attack different from the others, because it reminded us of our renunciations, spoke to us about ourselves,” explains Émilie Frèche relating to her option to seize from topic. The play, in truth, omits neither the errors of the establishment nor the abandonment of its friends. And tells the story of a professor confronted, alone, with mounting risks. “I was haunted by the solitude of Samuel Paty… Because if it is one thing to be attacked, it is another not to be supported”, continues the author, who related Mickaëlle Paty with the venture , dedicated to presenting a personality “conforming to the spirit of his brother”.

Played by the actor and director Charles Berling, we uncover him caught on this lethal spiral, born from the lie of a pupil and nourished by the rise of the uncontrollable rumor. “There are several dimensions to this affair,” recollects the author. That of the faculty, the place the menace is uttered, that of radical Islamist circles, the place it finds an echo, and that of social networks, the place the mechanics are carried away. Each one being skillfully staged – play of sunshine and shadow, items pricey to the professor, over-multiplication of hateful and threatening “posts”…

” I found it… “

Samuel Paty, with greater than twenty years of expertise, “knew that college needed to be a spot of emancipation and wished to carry to life the values ​​of the Republic, together with freedom of expression, which was none aside from on the program…”, recalls Émilie Frèche, in reference to the repeated, Kafkaesque justifications that he was ordered to give (colleagues, parents, inspection, etc.), after his course. One scene particularly struck Mickaëlle Paty: “We don’t know how he reacted and we will never know. But through the way he responds to the secularism reference that calls him into question, I have the impression that Samuel can finally dot the “i's”. And with this repartee, of which he was capable, I found him…” she confides, moved.

“The writings, and in particular the plays, remain. And it is important to ensure the transmission of this story,” concludes the sister of the deceased. A wish of public utility, while the French school remains prey to threats and another teacher, Dominique Bernard, lost his life last October at the hands of an Islamist terrorist.

The performance will be followed by a meeting “Secularism: the Great Renunciation? » then a speech by Mickaëlle Paty dedicated to freedom of expression. The text will be published in October by Albin Michel and L'Avant-Scène, before being performed again (dates not communicated).

The teacher “
A spaced studying
Tuesday April 9, 7 p.m., on the Théâtre Libre