Comedy by Eugène Labiche
Lenglumé wakes up on his name day having forgotten everything about the night before. He proceeds not only to find a strange man in his bed, but also the traces of a murderous crime in his pockets. His attempt to blank out his presumed guilt while also preventing his wife from finding out that he left the house and evidently spent a wild night out leads to a breathless and hilarious game of concealment and confusion that contains some existential questions: what hidden depths are lurking within his peaceful daytime self? Or is some secret double turning his nightmares into reality? And what are people willing to do to wash their hands in innocence after committing a crime?
«The Affaire in the Rue de Lourcine» marks a turning-point in Eugène Labiche’s writing: in addition to the discipline at which he excelled, the disastrous vaudeville where he dramatised the tangled love affairs and other catastrophes in the lives of the wealthy middle classes with coarse humour and without paying any great regard to logic or psychology, he began to attempt some more profound resonances. Even if he never really established himself at the Comédie Française and will be remembered in literary history as the inventor of the boulevard comedy and a master of amusement, in «Rue de Lourcine» he does at least achieve a work that operates on more than one level.
«Once the social order has been consolidated, anyone who is not alarmed by reality is as free as they wish,»
Jean Jourdheuil wrote about Labiche’s work. But in this play, that alarm is felt: Lenglumé begins to realise what he might be capable of and as a result – at least for a day – his self-assurance and satisfaction crumble.
«The Affair in the Rue de Lourcine» will be staged in the Residenztheater by the Hungarian director András Dömötör, who in 2020 directed Beniamin M. Bukowski’s s «Marienplatz» with remarkable invention and absurd humour.