© Cie des Dramaticules


Reading performance by Marcel Schwob

Created in January 2011

Master piece of the eponym collection written by Marcel Schwob in 1893, Le Roi au masque d'or (The King in the Golden Mask) embrace with an extraordinary strength all the Symbolist themes: masks, mirrors, moon, blood, purity, tragic human fate…

Following the example set by his ancestors, a King who permanently wears a mask of hieratic gold sits in his palace amongst his priests, his clowns and his women, who like him, wear a mask according to their social function: Glooms and worried masks for the priests, hilarious masks for clowns, attractive and graceful masks for women. All of sudden, a "pious beggar", blind and without a mask, appears before him and reveals in an insidious manor that the King’s universe of masks conceal a very different reality from their appearance. "You", he tells the monarch, "who knows if you aren’t horrible despite of your elegance?". The King throws him out, but from then onwards, the doubt eats away at him. Wishing to see his true face, he leaves the Palace, where mirrors are prohibited by the priests, and goes to a river. The King then discovers, through the water’s mirror that he is a leper...