Yvelinois Paul Dureau, one of the last French singers

Yvelinois Paul Dureau, one of the last French singers
Yvelinois Paul Dureau, one of the last French singers

By Marie Vermeersch
Published on

May 4, 24 at 9:16

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He is barely 30 years old and yet he has already spent half his life on stage. Originally from Paris, more precisely from Montmartre, Paul Dureau has settled in Chevreuse (Yvelines) for around ten years.

If he has several strings to his bow, author, director, comedian, imitator, the term that describes him best is without a doubt singer.

“A profession that has existed for five centuries but whose term has collapsed in just a few years… Nowadays, we talk a lot about stand-up, which in the collective imagination comes from the United States, but that’s not true! The only one on stage is French! It comes from the singers. Unfortunately, nothing has been done to ensure that this profession can really continue. »

Paul Dureau, singer

“Transform the sobs of the news into tears of laughter”

With the difference that if the young stand-up artists talk about their lives and everyday problems, what inspires the singers and therefore Paul Dureau, is news in general and politics in particular.

Every morning, he reads the newspapers and watches television to find inspiration and write his texts.

“My job is to transform the sobs of the news into tears of laughter. »

Paul Dureau

All with a style all his own but also specific to the singer, “that is to say by using a language and more literary humor, where it is not uncommon to use alexandrines, which removes any vulgarity from the remarks which may nevertheless be intrinsically so! “.

The other characteristic trait of the singer is to appear before the spectators while being properly dressed, particularly in tuxedo. A question of respect for Paul Dureau.

His hobby is to take up the codes of his illustrious predecessors, Jean Rigaux, Pierre-Jean Vaillard, Jean Amadou…

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The artist, who is his fifth one man showhas also worked a lot in groups, notably with Pierre Douglas and Jacques Mailhot, to name but a few.

Imitations of Chirac in English class

Paul Dureau performed extensively on the stage of the Théâtre des Deux ânes, in Montmartre, his home district.

This is where it all started. “My grandfather, a locksmith by trade, was friends with a whole bunch of personalities, Jean Rigaux, Lino Ventura… then my father took me to see singers’ shows,” says Paul Dureau.

“My English teacher knew that I never did my homework but had heard that I was quite a good imitator. Instead of homework, she asked me to write a sketch in Chirac’s voice. I was 14, I bought the newspaper, I wrote my text and I did my sketch which worked very well in class! The following weeks, I continued my little shows at high school. That’s when I said to myself that it could become a profession”

“There was a place to take”

But on a very specific niche: » Not that of imitation because between Nicolas Canteloup, Laurent Gerra…we already hear a lot on the airwaves. On the other hand, as a singer, there was a place to be taken! » Which he took with talent thanks to his hard work! Because Paul Dureau is on the stage since the age of 15. Alongside his studies, he played in various cabarets in Montmartre before making a name for himself.

Many shows followed, including his last one man show The party of laughterwho will tour across France in September, a show on a web radio, Le Clan des Chansonniers, which has been a great success, without forgetting the cultural direction of the Michel Audiard theater, in Chevreuse, for two years.

Two years of existence for the Michel Audiard theater and full shows 6 months in advance!

An ordinary multipurpose room transformed into a theater in a town of nearly 6,000 inhabitants, this is the challenge launched by the municipality of Chevreuse (Yvelines) more than two years ago. The result is undeniable success and shows that are sold out 6 months in advance!
If the Michel Audiard theater belongs to the town hall, it is the singer-songwriter Paul Dureau who is in charge of the cultural programming with shows 90% focused on humor and comedy.
Thanks to his well-stocked address book and his Parisian friends, the artist manages to bring in shows that are already touring in Paris with personalities known to the general public.
Behind this success, there is also a communal will. “The mayor, Anne Héry le Pallec, is a woman of quality and conviction who insisted on establishing free shows, believing that everyone had the right to access to entertainment and leisure. In fact, in Chevreuse, we provide an anti-sulliness public service! And if people are upset when they arrive and they come out happy and smiling, it’s worth all the rewards. », confides Paul Dureau.
To ensure the success continues, he is already working on the next season. “We are going to keep the winning formula with comedy but there will also be two major new features: allowing young local artists to open for shows and organizing screenings of great classics once a month. Masterpieces by Audiard or even films with Gabin, Ventura, Louis de Funès, Raimu and many others! »

He is also working on writing and directing a new play with Julie Arnold and Philippe Chevalier.

Paul Dureau is working to make this career last with one fear, however: that humor will be more and more restricted and that we can no longer laugh at everything. “What we write to make people laugh must make people laugh, whatever the subject. Before there was the extreme right and the extreme left. Today there is what I call the far center where we can no longer say anything, neither on one side nor the other under penalty of prosecution. For a statement to get across, would it be enough to blend in with the crowd? “.

An option that is obviously rejected by Paul Dureau who intends to continue his merry way with a single objective in mind: make people laugh and smile the public.

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