An Armchair for the Orchestra – The Parisian theater reviews site » The Underpants Festival, by and with Mickaël Délis, at the Théâtre de la Reine Blanche

May 09, 2024 |
Comments closed on The Underpants Festival, by and with Mickaël Délis, at the Théâtre de la Reine Blanche

© Marie Charbonnier

ff article from Denis Sanglard

It is sometimes a shame to focus only on the title of a work, however clumsy it may be, thereby obscuring its content which is much better than its announcement. The underwear party, a somewhat raucous coat of arms, is nevertheless a creation of beautiful acuity, of an abrasive intelligence even in the writing larded with corrosive humor, and whose subject proves more than relevant at the time of the comeback in force of masculinism, of its blows, reaction of worried males, losing their bearings and authority in the face of questions both of gender and of the questioning of patriarchy, where the words of women since #metoo are now freed, denouncing sexist and sexual violence, and the intolerable malevolence that accompanies it. Yet homosexual, but this is undoubtedly a question of generation and environment, Mickaël Délis did not escape this imperative and cultural injunction of performance and enjoyment without hindrance, which he defines as a tad pathological. The underwear party expresses nothing other than the disorder of a liberating defeat, a salutary questioning of the all-powerful erectile penis (and its boastful centimeters as a scale of value) which obliges performance to the point of neurosis, compulsion to saturation, perfection to control. In other words, I am hard therefore I am. Mickaël Délis makes his overactive member, and the privileged relationship he maintains with it, the center of the world, turns around as we look at his navel, questioning this performative quest that compulsive and obsessive sexual activity denounces in order to finally want to free from it. Not easy, the road is arduous, as steep and sometimes painful as an erect cock under Viagra.

On this road to Damascus there are crowds of his mother, his father, his twin brother, his agent, his late psychologist, his exes, a sex addiction center, the public hospital and his doctors, and even the director Jean-François Sivadier, the latter lucidly pointing his finger at the crux of Mickaël Délis’ problem and causing an explosion with this severe slap, are all questions, obstacles and answers in this quest for a detoxified masculinity, uninhibited and rid of its cumbersome balls, which does not mean being emasculated, the question of having them or not no longer being relevant.

Incisive portraits, drawn with a lot of humor, of tender cowliness too (his castrating mother, unspeakable), sometimes of overwhelmed tenderness (his father, terminally ill), or even of scientific authority for guarantee, so many reactions or objections which of him and his conflictual relationship with his penis paint a fragmented portrait but with a constant and a revelation, being only the reproduction and the product of a social and family order, of an environment (the homosexual community n ‘not escaping this injunction but for other reasons, HIV having been there), a disaster in short, where gender being nothing more than a construction no longer has anything to do with biological sex leaves you on the side. The turgid hubris residing symbolically and unconsciously in the erect penis of any normally constituted male is only the symptom of a sick, corrupted system, where the masculine appendage conditioned from childhood, reinforced in adolescence by the The pornographic industry would allow the worst in its macho and warlike rhetoric. But all it takes is an unexpected underperformance, the shameful and feared stampede, and arms simply open without a priori to realize that, yes, simple tenderness can be an antidote and that a flag treacherously lowered in no way prevents to love and be loved. In this refined staging which frees the subject, cleverly lit with a few neon lights for scenography, Mickaël Délis strips himself naked and without ever taking off his tracksuit, plays a bit of a mutt with the immodesty and (relative) scabrousness of his confessions but with the salt and pepper of a humor which never obliterates the seriousness of a relevant reflection much broader than this egocentric soliloquy around his penis and his performances. Kick in the parts of the patriarchy, The underwear party it is above all the story of a hangover and a disorganized tomorrow.

© Marie Charbonnier

The underwear party, writing, interpretation and co-directing by Mickaël Délis

Co-directors: Papy de Trappes, Vladimir Perrin, David Délis

Choreographic consultant: Clément Le Disquay

Lighting design: Jago Axworthy

Writing collaboration: Romain Compingt

From May 8 to June 14, 2024 at 9 p.m.

Wednesdays and Fridays, Sundays at 6 p.m.

White Queen Theater

2bis passage Alley

75018 Paris



July 3/21, Avignon festival, Avignon Reine Blanche at 9:45 p.m.

As part of a diptych with The first sexon the same date at 8:15 p.m.

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