Dear Evan Hansen: Sincerely, me?

À sa façon, Dear Evan Hansen explore une nouvelle frontière dans ce que la comédie musicale peut dire de l’expérience humaine. Le malaise adolescent, la dépression du paria et le besoin d’appartenance d’une génération se retrouvent à l’avant-scène à travers des chansons guitare-pop entrainantes. Mais si Dear Evan Hansen a le mérite d’exister et d’offrir une voix aux adolescents qui se sentent seuls et aliénés, il faut se demander si le traitement made in Broadway ne se fait pas aux prises d’une véritable exploration du trauma.

À la suite d’un malentendu, Evan, un adolescent de 15 ans sans amis, devient le porte-parole d’une génération d’adolescents, lorsqu’un camarade d’école décide de mettre fin à ses jours. Evan sort progressivement de sa coquille et découvre des vérités fondamentales sur la nature de la solitude qui accable tout un chacun; il apprend enfin à nouer des liens avec les autres. Malheureusement, les mensonges qui s’empilent mettent en danger sa nouvelle notoriété.

Dear Evan Hansen est une exploration à vif. Ses personnages vivent des temps extraordinairement difficiles de deuil et de remise en question; pourtant, la pièce n’embarrasse jamais ses spectateurs d’un ton mélancolique. Même les chansons qui mettent en scène la solitude d’Evan portent en elles un désir d’appartenance et de reconnaissance, plus puissant que le sentiment d’abandon. À travers les mensonges d’Evan, une famille apprend petit à petit à s’acclimater à un monde sans leur fils et s’engage sur la voie d’une guérison. Les auteurs et metteurs en scène de la pièce exécutent un exercice d’équilibriste avec une facilité déconcertante et nous rappellent que la joie et la douleur de vivre sont les deux tenants d’une même question que cette comédie musicale pose, le temps d’une œuvre emballante de deux heures.

Dear Evan Hansen semble jouer selon des règles d’un jeu qu’on connaît depuis longtemps et qui impliquent une structure en deux actes, inspiré d’une poétique du zéro au héros. C’est la structure du film Good Fellas de Scorsese, de nombreux romans de Balzac et, évidemment, d’Hamilton.

Cependant, ce qui empêche Dear Evan Hansen de dépasser le cadre de la jolie histoire bien racontée, c’est que les auteurs n’opposent jamais de véritables conséquences aux actions d’Evan. Dans le monde d’Evan, il s’agit de prendre confiance en soi, d’assumer ses choix, mais pas forcément de vivre avec. Dear Evan Hansen est un exercice de funambule, mais il semble que les auteurs ont gardé le filet de sécurité à tout moment et qu’aucune chute ne sera vraiment sérieuse pour les personnages. En l’état, la performance de Ben Platt est ce qui tient toute la structure ensemble et il y a fort à parier qu’un moindre acteur laissera bientôt paraître tous les défauts d’un personnage qui se soucie bien plus de ses choix que des conséquences que ceux-ci ont sur les autres. En un sens, le véritable problème de la pièce est que la narration épouse trop parfaitement l’illusion de grandeur d’Evan, et ne donne pas assez de voix aux gens qu’il blesse. Dans le monde parfait de Dear Evan Hansen, l’intention importe plus que l’effet de ses actes. À une époque où Hollywood et Broadway sont sommés de regarder hors d’un monde blanc et privilégié, il est dommage que cette comédie musicale célèbre autant la culture et la vie de ses adolescents sans pour autant leur poser les questions difficiles que la vie d’adulte va bientôt leur imposer. Dear Evan Hansen refuse de représenter une réalité où la question de l’impact de nos actions a plus d’importance et de répercussions que l’intention originale.

Si la chanson « You Will be found », écrite Benj Pasek et Justin Paul, porte en elle à la fois la promesse que la solitude ne durera pas ainsi que le risque d’un retour brutal à la réalité par une confrontation de la manipulation d’Evan, la pièce ne va pas assez loin… Dear Evan Hansen est une pièce sur l’anxiété sociale qui, paradoxalement, a peur d’aliéner définitivement son personnage et ses spectateurs. Comme Evan, la pièce veut désespérément plaire aux spectateurs. Elle se retrouve paralysée par l’identification que les spectateurs sont forcés de ressentir face à un acteur au sommet de son art et de sa sensibilité, et à une résolution forcément problématique. Dear Evan Hansen est une pièce dextrement écrite pour renforcer notre sympathie pour un personnage tellement proche de nos propres sentiments d’abandon qu’elle oublie les conséquences d’une manipulation qui, dans le monde réel, aurait fait plus de mal que dans le monde de Broadway.

En un sens, Dear Evan Hansen n’admet pas qu’un traumatisme puisse ne pas se soigner complètement : le suicide d’un enfant, l’abus de confiance, des années de rapports difficiles aux autres, parfois, ne guérissent jamais. Il semble que la pièce refuse de le reconnaître et, s’il faut célébrer une parole juste à propos du suicide et des difficultés d’adaptation liées aux troubles de l’anxiété, il ne faut pas oublier qu’il n’y a pas de véritables joies sans périls, pas de vrais drames sans conséquences : les meilleures histoires ne trichent jamais avec les conséquences de personnages pas tout à fait mauvais, pas tout à fait bons. Dear Evan Hansen rompt le pacte dramatique au profit d’une résolution douce-amère. Si le choix se comprend, permettant à un personnage d’obtenir une seconde chance et au public de ne pas repartir le cœur brisé, il faut se demander si le confort des spectateurs n’est pas le prix du sacrifice d’une meilleure histoire.

 

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