A Brief Reminder: Albert Camus on the Potential of Europe

Theater director Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota on the work of Albert Camus


Camus said the plague has not disappeared. At any time, things can reappear. The worst is always possible. Moreover, when it was said that anything is possible, Camus said, “If so, then the worst is possible.” So everything is possible. That’s a wonderful, grand idea, but then you must accept the worst is possible, and that we could see a resurgence everywhere of what Camus wrote about—the worst in mankind.

The question Camus talked about in the end was how to live happily. For Camus it was a very difficult question. For him the theater was essential. He defended it. He loved the theater. And he defended sport. He loved soccer. He loved doing things that required collaboration.

And his essential question was about how to exercise one’s own freedom. And I think he was also talking about the 20th century, which I think we are still finishing. We are finishing the 20th century. I think the 21st century hasn’t started yet.

It was the WTC attack in 2001 and the attack at the Bataclan in Paris that led me to stage this play by Albert Camus called The State of Siege, written in 1948. This play was written three years after the Second World War, after unspeakable atrocities that people inflicted on others. We cannot forget. We have a duty to know history in order to overcome it and create the future. This includes knowing Europe for the horrors that it produced. When we speak of Europe we have to remember what Europe can be: the cradle of a terrifying monstrosity. We have in our heart the capacity to again give birth to the worst. The plague did not disappear, and that’s why Camus wrote the novel The Plague.

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