Brane Mozetič

Philippe Calvario

Philippe Calvario and Ivan Peternelj

Mini teater and the Slovene Youth Theatre

Opening performance:
November 2007

An explosive monologue by a French classical writer staged in Slovenia for the first time.

About the author

Hervé Guibert (December 14, 1955 - December 27, 1991) was a French writer. Guibert was born in Saint-Cloud and spent his early years in Paris, moving to La Rochelle from 1970 to 1973. After unsuccessfully trying to become a filmmaker and dabbling in acting, Guibert turned to photography and journalism. In 1977 Régine Deforges published his first book, La mort propagande. Never one to miss an opportunity to promote himself, Guibert made sure he came to the notice of leading gay intellectuals Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault by sending them copies of his book. Neither could fail to be titillated by either the shock value of the book or by the engaging looks of its author. Soon enough, Guibert's company became essential to Foucault.

In 1978, Guibert successfully applied for a job at France's prestigious evening paper Le Monde and published his second book, Les aventures singulières (Éditions de minuit).

In 1984, Guibert shared a César (French cinema academy award) for best screenplay with Patrice Chéreau for L'homme blessé. Guibert had met Chéreau in the 1970s during his theatrical years.

In 1985, Guibert published Des aveugles, a novel based on his experience at the Institut des jeunes aveugles, a school for blind youth where he had volunteered to read books to pupils.

In 1983, the year before Foucault died of AIDS, Guibert's lover had been diagnosed with the disease Guibert himself would not be spared. This formed the basis for Guibert's breakthrough, his 1990 book À l'ami qui ne m'a pas sauvé la vie, in which, besides revealing his infection, he outed Foucault as a sado-masochist. Suddenly, he found himself the focus of media attention, being featured in newspapers and appearing on many culture talk shows on TV. Le protocole compassionnel followed in 1991.

From then on, Guibert worked at recording what was left of his life. Two more books, L'homme au chapeau rouge and Cytomégalovirus, were released in January 1992, the same month French TV showed La Pudeur ou l'impudeur, a home-made film by Guibert showing his own last year or so in (to some, porno)graphic detail as he lost the battle against AIDS. By then, however, Guibert had already died in Clamart near Paris on December 27, 1991 after attempting suicide in the last throes of death by AIDS. Before that he had married the mother of his lover's children, so that they would inherit his publishing rights instead of his own folk.

Some people were irritated by Guibert's persona and dismissed him as an out-and-out arriviste for deliberately seeking the attention of people who could forward his career (Chéreau, Barthes, Foucault), as a whore for cynically relying on his looks in the process, as a bit of a cocktease, too, for boasting about blue-balling Barthes once he had him baited, as a bit of a kiss-and-tell for the Foucault scandal, and as much of an exhibitionist for the full-blown, shameless media staging of his dying, painfully embarrassing to everyone but him. However, it could be argued that Guibert fought for a worthy cause by focusing French attention on homosexuality and AIDS. In a way, AIDS was for Guibert at once a turning-point and a point of no return the way it was for Paul Monette. And yet, in the case of Guibert, it changed nothing at all, it merely meant death - and dying - were now a palpable fact that brought a new dimension to self-centered dramatics which had already long been in place. Unlike what happened with Monette, AIDS didn't come with a sense of tribal duty, of a responsibility to a community, but gave a new twist to Guibert's egotism. Guibert deliberately set about becoming an icon. He never made any distinction between being and writing, and the point of both was himself: being himself and writing himself, his life as much his creation as his books. One of the very first gay figures and AIDS victims in France to go public, he became something not quite unlike the Marcel Proust or the Andy Warhol of the AIDS age.

"" is a Web Site devoted to Hervé Guibert