Life of Joseph Roulin

  • Theater
According to
Pierre Michon
Thierry Jolivet
Performed by
Thierry Jolivet


Thierry Jolivet depicts the life of Vincent Van Gogh through the eyes of postman Joseph Roulin. Based on the novel by Pierre Michon, the show combines theatre, music and video.

Joseph Roulin was Van Gogh’s model during the time the artist lived in Arles. In Life of Joseph Roulin, author Pierre Michon imagines the friendship between these two very different men, based on paintings by the great artist, which are all that remain of this lost tale. After Belgrade in 2015 and The Royal family in 2017, Thierry Jolivet returns to the Célestins with the substance of this poignant novel that probes the meaning of artistic work, the fragility of human life and the beauty of the world. As the actor and director explains, “Through the eyes of Roulin the postman, we see the emaciated ghost of the mad Vincent and we see a man, no more and no less; in other words both a god and a hypocrite, a poor guy whose obstinacy knows no limits…”.
Against a hypnotic background, where Van Gogh’s pictures appear and interweave, an actor and two musicians pick up the song of Pierre Michon, a hallucinatory song that rings out like a magical incantation.

  • Coproduction
  • Reprise
Running time
1 : 45

    from 9 to 24 €

    Music – Jean-Baptiste Cognet et Yann Sandeau / Light creator – David Debrinay / Sound system Mathieu Plantevin / Video – Florian Bardet / General boardNicolas Galland

    Production: La Meute-Théâtre
    Coproduction: Célestins – Théâtre de Lyon, Théâtre Jean-Vilar – Bourgoin-Jallieu

    With the support of la Ville de Lyon, la Région Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, la Spedidam

    With the assistance of le Théâtre du Peuple de Bussang, le Théâtre Allégro de Miribel and le  Théâtre Nouvelle Génération – Centre dramatique national de Lyon

    First performed on 11 Dec. 2019 at Célestins – Théâtre de Lyon (Célestine hors les murs au Théâtre Nouvelle Génération – Les Ateliers Presqu’île)

    “Entre conte, invocation et concert, Thierry Jolivet porte avec force et justesse le bouleversant lyrisme de ce portrait de Vincent Van Gogh à travers celui d’un employé des Postes qui fut son ami.” Sceneweb