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Lebanese theater has lost one of its greatest names. Alain Plisson, actor, director and teacher, leaves behind an invaluable artistic and educational legacy.

Alain Plisson, a towering figure in the Lebanese theater, passed away at the age of 94, after 48 hours in a coma. His loss leaves a vast void in the country’s cultural landscape, given his profound imprint and considerable influence. Born in Aleppo in 1929, Plisson discovered his passion for theater during a performance by the French Union troupe in Beirut, while he was studying law. This experience marked the beginning of a life wholly devoted to dramatic arts.

Plisson began his career as an actor in the 1950s, quickly distinguishing himself with his talent and charisma. He played lead roles in numerous theater productions, captivating audiences with his stage presence. However, it was as a director that he truly excelled, a calling he embraced in the 1960s.

Alain Plisson is known for his ability to direct plays of varied genres, from tragedy to vaudeville and musicals. He always made it a point to choose quality scripts, which he considered images inspiring his stagings. His approach to directing was characterized by attention to detail and a constant search for innovation. Plisson drew his inspiration from the meticulously selected texts, considering each play as a standalone artwork.

His encounter with the famous British director Peter Brook in New York in 1982 was a pivotal moment in his career. This experience reinforced his decision to dedicate himself entirely to directing. From then on, Plisson directed a multitude of plays, ranging from classics of the French repertoire to contemporary works and original creations. Among his most notable productions are La Conférence des oiseauxL’Évangile selon Pilate, Love Letters, and adaptations of plays by Chekhov and Brecht.

Known for his exuberant theatrical style and colorful personality, Plisson was also famous for his humor and his ability to laugh at everything. His distinctive voice and booming laughter were well-known traits to the audience and his colleagues. Despite challenges, including periods of turmoil in Lebanon, he always maintained an optimism and zest for life that were reflected in his productions. His infectious energy and contagious passion left a mark on everyone who had the privilege of working alongside him.

Throughout his career, Plisson won numerous awards and distinctions for his work. He was repeatedly honored at theater festivals in Lebanon and abroad, in recognition of his talent and exceptional contribution to dramatic arts. His unique style, combining rigor and creativity, was praised by critics and audiences alike.

In addition to his directing career, Alain Plisson played a crucial role in training the new generation of Lebanese actors and directors. As a professor at the Institute for Theater, Audiovisual and Cinematic Studies (IESAV) at Saint-Joseph University in Beirut, he imparted his expertise and passion to many students.

Plisson taught at IESAV for over three decades, from 1980 to 2010. During this period, he trained hundreds of students, many of whom have become major figures in theater and film in Lebanon and the region. His pedagogical approach, based on rigor and kindness, influenced generations of artists.

As a professor, Plisson placed great importance on passing on the fundamentals of theater, while encouraging his students to develop their own creativity. He emphasized the need to master acting techniques, but also to understand the stakes of directing and dramaturgy. His classes were known for their intensity and richness, offering students a unique learning and discovery experience.

Alain Plisson’s influence on Lebanese theater extends beyond his personal achievements. Through his teaching at IESAV, he helped shape the country’s theatrical landscape, training generations of talented and committed artists. Many of his former students have become recognized actors, directors, or professors themselves, thus perpetuating his artistic and pedagogical legacy.

Alain Plisson dedicated his life to the stage, providing the public with unforgettable moments of beauty and emotion, while passing on his passion and expertise to new generations of artists. His radiant personality, exceptional talent, and unwavering commitment will forever remain etched in the memories of those fortunate enough to have known him and experienced the magic of his theater.