Meet Meeting

Bérengère Krief, a lovely girl

Portrait de Bérengère Krief - Elodie Daguin
Published on 16/08/2022

Hilarious, bubbly and moving, the humorist from lyon is back on stage with amour. Totally in keeping with the times, this one-woman show recounts her trials and tribulations in love, with tenderness and self-derision, against a backdrop of aerial hoop acrobatics, feel-good songs and adventures in the region, from Beaujolais to Ardèche.

You performed at the Radiant, in Caluire, a few days ago, and you’re continuing with a nationwide tour of France.  Are you happy to be reunited  with your audience?

It’s so great! Before going on, I don’t get stage fright like before; there’s a lot of joy. I also put a lot of heart into writing this  show  and  I  know  exactly  why  I’m  doing it.

As the name suggests, your show is about love; was this theme an obvious choice?

Following a break-up, I went to Australia alone. The trip is part of the show. When I  came  back,  I  felt  that  there  was  an  expectation among the people around me  to  talk  about  what  happened.  I  enjoy  sharing,  explaining  things  I’ve  understood and going back over expe-riences I’ve had. I’ve been through a lot of break-ups, so I’m the one who made it through, the one my friends like to call when it happens to them. After my trip to Australia, people kept on telling me: “You have to tell me about it! “ So, I said to  myself:  either  you’re  going  to  have  to have dinner with a different person every day for three months, or you put it all in a show.

Bérengère - Amour - Laura Gilli

A show about love...

I allowed myself to believe that people could be interested in what I had to tell. That it could give meaning to my place on the stage. It’s a show that speaks to the heart: to hearts that have suffered; to  those  that  will  heal.  I  come  from  a  generation  where  most  parents  were  maried  and  women  existed  alongside  a  man.  It’s  totally  different  today.  I’m  growing,  I’m  working,  I’m  in  control  of  my destiny... Of course I need somebody, but what is their place in my life? In the show, I talk about how my grandparents met. They lived in such different times that comparing their story with mine is like comparing apples and oranges.

Is performing in Lyon  always special for you?

My  parents  have  been  talking  about  nothing else for the past six months! I know so many of the people in the audi-ence that it’s almost intimidating. And, with this show, I’m talking about myself much more than in my first show, so it’s not the same. 

What was your childhood in Lyon like?

I grew up in the Monts d’Or, in a very lov-ing family, and we always got together to eat on Sundays. I was lucky enough to have a garden; it was pretty great. I worked hard at school, where I did classi-cal dance. One day, a friend asked me to go to the theatre open day with her and I signed up. I was eight or nine years old.

Were you immediately hooked?

Yes. I loved it. It was a lot of fun. There was  a  large  trunk  with  loads  of  cos-tumes in it; we had to grab something and get on stage... I went to Jean Perrin secondary school and, after the bacca-laureate, I wondered what I was going to do. I decided to study performing arts at Lyon 2 University, where I found Nico-las Vital, who I had already taken a class with. He’s still my best friend and now he’s the director of my show. 

After that, you attended  Joëlle Sevilla’s Acting Studio,  is that right? 

I  was  there  right  at  the  same  time  as Kaamelott (if you  read  the  second  issue of À la Lyonnaise closely, you may remember  that  Joëlle  Sevilla  is  the  mother of Alexandre Astier, creator of the TV show Kaamelott) started. There were 12 of us in the year group, which was  a  luxury.  AT  that  time,  I  said  to  myself  that  I’d  do  an  intensive  course  of  eight  hours  a  day  and,  if  I  still  liked  it at the end, I would really make it my profession. I then played at the cabaret with the company La Compagnie et son Personnel de Bord...

Were you doing  classical theatre then?

I had a deep desire to do comedy. That was what I knew, in any case. I watched the humorists more than classical plays. While I liked learning texts, comedy came to me naturally and it was where I felt comfortable. Except, back then, I wasn’t really  making  any  choices;  I  wanted  to  perform,  that  was  all,  without  asking  myself too many questions.

Bérengère Krief

In 2004, you left Lyon  for Paris, is that right?

It  was  a  jungle  for  me.  All  I  knew  was  village life until then; I hadn’t even had an apartment in Lyon. I remember that I lived near the Arc de Triomphe, so I sat beneath  it  and  said  to  myself:  “You’ve got an apartment, you’ve settled in, it’s going  to  be  OK!  ”  It  was  an  adventure,  an  experience  I  had  to  go  through.  To  find myself alone and live things myself, without my whole family knowing about them.  To  lose  myself  in  a  city  where  I  was anonymous. I also realised that some expressions had not  travelled  very  far,  such  as  looking  for a ‘gâche’ in a car park (people in Lyon sometimes use the word ‘gâche’ instead of ‘place’ for a parking space).

In Paris, you had many experiences...

When I arrived, I thought I’d be running from one casting to the next... That wasn’t the case at all! I took theatre classes, I acted in plays for free, as well as plays created by friends, and I made a living working on the side as a recep-tionist at the Théâtre de Paris. Then, I got back into café-théâtre (a cafe with live theatre), at École du One Man Show, run  by  the  theatre Le Bout in Pigalle. I  was  a  student,  a  teacher,  a  princess  in  a  children’s  show,  I  did  improv,  and  then one day I made the leap and asked for a date. I had six months to write a show,  based  on  a  couple  of  ideas  in  a  notebook.  On  the  24th  of  June  2009,  I  performed alone on stage for the first time.  That  was  the  beginning.  Until  then, I had always been dependent on the desires of others; with this show, I had the feeling that people could access what I really was, deep down.

In 2011, you performed at  the theatre Le Point Virgule and  in the TV series Bref.

It’s a legendary venue, the Olympia for me; the venue where Élie Kakou per-formed in the first VHS I watched. And Bref was my meeting with the general public, which changed everything.

How did you find  the experience of fame?

I didn’t like it at all in the beginning. I didn’t find it as great as people think it’s going to be. That’s when I started reflecting on myself, to understand what was going on deep down, and how it was possible to be successful, but sad or miserable at the same time. I’ve accepted it now, but it can still feel strange sometimes. Some people send me photos of myself, taken from a dis-tance, saying that they didn’t dare to approach me, but wanting to know if it was really me... Strange, isn’t it? Now, I find it flattering, but it doesn’t make me happy. 

You appeared in a film in 2013; did it come as a form of recognition for you?

I  really  wanted  to  act  in  films,  but  I  wasn’t determined to do so at all costs. One of my grandparents’ phrases sums up my state of mind well: “If you do your work as well as you can, then things will come to you. ” I like to take things step by  step.  I  don’t  believe  that  there  is  a  finishing line. We always have to prove ourselves. 

Do you still feel like  a Lyonnaise?

Of course! For now, Lyon is still the place where I’ve lived most my life. That won’t be  the  case  for  much  longer,  but  my  heart  is  in  Lyon;  my  family  and  points  of reference are here. 

What do you like  about this city? 

For me, it’s like a smaller version of Paris: it’s easier to get around, more laid-back and there’s plenty of things to do, but with  less  stress. Something that has changed a lot is the Festival of Lights.  When I was a kid, we went to Saint-Jean Cathedral to see the lumignons (Trans-lator’s Note: small  lanterns  that  locals  traditionally  place on their balconies and window ledges during the festival), but now it’s an event that attracts peo-ple from all over the world. It’s a great source of pride. It’s a city that’s pleasant to walk  around, where I can go to my grandma’s to eat Bolognese meatballs, and I really feel comfortable here.


Bérengère Krief - Elodie Daguin

Actress, humorist and stand-up comedian Bérengère Krief was born in Lyon in 1983. After studying at Lyon 2 University and the Acting Studio,  she cut her teeth performing on the stages of Lyon’s cafés-théâtres before leaving for Paris, where she performed several versions of her first one-woman show and played the character Marla in the cult French TV show aired on Canal +: Bref.. In 2013, she appeared in the film Joséphine, and then its sequel in 2016, with Marilou Berry. The same year, she played alongside André Dussolier in the comedy Adopte un veuf and then landed the starring role in L’École est finie, a feature-length film by Anne Depétrini (2018).
Currently on a nationwide tour of France with her latest show Amour (in Annecy on 28 January and Bourg-lès-Valence on 29 January), she will be in the cast of Jean-Pierre Améris’ next film, Les Folies Fermières, and the detective series Syndrome E, to be aired on TF1, with Emmanuelle Béart, Vincent Elbaz and Kool Shen.

My address book

“This is a little restaurant that I like a lot, which is run by the big brother of one of my secondary school friends. It’s a re-visited "bouchon" (a traditional Lyonnais eatery) and the food is delicious. ”

“My mother takes me here often and I like shopping there with her. Otherwise we go to her hairdresser’s, Jean-Luc  Fady. ”

“This place is brilliant! From here, I like walking across the footbridge of the Palais-de-Justice.”

The Ancient  Theatre of Fourvière
5 rue de l'Antiquaille, Lyon 5ème

“I’m transported each time I come here.  It’s very moving. So many people have been here; the stones have seen so many things.”

The monts d’Or
Walks starting at Saint-Cyr-au-Mont-D’or, Saint-Didier-au-Mont-D’or et Curis-au-Mont-d’Or

“There’s a walk that we used to do all the time, which goes to Mont Thou, up in the hills.  There’s a stunning view of Lyon at the end. ”