Originally from Orange, history buff, the young man was chosen to play Adriano in the year 122.
Emperor Hadrian will once again tread the ground in the arenas of Nîmes this weekend. 1,900 years later, Thomas Bruguier takes on the role of the young Roman autocrat. After the Great Roman Games, it is time for the Roman Days that the Orangeois, based in Cavaillon, will put his talent as reenactor to good use. This bearded, long-haired athlete looks like a Roman legionary or a less ferocious-looking Ragnar Lodbrok.
“Historical reenactments show how our ancestors lived and behaved. I am an actor from the past and this makes me vibrate”explains the 29-year-old enthusiast. From an early age, history carries him. First, he is interested. Then his insatiable need to learn will force him to devour history books, to participate in medieval festivals, to get to know better the gladiators, knights or pirates he admires. And very soon he will be driven by the desire to bring these historical periods back to life.
At 17, Thomas joined the Mercenaries of Time, an association of multi-era historical reconstructions and events. The young man also created the Dremmwel shop, which offers historical and fantastic jewelry, costumes and armor. “This universe is so much a part of me that it never leaves me. I made it my job.”
From appearing in a small acting role, armed with a sword or on horseback, the young man says he is self-taught. The ambitious has even passed the tests on the other side of the Channel, because none other than the successful series shot in Ireland, Vikings. “To be an actor, I did several castings, starred in short scenes and then events like this.”
This time, Thomas is the protagonist of the great show of the Roman Days. This is Robert Dupoux, president of the Mercenaries of Time, who will put himself in the shoes of the old Hadrian, comfortably installed by his imperial tribune in the arenas. “I have known Robert for more than ten years. He was the one who chose me for the role. And since I consider him a second father, we can say that we are reproducing the Roman tradition”, he said laughing.
Putting yourself in the shoes of such a character required patience and preparation: “I swallowed hundreds of books and reports about his life and his Roman life. I also did a lot of sport.” Because to have the same build, you have to sweat. And this was not a problem for Thomas, a great athlete: bodybuilding, climbing, historical fencing, Greco-Roman wrestling… Even in sport, it takes history!
You look like Adrian physically, easy. But for his personality, Thomas was concerned: “At first sight, everything separates us. He’s a serious boy, who doesn’t smile. I always laugh, I’m sociable.” But in the course of her research, the lover of bygone ages discovered an emperor “open-minded, who visited all conquered countries, appreciated every culture, a normal boy, who ate with his men in the countryside “.
He adds: “He also has a weakness that I liked. Many mocked him because of his very pronounced Latin accent. He had to earn his legitimacy.” This admiration surprises for those who know everything about the knight William Wallace, a figure of the Scottish resistance during the wars of independence against England. The weekend Roman emperor actually has a barbaric soul.
Two Hadrians, or nothing
Adriano will be double. Robert Dupoux plays the emperor all his life. Thomas Bruguier embodies it during his youth, in 122, during his stay in Nîmes. It is because the show will be built around time jumps that two were needed… But not only that.
The emperors, who could not narrate their travels alone under pain of seeing their integrity despised, hired actors to tell them. The show is therefore as close as possible to historical reality, respecting its uses and customs.
Adriano and the Picts arrived in the Roman city
Around the Roman amphitheater and in front of the courthouse, this Thursday 5 May, you may come across beggars, barbarians, civilians, Pictish warriors, horses …
More than five hundred participants gathered for the great test of the Adriano show and the Pitti war. The entrance was accessible to the public. The spectacle of the historical reconstruction of Emperor Hadrian’s visit to Nîmes will take place on Friday 6 May, at 5:30 pm, Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th, at 3:30 pm.