18 April, 2011

The Arthurs theatrical classes saw Shakespeare's England on Seine

  About 60 students training in different classes of theatre given by the Angers company Les ArthursComédie Française. It was a sunny and busy day. Gathered at five o'clock am, the classes were in Paris at ten for a visit of the district where Molière started in the theatre carreer. After a brief visit of the Saint-Eustache church where the author was baptised, the students walked throughout the Louvre Palace where Molière performed his first piece  in front of the French king Louis 14th before travelling in Western French provinces.

Then, they enjoyed a visit at the Comédie Française. This place is full of souvenirs about the french history theatre and has kept vivid traditions since the institution was founded (1680). A theatrical atmosphere can be breathed in the old building  : pictures of past famous actors, sculptures, some of them realized by David d'Angers, and the red colour of the carpets and curtains embodies that attractive universe for many teenagers who came all the way from Angers. A curiosity is proudly exhibited at the corner of a gallery : the armchair where Molière died playing "The imaginery invalid", "the only and unique souvenir the Comédie Française got from him", said the guide.

The travel inside the contemporary France of Molière was enriched by an insight look of England history through "The merry wives of Windsor", the 17th piece of Shakespeare staged at the French theatre. According to a Comédie Française leaflet handed to the audience, at the begining of the 19th century English actors played Shakespeare masterworks "in their original version". Hopefully, the most recent French versions of the intrigue are faithful to the original text which, by some aspects, remains audacious and even disconnected to the time during which it was written. Moreover, the living experience of watching such a performance helped the Angevins apprentice to discover the mental and physical involvement of the comedians to play the characters.

"The merry wives of Windor" depincts the English society of Shakespeare where, writes the Comédie Française, women and their husbands aren't young anymore, while the society has seen its money vanished, the bourgeoisie is in crisis and the poors are poorer than before : "All of that is very contemporary", notes the Comédie Française. The theatre students came back to Angers after a return from a past still present...

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