Home > Personal Posts, Saint-Exupéry Antoine de, Theatre > Back to the theatre! Yay!!!!

Back to the theatre! Yay!!!!

September 22, 2021 Leave a comment Go to comments

I’ve wanted to write a billet about how happy I am to be able to go the theatre again. Nothing compares to sitting in a theatre and watching a play and I missed it dearly. I usually have a subscription to the theatre in Lyon and go to ten to twelve plays during the season. In 2020-2021, almost all plays were cancelled due to the Covid crisis. As soon as the theatres reopened, I bought tickets. I hope theatres will survive these long months they had to keep their doors closed.

I started end of June in Paris, with St Ex in New York, a play written and directed by Jean-Claude Idée. In France, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is nicknamed St-Ex, hence the title of the play. It focuses on a special time in Saint-Exupéry’s life.

We’re in 1942, he’s living in New York with his wife Consuelo, who has an affair with Denis de Rougemont. Saint-Ex has an American mistress, Sylvia. He’s writing Le Petit Prince and he’s hitching to go back to France, enroll in the army and fight in the war.

The four of them fight, discuss art, writing and try to discourage St Ex to go back to Europe and risk his life at war. I didn’t know much about St Ex’s life, except for his experience as a pilot. I knew nothing about his temper, his relationship with his wife or anything else. Phew! If the play is accurate, he and Consuelo were like oil and water, fighting, making up, hurting each other and all in the name of love. The play shows a St Ex who’s not happy to be far from combat but is also pressured to give his support to the Général de Gaulle.

Le Petit Prince stems from this time and I understand that the temperamental rose is actually Consuelo in real life. The play was vivid and it showed an interesting moment in St Ex’s life.

End of August, I was in Paris again and went to see Le Cercle des Illusionnistes, written and directed by Alexis Michalik.

This play won several Molières, the most prestigious prize for theatre. Michalik has the knack for embarking you in his unique brand of storytelling. I’d already loved his Porteur d’histoires.

Le Cercle des Illusionnistes opens in 1984, it’s a football championship and Décembre steals a handbag in the metro. He contacts its owner, Avril, a pretty young lady because he wants to get to know her.

He starts telling her the story of Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, watchmaker, magician and illusionist of the 19th C. He was before Houdini and invented lots of techniques that are still used by conjurors. He was also a creator of automatons, ran a theatre in the heart of Paris.

The play goes back and forth between 1984 and the 19th century and we discover Robert-Houdin, his life and his heritage. It’s the kind of play that removes you temporarily from your life, puts a smile on your face and just makes you happy. Most needed in these stressful times.

Yesterday was the beginning of my new season here at the theatre in Lyon. It opened with Skylight by David Hare, directed by Claudia Stavisky. The play dates back to 1995 and was translated into French by Dominique Hollier.

We’re in the 1990s in a poor neighborhood in London. Kyra lives in an old apartment building, it’s cold because the central heating isn’t good. Tom comes to visit her, uninvited. He’s in his fifties, a successful businessman whose company was just listed on the stock market. Kyra teaches mathematics to underprivileged children. They were lovers and Kyra left him when his wife Alice discovered their relationship. They still love each other but butt heads over their past.

They confront their present, what they want to do with their lives. Their path differed. Kyra comes from a rather wealthy background, lived and worked with Tom for a while, left him to earn a lot more and live modestly. Tom came from a poorer background and became a successful and rich businessman.

The play questions the power of love and what we can accept and compromise for it. Love isn’t enough to build a solid and healthy relationship. These two still love each other but can’t live together.

The play also explores social issues. Tom and Kyra have different stances on money. Kyra despises money in a way that only people who grew up without money worries can afford to. Tom knows better and enjoys the perks money brings him. What’s more meaningful or valuable? Teaching mathematics to underprivileged kids and help them move forward through education or founding and running a successful business that provides jobs for people? Are the two approaches irreconcilable?

Hare’s text is excellent, alternating between feeling and debating, between emotion and humor. The actors, Patrick Catalifo, Marie Vialle and Sacha Ribeiro, who plays Tom’s son were outstanding. We were in this apartment with Tom and Kyra, eager to know how things would turn out for them.

It’s a relief to resume watching plays live. Stay tuned, next week I’m going to see L’Ile des Esclaves by Marivaux, a play were masters and servants reverse their roles. 18th century magic.

  1. September 22, 2021 at 2:22 pm

    So happy for you!! I still haven’t gone even to a grocery store since the beginning of Covid!

    Like

    • September 22, 2021 at 9:30 pm

      I’m looking forward to the next plays.
      Not been to the grocery store since March 2020! Wow, that must be a record. Aren’t you tired of staying at home?

      Like

  2. September 22, 2021 at 2:58 pm

    Oh, lucky you!
    Please tell us all about it when you get there:)

    Like

    • September 22, 2021 at 9:31 pm

      I’m so happy to be able to go to the theatre again. I really missed it.
      I’ll try to write a billet about the Marivaux play.

      I’ve seen there’s a new theatre version of Promise at Dawn. (It must be the fourth at least)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. September 22, 2021 at 8:50 pm

    How wonderful! I’ve not been going anywhere so I envy your bravery and your enjoyment!

    Like

    • September 22, 2021 at 9:33 pm

      Thanks!
      There are safety rules: in June, mandatory masks + distanciation and now, masks for everyone and health pass mandatory.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. September 23, 2021 at 7:18 am

    I don’t go to theatre, and Covid has made me more crowd-averse than usual, so I’m not even going to much cinema. But I enjoy your reports.

    Like

    • September 24, 2021 at 10:31 pm

      I love going to the theater and missed it dearly when they were closed.

      Like

  5. September 23, 2021 at 10:10 am

    I share your excitement because I managed to get to a play last week too. Ok so it was just a small scale amateur production but it was still a thrill to be at a play again.

    Like

    • September 24, 2021 at 10:32 pm

      It’s watching a live play that matters, amateurs or not.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. September 24, 2021 at 2:07 pm

    Hooray! I also love theatre and share your joy. I’m just starting to plan some shows to see.

    Like

    • September 24, 2021 at 10:28 pm

      It’s such a pleasure to be back and see live shows.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. September 27, 2021 at 3:08 pm

    Lovely to hear that you’ve been able to go back to the theatre to see some productions recently. I can imagine how thrilling that must feel after the last 15-18 months. Skylight is a terrific play. I saw a production of it at London’s Wyndham’s theatre six or seven years ago, with Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan in the two main roles. A terrific night out.

    Like

    • October 3, 2021 at 9:58 am

      Sorry for the very late answer.
      I really missed going to the theatre and I hope they will all survive these dreadful times.

      Glad to hear about someone who’s seen the play. Terrific, yes. The blend of love story and social commentary is extremely well done and how lucky you were to see it with Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan! I totally picture them in these roles.

      Like

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