The Lewis Center for the Arts, the Department of French and Italian, and L’Avant-Scène present Princeton University’s second Seuls en Scène - French Theater Festival from September 21 through 29, at venues on the University’s campus. All performances will be in French. The event is free and open to the public.
The Festival brings celebrated French actors and directors, as well as a new generation of artists, to the University and local community. This year’s festival includes a classic play by Marivaux, original works by up-and-coming directors and playwrights, and texts by Valère Novarina, Marguerite Duras, Molière, and Jean Vilar. Discussions with the artistic teams of the shows will follow a number of the performances. Marking the launch of the 13th season of the student French theater workshop, L’Avant-Scène, the Festival has been organized by the workshop’s director, Florent Masse, Senior Lecturer in Princeton’s Department of French and Italian.
Clément Hervieu-Léger, a member of the Comédie-Française, will direct Marivaux’s classic, L’Épreuve, on September 21 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. This production of one of Marivaux’s later plays exploring the intricacies of the human soul has won critical acclaim throughout France, from its opening night in the Normandy region in January 2012 to its reprise at the Théâtre de l’Ouest Parisien last January. The cast includes both accomplished and rising stage and screen actors including Loic Corbery, Audrey Bonnet, Daniel San Pedro, Adeline Chagneaux, Stanley Weber, and Nada Strancar.
Guillaume Vincent will direct Rendez-vous gare de l’Est, on September 22 at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Vincent represents a new generation of directors who are renewing French theater by marrying its traditions with aesthetics from elsewhere on the contemporary European arts scene. Written by Vincent and performed by Émilie Incerti Formentini, the monologue is based on a six-month-long interview process and tells the story of a thirty-something woman sharing her experiences as someone with bi-polar disorder. The play was an instant hit when it premiered last January at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord.
Actor Stanislas Roquette returns to Princeton’s French Theater Festival as both a director and a performer. In La Machine de l’homme, Roquette directs fellow actor Stanislas Siwiorek in a one-man show that explores the passionate and complex relationship between Jean Vilar, one of the leading figures of twentieth century French theater, and Molière’s Don Juan. The show, based on texts by Jean Vilar and excerpts from Molière’s masterpiece, will be performed on September 28 at 8 p.m. and September 29 at 8 p.m. Co-created by Roquette and Siwiorek, the play was performed to critical acclaim at this year’s Avignon Theater Festival.
L’Inquiétude, presented at the 2012 Avignon Festival and created by Céline Schaeffer and Stanislas Roquette, is an adaptation for the stage of the second part of the Le Discours aux animaux by playwright Valère Novarina, winner of the 2011 Prix de littérature francophone Jean Arp. It will be directed by Schaeffer (who has been Novarina’s artistic collaborator for 15 years) and performed by Roquette. The monologue, based on a child’s outbursts about animals, nature, and the challenges of growing up, will be performed outdoors on September 29 at 5 p.m. at the Butler College Amphitheatre.
Pierre Giafferi, Clément Bondu, Hélène Rencurel, and Julien Drion, recent graduates of the Paris National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, will perform two short plays, Les Mains négatives and Aujourd'hui est un autre jour (c’était mieux demain). The former is an adaptation from two texts by Marguerite Duras (Les Mains negatives and La Musica), and the latter a musical poem in multiple voices by Clément Bondu. Both shows will be presented together at 8 p.m. on September 25 and September 26.
During the Festival the visiting artists will offer master classes and coaching for Princeton students, as well as participate in theater classes.
In connection with Princeton’s Festival, New York University’s Maison Française will present “Clément Hervieu-Léger and Loic Corbery in Conversation with Florent Masse” on September 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Maison Française, 16 Washington Mews in New York City. The conversation will be in French.
Masse, who curated the Festival, was trained as an actor and director at Lille National Theater under Daniel Mesguich and later pursued theater studies at Amherst College as a Levy-Despas Fellows and teaching assistant in the Department of French. While at Amherst he originated L’Avant-Scène, which combines linguistic and dramatic training. He has directed more than 30 student productions of classical French theater scenes and full-length plays of some of the most important works in the French theatrical canon.
Upcoming L’Avant- Scène productions include On ne badine pas avec l’amour by Alfred de Musset on October 11 and 12, La surprise de l’amour by Marivaux on October 17 and 18, a new version of Racine’s Phèdre at the Princeton University Art Museum in February, and Feydeau’s Le Dindon in March. In early May, L’Avant-Scène’s season will culminate with performances of Ma chambre froide by leading French contemporary playwright Joël Pommerat, whose Cinderella/Cendrillon will debut this season at the New York Theater Workshop.
The Festival is a collaboration between the Lewis Center, the Department of French and Italian, and L’Avant-Scène through the Lewis Center’s Arts Initiative Partners program. Additional support is provided by Princeton University’s Council of the Humanities, the Center for French Studies, and the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, as well as the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Institut français, and ODIA Normandie.
Most Festival performances will take place in the Marie and Edward Matthews ’53 Acting Studio at 185 Nassau Street. L’Inquiétude will be performed at the Butler College Memorial Court outdoor theater. Admission to all events is free but reservations are strongly recommended by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org Subject Line: Festival.
Link to photos: https://lca.sharefile.com/d/s3925b57b0be4562b
Photo caption 1: Stanislas Roquette in L’Inquiétude being performed on September 29 as part of Seuls en Scène - Princeton French Theater Festival at Princeton University
Photo credit 1: Photo by Brigitte Enguerand
Photo caption 2: Adeline Chagneau, Stanley Weber, Audrey Bonnet, and Loic Corbery (left to right) in Marivaux’s L’Épreuve being performed on September 21 as part of Seuls en Scène - Princeton French Theater Festival at Princeton University
Photo credit 2: Photo by Brigitte Enguerand