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Seuls en Scène - Princeton French Theater Festival
Lewis Center for the Arts, Department of French and Italian, and L’Avant-Scène Collaborate to bring new French theater works to Princeton

(Princeton, NJ)  French theater will take center stage this fall at Princeton University, launching with a five-day French Theater Festival, Seuls en Scène, from September 25 through 29.  The university’s French student theater workshop, L’Avant-Scène, will present the Molière comedies L’Ecole des Femmes (School for Wives) in October and Les Femmes savants (The Learned Ladies) in December.  In November the Lewis Center’s Program in Theater will present a new version by James Magruder of Molière’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, entitled Der Bourgeois Bigwig.  Also in November well-known French actor Guillaume Gallienne will be in residence at Princeton.
 
The Princeton French Theater Festival, which is free and open to the public, will bring a new generation of French actors and directors to the university and local community.  The Festival has been organized by Florent Masse, Senior Lecturer in the Department of French and Italian and director of L’Avant-Scène.  Performances will be in French.
 
Actor Stanislas Roquette will perform in two shows directed by French scholar, author and director Denis Guénoun that are currently touring national theaters in France, including Théâtre National de Chaillot, Paris, and Théâtre National Populaire, Villeurbanne.  The first of these shows is Qu'est-ce que le temps? Le Livre XI des Confessions d'Augustin, which explores the autobiography of St. Augustine and will be performed on September 27 at 10:00 p.m.  The second show to be performed by Roquette, Artaud-Barrault, is based on letters between Jean-Louis Barrault, considered the greatest French actor of the twentieth century, and Antonin Artaud, the visionary theater director and philosopher, and is being performed on September 29 at 5:00 and 8:00 p.m.
 
Louis Arène, a former student of the Paris National Conservatory for Dramatic Arts (CNSAD), who just joined the Comédie-Française, will perform his one-man show La dernière berceuse on September 25 at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. This show, which tells the story of a struggling young actor encouraging himself to believe in his craft, has won critical acclaim in theater festivals in France and across Europe.
 
Two monologues by other former CNSAD students will complete the program.  Elie Triffault will present Faust, his one-man reflection on Goethe’s masterpiece, with texts by Dante, Gérard de Nerval and Heiner Müller, on September 26 at 8:00 p.m. and September 27 at 5:00 p.m.  Victoire Du Bois will present Hope, a performance developed with her former drama teacher Delphine Eliet in which an 88-year old woman who lives in a public bathroom recounts her life as a prominent gangster.  Eliet is the director of L’École du Jeu, a new private drama school in Paris whose innovative pedagogy has won acclaim and recognition in the profession.  Hope will be performed on September 26 at 6:00 p.m. and September 27 at 7:00 p.m.
 
The Festival will open on September 25 at 4.30 p.m. with a panel discussion, “French Theater Today – Meet the Artists of the Festival Seuls en Scène” moderated by Masse in East Pyne, Room 010.  All four actors performing will participate in the panel discussion, which will be in English.
 
The Festival is being presented as 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, which annually seeks unique arts partnership projects with other university departments and affiliated groups and individuals.  Additional support is provided by Cultural Services of the French Embassy. 
 
Masse, who curated the Festival, was trained as an actor and director at Lille National Theater under Daniel Mesguich and later pursued his theater studies at Amherst College as a Levy-Despas Fellow and teaching assistant in the Department of French. It is there he originated the program of L’Avant-Scene, which combines linguistic and dramatic training.  He has directed three dozen student productions of both recitals of classical French theater scenes and full-length plays of some of the most popular works in the French theatrical canon.
 
Most Festival performances will take place in the Lewis Center’s Marie and Edward Matthews ’53 Acting Studio at 185 Nassau Street.   Qu’est-ce que le temps? will be performed at the Whitman College Class of 1970 Theater.  Admission is free but reservations are strongly recommended by sending an email with the Subject Line: Festival.
 
The Theater Program’s production of Der Bourgeois Bigwig represents the world premiere of a new English version by playwright James Magruder of Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Richard Strauss’ Der Bürger als Edelmann.  The Hoffmansthal/Strauss version was itself an early 20th-century musical adaptation of one of Molière’s 17th-century comédie-ballets, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, which satirizes attempts at social climbing, poking fun both at a pretentious middle-class and a snobbish aristocracy.  Although Strauss’ music for the show was much admired and became the basis of a well-loved orchestral suite, Hoffmansthal’s book never worked. The Program in Theater turned to Magruder to help remedy that problem, allowing Strauss’ music to once again be heard in relation to the story it was written to serve, told by Magruder with a few new twists and turns.
 
Magruder is best known for his versions of plays by Molière, Marivaux, and Gozzi; his Three French Comedies (Yale University Press) was named an "Outstanding Literary Translation" by the American Literary Translators Association, while his musical version of Marivaux’s Triumph of Love appeared on Broadway.  Der Bourgeois Bigwig will be directed by Tim Vasen, Director of the Program in Theater, renowned for helming the university’s productions of Boris Godunov and Eugene Onegin.  The Princeton University Orchestra, conducted by Michael Pratt of the Department of Music, will perform the musical score and be an integral part of the on-stage performance. 
 
This lavish production, running November 9 through 17 at the Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center, will also feature choreography by Princeton senior Lily Ackerman.  Tickets are $15, $10 for students and seniors and will be available through Princeton University Ticketing.
 
L’Avant-Scène, founded at Princeton in 2001 and directed by Masse, is a unique student theater workshop in which Princeton students study linguistics and drama and perform works from the French theatrical canon in French.  They will perform the two Molière comedies L’Ecole des Femmes (School for Wives) on October 18 through 20 at 8:00 p.m. at the Matthews Acting Studio and an adapted, abridged version of Les Femmes savants (The Learned Ladies) on December 13 at 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at the Rocky/Mathey Theater.
 
On November 5 through 10 the Princeton Council for the Humanities will host well-known Comédie-Française actor Guillaume Gallienne.  Gallienne will discuss his recent theatrical and film projects in conversation with Masse on Wednesday, November 7 at 4:30 p.m. in French, and on Thursday, November 8 at 4:30 p.m. in English, both held in East Pyne 010.  At the Comedie-Francaise, Gallienne recently performed in Chekhov’s The Three Sisters, Goldoni’s La Trilogie de la Villegiature, Naomi Wallace’s One Flee Spare, and Feydeau’s Un Fil à la patte for which he won a Molière Award for best supporting performance by an actor.  Gallienne produces the popular weekly radio show on France-Inter Ca peut pas faire de mal and just completed filming an adaptation of his play Les Garçon et Guillaume a table!  During his residency at Princeton, he will offer master classes for students from L’Avant-Scène and the Program in Theater on Chekhov, Shakespeare, Molière and Corneille.


EVENT INFORMATION


SEULS EN SCÈNE PRINCETON FRENCH THEATER FESTIVAL
 
Tuesday, September 25
4.30pm: French Theater today – Meet the artists of the Festival Seuls en Scène – a panel discussion moderated by Florent Masse, Princeton University – East Pyne 010
7:00 pm : La Dernière berceuse – Louis Arène – Marie and Edward Matthews ‘53 Acting Studio
9:00pm : La Dernière berceuse – Louis Arène – Marie and Edward Matthews ‘53 Acting Studio
 
Wednesday, September 26
6:00 pm: Hope – Victoire Du Bois/Delphine Eliet – Marie and Edward Matthews ‘53 Acting Studio
8:00 pm: Faust – Elie Triffault – Marie and Edward Matthews ‘53 Acting Studio
 
Thursday, September 27
5:00 pm: Faust – Elie Triffault – Marie and Edward Matthews ‘53 Acting Studio
7:00pm: Hope – Victoire Du Bois/Delphine Eliet – Marie and Edward Matthews ‘53 Acting Studio
10:00pm: Qu’est-ce que le temps? Le Livre XI des Confessions d’Augustin – Stanislas Roquette/Denis Guénoun – Whitman College Class of 1970 Theater
 
Saturday, September 29
5:00 pm: Artaud-Barrault – Stanislas Roquette/Denis Guénoun – Marie and Edward Matthews ‘53 Acting Studio
8:00 pm: Artaud-Barrault – Stanislas Roquette/Denis Guénoun – Marie and Edward Matthews ‘53 Acting Studio
 
Admission is free but reservations are strongly recommended by sending an email to L’Avant-Scène at ftw@princeton.edu Subject Line: Festival.
 
 
DER BOURGEOIS BIGWIG
November 9, 10, 15, 16 & 17
8:00 p.m.
Berlind Theater at McCarter Theater Center
World premiere of James Magruder's new version of the Moliere comedy Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, satirizing pretentious social climbing, united with Richard Strauss' well-loved orchestral suite performed by the Princeton University Orchestra.  Directed by Tim Vasen, Director of the Program in Theater, with Michael Pratt conducting and choreography by Lily Akerman '13
Tickets: $15, $10 students and seniors through University Ticketing: princeton.edu/utickets/
 
L’AVANT-SCENE
 
L’École des Femmes by Molière
October 18-20
8:00 p.m.
Marie and Edward Matthews ‘53 Acting Studio
185 Nassau Street
Admission is free but reservations are strongly recommended by sending an email to L’Avant-Scène at ftw@princeton.edu Subject Line: Festival.
 
Guillaume Gallienne in Conversation with Florent Masse
November 7, 2012 at 430pm East Pyne 010 (In English)
November 8, 2012 at 4:30pm East Pyne 010 (In French)
Actor from La Comédie-Française and short-term Fellow in the Humanities Council discusses his recent stage and film work
Free
 
Les Femmes Savantes by Molière
An adapted and abridged version
December 13
6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Rocky/Mathey Theater
Admission is free but reservations are strongly recommended by sending an email to L’Avant-Scène at ftw@princeton.edu Subject Line: Festival.
 
 
 

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