L’Avant-Scène, The French Theater Workshop at Princeton
L’Avant-Scène, the Department’s French Theater Workshop formerly known as L’Atelier, is a theater program that offers students an original combination of linguistic and dramatic training. Based on the “cours d’interprétation” used by the French conservatories, L’Avant-Scène introduces students to acting techniques and allows them to discover the richness of the French dramatic repertoire. Offered exclusively in French, it gives French language students a chance to improve language skills.
Created on the Princeton University campus in the fall of 2001, the program has produced two dozens student productions of both recitals of Classical French theater scenes and full-length productions of some of the most popular and ambitious plays in the French theatrical canon, including: Feydeau’s “Le Dindon,” “Un fil à la patte,” and “Feu la mère de madame,” Molière’s “Le Tartuffe,” “Le malade imaginaire,” “Dom Juan,” and “Le Misanthrope,” Racine’s “Andromaque,” and “Phèdre,” Marivaux’s “Le jeu de l’amour et du hasard,” Koltès’ “Dans la solitude des champs de coton,” and “Roberto Zucco,” and Lagarce’s “Juste la fin du monde.”
Today, L’Avant-Scène is composed of two distinct entities: Fre/Thr 211, and the extra-curricular Troupe. In the course Fre/Thr 211 French Theater Workshop, students divide their time between class meetings, weekly private rehearsals and short sessions at the language laboratory. At the end of the semester, students perform their work in the course: a collection of scenes from classical and modern French theater. Interested students must contact Florent Masse to apply and schedule an interview.
The Troupe of L’Avant-Scène brings together advanced students in their second, third or even fourth year in the program to perform full-length plays from the classical and modern French theater canon. As a troupe it resembles other performing arts student groups on campus, and demands a special level of dedication throughout the academic year. New students may be admitted in the troupe at the discretion of the director, but spaces are limited.
Florent Masse, a senior lecturer in the Department of French and Italian, teaches and directs the program. For more information, please visit L’Avant-Scene’s website: