28 March 2008

All the World's Stages

Yesterday I went to a play at Angers' newest theatre, Le Quai. It's a very modern building on the other side of the river from the castle, and it's a nice venue. Why did I go to a play? Because yesterday morning my translation teacher opened the class with "I have two tickets to a play tonight. It's gotten good reviews. Free to whoever wants them." So I volunteered to take them off his hands :) The first friend I encountered who could go was Katie from Ireland, so we went together.

The play is called Derniers remords avant l'oubli (Last Regrets Before Oblivion), and it's basically a play-length character study, mostly in monologue. The plot is simple: two guys and a girl had bought a house together when they were lovers, and now, years later, one of the guys is still living there. The other guy and the girl come back with their respective spouses, and try to convince the stubborn guy that they should sell. So it's all discussions and arguments, and it was really well done. It may sound like a rather depressing set-up, but it was really funny. My favorite character was the husband of the girl, who was the most constant comic relief. He's the type who misspeaks a lot and doesn't like silence, so he rambled on and on in a really funny way. The best scene was between him and the other guy's wife, who obviously was quite comfortable with silence. Have you ever been to a play that seemed to go really fast? The type where you look at your watch when it ends and are surprised to discover that an hour and a half had already gone past... it was that kind of play.

The theatre itself was unlike anything I'd seen. Stadium seating that was quite steep, so everyone had a good view. The entire thing, walls, ceiling and floor, was black. The main "room" of the set was created by light alone. The set was a table with two chairs, an armchair, and one more chair. The garden was a triangle of stones in the corner of the "room." So it crunched when they had to walk on it, and every so often stones would leave their border.

My favorite thing, actually, was the way the play was written to include the audience. Some lines were addressed directly to the audience, "You don't know him, but I can assure you that he's stubborn," then to the character, "You are SO stubborn." Like that. It brought us closer and made us appreciate it more, I think. At one point, someone in the audience sneezed and the actor paused his monologue to say "Bless you."

The only "problem" was that the play (and long curtain call) ended about five minutes before my bus was going to pass: my choice was 9:58 or 11:15, so I really wanted to make it! Katie and I speed-walked up the hill to the castle, but saw the bus pass by when I was about hundred yards away. So I got to walk home, which takes 45 minutes. Oh well. I gave the empty streets of Angers a nice long lip-sync concert of an iPod playlist as I walked.

Today is a very businessy day. My inbox is packed, I have train tickets to buy, homework to do, grocery shopping to fit in, and choir practice at the end of it all. If you, unlike me, have time on your hands, there's plenty of new procrastination material at my other blog, Procrastination, Made Simple. Enjoy!

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