Love’s labors won, live from 1740

Paris is a small city with over 200 theaters.  Even so, for many shows you must reserve months in advance.  The ‘salles’ range from the two Operas, Chaillot, Theatre de Ville, Monfort and other classy venues to the hundred plus tiny boxes you wouldn’t see unless you were looking with flashlight and address in hand.  So the ‘Comedie de Tour Eiffel’ in a dark charmless side street, where five actors are putting on L’Epreuve’, the Test, by Marivaux.  An airless space that can pack about fifty spectators.  Sold out tonight.  The street door opens abruptly onto backstage.  Coming in from waiting in the cold you march across the 15 x 10 black floor to take a seat on steep raked benches.  Many schoolchildren in audience, brought by parents.  Round cheeks, eyeglasses and pony-tails. Soaking up the wit and syntax of French as ‘twas before ‘texting’.  Nudging at the jokes.  The director redirected this cruel little love farce to the 1920’s, in plus-fours, a nice notion.  For his living, the director works setting plays in many of these tiny boxes, he gives acting lessons, and he coaches corporate executives on how to feel/act human.

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