Lately, I've been going back to the theater.
Yeah, I don't know what's gotten into me! Probably the onset of depression.
I've seen some fantastic stuff – including I Wish I Were Jeff Bezos which is currently playing, go check it out!
And then I saw... Edmond.
It's the hugely successful play by this wildly successful playwright who only produces hits. Honestly, I was thrilled at the idea of sharing the love for a popular show with the rest of France. I was going to laugh, be moved, and engage in café conversations by shouting, "I've seen it too!" and we'd reminisce about the best moments, laughing together. I might even have made some new friends.
And then... plop.
It's always tricky to speak ill of a play that so many people have loved. To keep it restrained, I'll simply say this:
This play is garbage and everyone who liked it is a fool.
Oh well, no new friends for me.
To keep it brief: I found the script sluggish, the humor painfully forced, relying on accents that drool and lame jokes. It's another remake of "Shakespeare in Love" except the connections between the author's life and his work are artificial and anecdotal – a clumsy device that serves as an excuse for predictable twists.
All of this is performed by actors – all very talented, I'm sure – who take turns from one performance to another in what has become industrial theater.
On the "plus" side: yes, the staging is dynamic, very cinematic, scenes flowing like in a film with music that sounds like a soundtrack. It's like cinema recreated in the theater. Why not.
Then I went to see A Flea in Her Ear at the Comédie-Française.
The text is long – over two hours – but a real delight. You can feel a troupe that has had the time to work on every scene, every line, every line to get the maximum comedic effect – that's what public theater is for. You're surprised by unexpected shifts, gestures, sometimes even stunts that emphasize and invigorate the text, making it lively, accessible, and modern.
And the venue. I had forgotten how beautiful it is.
Well, I might be a bit harsh on Edmond. It's still well-constructed, well-directed, and visually pleasing. It's a show. If you go with friends, you'll probably have a good evening. And above all, when you leave, don't forget to delete my number.