I have a thing for Shakespeare. I’ve had it since I was about 9 years old and realized that I’d wormed my way through all the books in the (very tiny) young adult book section of our neighborhood library. After all Romeo and Juliette were only 14 when their story unfolded, so how “mature” could the stories be. Not at all, really. Two teens off themselves because they’re too impatient to check for a pulse. Boy, did that annoy me! But I was smitten, completely taken with the language.
Living in Paris you’d think I’d miss it, but I was always the first mom to volunteer when the girls’ classes would got to London for an afternoon performance at The Globe. Oddly, most parents are not thrilled at the aspect of herding 100 rambunctious teens to a frigid train station at 7am, hustling them through border patrol, and then keeping them in line as they are given 2 hours of free time just a few kilometers from Top Shop and around the corner from a pub. And that’s before the show even started. Its exhausting work, but I did it twice, in then name of the Bard.
Which is why I was thrilled when Cara Black told me that her friend Johanna Bartholomew was putting on an English language production of The Temptest right here in Paris. No trains. No teens. And I could go with my favorite partner in soirées Out and About in Paris.
I am always delightfully surprised when I attend a live performance in Paris. I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed and this time my luck held out. A professional cast of 5 hailing from England, Australia, Canada and France led us in this Brave New World. Joanna was incredible, casting magic across the stage as the Sprite Ariel while Nicholas Calderbank’s poise was perfect for Prospero. The surprising actor Dario Costa would go from the sick and twisted Caliban to the elegant Prince of Naples with a quick twist of his lips. Director Rona Waddington kept the stage bare and the cast to a minimum allowing the audience to really concentrate on the performances and the play. Because the play’s the thing.
The performance is held in an atmospheric, pocket sized theater nestled under the vaulted stone ceilings in the basement of a centuries old building; Théâtre de Nesle in the 6th arrondissement. Tickets are 20€, with two for the price of one. Performances run Wed-Sat at 19h30 until Dec 28 and over all the evening is considerably more enjoyable than anything to be experienced in getting thee to a nunnery.