November 8, 04
Vol. 20 , No. 05
View Entire Issue (Vol. 20 , No. 05)
Theatre de la Chandelle Verte: Six Short Plays by Jean-Michel Ribes
CHRISTINE IADEROSA, director
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2004
The Theatre de la Chandelle Verte, featuring Francine Conley and June Miyasaki, presents a collection of six short plays by one of France's leading contemporary playwrights, Jean-Michel Ribes. These pieces, chosen from Ribes's Theatre Sans Animaux (2001) and Sans m'en apercevoir, are inventive and adventurous, funny and sad; together they offer the spectator an unexpected view of the world amid novel twists of language. Ribes was named the Director of the Theatre du Rond-Point by the Mayor of Paris and the Minister of Culture in 2001, and in the same year was granted the Plaisir du Theatre award for his oeuvre. In 2002, he won the prestigious Grand Prix Theatre de l'Academie Francaise.
Vaudeville is the framework for this show, a theatrical form which aptly permits the imaginative juxtaposition of the expected and the unexpected by taking an ordinary event or moment and turning it into something extraordinary by framing it as stage comedy. In this selection of Ribes' work, the text takes an extraordinary eventó a momentó and attempts to frame it in ordinary settings. "I love sparks from a short-circuit, buildings that fall, people who unexpectedly slip or fly off, those sudden bursts of energy. These delicious little moments that tell us the world is not completely anticipated and that there are still some places where reality has not closed its gates upon our heads," says Ribes about this work. Each of the six texts presented here are "scraps" of ideas, sewn together by the vaudevillian's wink and smile. Christian Dumont of Theatre-en-Scene writes: "Jean-Michcl Ribes excels in the art of provoking laughter by creating, in several little scenes, a succession of curious accidents that arise from the derailing of everyday events that decide to follow strange and hilarious side routes where an impeccable cast frolics and flirts with glee."
Inspired by the galvanizing spirit of Ubu in Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi (1896) who exclaims at every turn, "De par ma chandelle verte!," the Theatre de la Chandelle Verte is a troupe committed to the educational mission of promoting French-language theatre to university audiences nationwide, and to the creation of performances that are visually spectacular and intellectually stimulating. Since 2001, the company has created and toured innovative interpretations of works such as Jean-Paul Sartre's Huis Clos (1944) and Pierre Corneille's L'illusion comique (1636). The company was founded by four Ph.D. French graduates of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, including Jodi Samuels, Francine Conley, Christian Haugh, and June Miyasaki (of CMC), all specialists in French and Francophone literature and/or theatre, who had been collaborating since 1991 on a variety of French and Francophone productions. Audiences are guaranteed to learn about the vital and imaginative place of French theatre today. Performance is in French.