2020: A Theater of the Absurd for Europe’s Playhouses
Certain, we’ve realized to embrace Zoom and YouTube to savor digital productions, that are preferable to none in any respect. However London feels able to return to full theatrical kind as quickly as circumstances permit — and if not? Effectively, this unusual new regular ought to give Britain’s playwrights one thing to put in writing about, for a protracted whereas to come back.
Laura Cappelle, Paris Theater Critic
On paper, French theater has been comparatively fortunate on this pandemic yr. Buoyed by excessive ranges of public funding for the humanities and rounds of presidency assist, most venues resumed performances between the nation’s first lockdown, from March to Might, and the second, which began in late October. No main firm or theater has been compelled to shut its doorways completely (but). That’s greater than many Western international locations can say.
But 2020 typically felt like “Groundhog Day” — a endless grind of closures, reopenings, restrictions and curfews which, primarily based on conversations with artists and directors, has left many bone drained. Perceived slights to the tradition sector, so integral to France’s id, have bred resentment. Whereas the nation’s new tradition minister, Roselyne Bachelot, appointed final July, scored factors with the sector in the summertime and early fall, the deliberate reopening of theaters and cinemas in December has now been postponed till January on the earliest, and the grumbling has returned.
When theaters might welcome audiences, their hit fee appeared larger than in previous seasons: Maybe shortage heightened the thill. In early October, the Comédie-Française troupe teamed up with the movie director Christophe Honoré for “The Guermantes Method,” a Proust adaptation that struck the proper steadiness between immersion and irreverence. On the Théâtre Gérard Philipe, Margaux Eskenazi and Alice Carré tackled the legacy of the Algerian decolonization conflict with nice finesse in “And the Coronary heart Is Nonetheless Steaming.”
Comedy, in the meantime, typically felt like a public service. From a heat reinvention of an 18th-century unique (Emmanuelle Bayamack-Tam’s “À l’Abordage!”) to the absurd humor of the superb Chiens de Navarre collective, comedians performed their half in holding us sane.
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