The Seuls en Scene French Theater Festival returns to Princeton University on Friday, September 15, with one of the most interesting and noteworthy offerings in the region: two weeks of contemporary theater performed by established and up and coming French performers and theater companies — presented in various venues in either French, French with English subtitles, or in English. And the cost is free.
Presented by Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts, the Department of French and Italian, and the university’s L’Avant-Scene program, the French Theater Festival is now celebrating its sixth anniversary. It is coordinated by Florent Masse, who trained in French theater prior to arriving at Princeton University.
The schedule is as follows:
Friday and Saturday, September 15 and 16, 8 p.m.: “Interview,” by playwright Nicolas Truong, known for his acute understanding of 20th and 21st century philosophy, with performances by French stage and film performers Judith Henry and Nicolas Bouchaud. Matthews Acting Studio, 185 Nassau Street. 90 minutes, no intermission. Performed in French.
Wednesday and Thursday, September 20 and 21, 8 p.m.: “L’Art du theatre & Le debut de l’A,” with director, choreographer, and playwright Pascal Rambert presenting a reading of a new play featuring award-winning stage and film performer Marina Hands, Matthews Acting Studio, 185 Nassau Street. 100 minutes with intermission between the two shows. French with English subtitles.
Friday and Saturday, September 22 and September 23, 8 p.m.: “By Heart,” playwright and theater director Tiago Rodrigues’ new work performed by his Teatro Nacional D. Maria II Lisboa, Portugal. Matthews Acting Studio, 185 Nassau Street. 75 minutes, no intermission. September 22 in French, September 23 in English.
Saturday, September 23, 2 p.m., and Sunday, September 24, 5 p.m.: “Promethee Enchaine” and “Les Suppliantes,” Avignon Theater Festival artistic director and playwright Olivier Py’s direction of two works inspired by the same ancient Greek plays by Aeschylus. Butler College Amphitheater (rain location to be announced). Two approximately 50-minute works divided by an Intermission. French with English subtitles.
Tuesday and Wednesday, September 26 and 27, 8 p.m.: “Unwanted,” Dorothee Munyaneza performs a work giving voice to the women of the Rwandan genocide. Also contributing to the production are visual artist Bruce Clarke, composer Alain Mahe, and Afro-American musician Holland Andrews. Matthews Acting Studio, 185 Nassau Street. 80 minutes, no intermission. In English.
Thursday and Friday, September 28 and 29, 8 p.m.: “ Portrait(s) Foucault – Letzlove,” Comedie de Caen and Comedie de Saint-Etienne-supported actor director Pierre Maillet’s stage discussion of a young hitchhiker and his seemingly casual discussion with French philosopher Michel Foucault. Matthews Acting Studio, 185 Nassau Street. 80 minutes, no intermission. In French.
Friday, September 29, 5 p.m.: A Staged Reading, Guillaume Vincent — Emilie Incerti Formentini. Whitman College Class of 1970 Theater. 60 minutes, no intermission. In French.
Saturday, September 30, 4 and 8 p.m.: “Myrrha,” noted cutting edge stage director Guillaume Vincent presents excerpts from his recent work “Songes et Metamorphoses” based on episodes of the Roman poet Ovid’s series of tales. Whitman College Class of 1970 Theater. 60 minutes, no intermission. In French.
Admission to all festival events is free but reservations are required. arts.princeton.edu/frenchtheater. For more information on the festival, contact Florent Masse, Department of French and Italian: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And as an encore, L’Avant Scene will offer more French drama Saturday, October 7, at 4 p.m., in the new Godfrey Kerr Theater Studio, as part of the Lewis Center for the Arts opening weekend.
The French theater workshop will present an English translation by Princeton senior Marc Desitre of key scenes from Phaedre by Jean Racine. The work-in-progress performance, directed by faculty member Florent Masse, is based on the “cours d’interpretation” used by French conservatories.