Lifestyle

Moving to London

I spent my final evening in Paris at Hôtel de Crillon. It is a gorgeous place situated at Place de la Concorde. I was celebrating the most rewarding year of my life. I had lived in the most glamorous city in the world; met some profoundly inspiring individuals that I’m now honored to call friends; seen all this great beauty that genius created, time was kind to, and man has marveled at for centuries. It is humbling and awe-inspiring to stand before the countless masterpieces which hang inside museums, complement their façade, are performed on stage; which painters, sculptors, architects, writers, composers, dancers, all sorts of designers created to bring joy to those who have eyes for their splendour.

I lived in a Paris created by painters, writers and film-makers. Paris evokes a vision of the roaring 20’s, gorgeous 30’s, wartime 40’s, and sophisticated 50’s. The smoky cabarets, busy restaurants, tortured poets, passionate love affairs, top hats and fur coats bobbing out of noisy fiacres in rainy streets create a bohemian reality that its inhabitants still cling to. Who could imagine what it would be like to see Paris without having read about it, seen it represented, first? Gratitude envelops you each time you recall the overwhelming fact of being here and now to appreciate the past and dream about the future.

I’d walk up and down “les rues” and as I put each foot down I’d think, this is where Hemingway put his foot, this is where Dietrich put hers. I’d pass a bar that was once swinging under the rhythm of Cole Porter and Gershwin. I’d stroll along rue Saint-Honoré which suddenly seems more alive than ever on Pissarro’s canvases, I’d descend rue Lepic where little has changed since van Gogh lived at number 54.

Paris is the one place I’ve truly felt at home and I now have to leave it. London is my next stop, where my studies in Photography have taken me. It’s not a farewell, it’s just a temporary goodbye.

A night out at Theatre Hébertot

I have always wondered what it would be like seeing a critically acclaimed play in a true Parisian theatre house. I'm so in awe with that craft and sadly, I've seen very little of it. Apart from my confirmed interest in the art form, I've longed to get into a theatre hall furnished in red velvet, illuminated by crystal chandeliers hanging across lavishly decorated balconies. Thankfully, the French have this penchant for preserving the original décor as it was once built - at least 2 centuries ago, which allows for a trip back in time.

A weekend ago, I was able to cross the experience off my bucket list after accompanying a friend to the Théâtre Hébertot to see the premiere of Les Inséparables. The play is a masterpiece in every sense - the writing and dialogue are compelling, a comfortable mix between humour and poignant drama; the directing and staging are thrilling - with the stage turning under harsh lights and shadows each time the audience is being prepared to switch the present and the past; and the acting is superb - so much that a 10-minute standing ovation closed the show!

The story plot is complicated and frankly, too long to describe but at any rate it's terribly French - it revolves around painters trying to make sense of some dramatic events in the family history. The action's set in a painter's studio in Montmartre and honestly, I couldn't wish for a better introduction to Parisian theatre life.

The theatre, itself a must-see landmark, was completed in 1838. Following some changes in its name, it acquired its present title in 1940 after the playwright and journalist Jacques Hébertot. As it turns out, the Hébertot is among the few local theaters that present plays in English as well as in French. (On a side note, in the 1950's, Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night was performed here - you cannot fathom how badly I need someone to start a petition to bring the play to this city ASAP)

The evening was pretty amazing, not only thanks to the performance, but also owing to the fact that we got an autograph from one of the leading actors on our tickets! It will positively remain a memorable experience! And I'm definitely looking forward to the next play I'm about to attend!