theatre

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!