Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Multi-Media Experience

Last Sunday we watched one of our own perform on stage in Paris. It was a real experience on various levels: electronic, artistic, linguistic, and personal. The event was a performance of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House at La Colline, Théâtre Nationale. The play is still running there now. Sunday's performance was broadcast on streaming video live, and we watched it here in the Detroit metro area—Brigitte and I on a computer screen, John and Monique (who have better technology) on a large LCD television screen. The play, of course, was performed in French. It is directed by Stéphane Braunschweig, one of France’s prominent directors of plays and operas. We thought this production superb in every regard—the sets, the imaginative use of light, fantastic acting, and (not least) very good camera work in support of the video streaming. I’ve managed to get some photos of the play to show here.

The first shows (l-r) Phillip Girard as Doctor Rank, Chloé Réjon as Nora, and Éric Caruso as Helmer, her husband. In the next we see our own Thierry Paret, our Michelle’s husband, who plays Krogstad. Krogstad is the plot-maker of the play, you might say, the creator of the conflict that leads to the “doll’s” courageous self-assertion in this classic of feminism at the roots. In the last we see Nora again, alone.  These shots from a distance provide a fairly good feel for the way this play was staged and the importance that lighting played. Alas, the pictures are small, the faces almost invisible, but with Thierry, at least, we can show you a closeup. Here he is, not acting at all:

The play was also a linguistic experience. We watched it holding a copy of The Doll’s House and frequently checking the dialogues in order to keep track of the meaning of the action. It was hard to do because the acting was so riveting and the emotions told most of the story.

The personal aspects of this experience? Great satisfaction! Michelle and Thierry are far away. Thierry's profession is entirely woven into the artistic realities of France, which are not easily accessible here—and principally for linguistic reasons. It gives us very great pleasure to watch him perform, especially when, as in this case, we could see his every expression thanks to the skill of the people wielding the camera.


  1. It was particularly great to have the camera move close in on each actor during important moments. I am certain that we had a better view even than many in the audience. And to make things almost perfect we had the English version of the play to read along with the French on stage.
    Thanks Michelle for alerting us, and great work Thierry. This was even better than the play I saw you in at Besancon (sp ?) many years ago...

  2. Still no flying car in my driveway, but watching the French national theater perform live on our big flat-screen tv here in Michigan felt like a very 21st-century moment.

    BTW, Michelle said that she and Thierry ran into the camera crew after the play, and that they were thrilled to hear that they had viewers in Michigan.

  3. I just must add my voice here, to praise the performances, the theater's efforts in streaming it live, and to Michelle for giving us a heads up. What fun that was!