- PERFORMING ARTS
“On March 23rd of last year, fourteen black women, all together, and at the same time, and by a single movement, threw themselves into the sea from above the stern deck...We took whatever diligence we could, but with the seas being extremely heavy and turbulent and with winds tormenting our ship, the sharks had already eaten many of them before we had even embarked, however, we managed to be able to save seven of them, one of whom died at seven o’clock at night while she was saved, eight of the lost were found.” (Excerpt from Louis Mosnier’s logbook, captain of the slave ship Le Soleil). This mise-en-espace of Fabienne Kanor's novel HUMUS is the U.S premiere staged by Jean Xavier Brager. Born in France of Martinican descent, FABIENNE KANOR is a multi-award winning writer who has published seven novels, including children’s fiction. She is also a filmmaker whose documentaries have aired on French TV networks. In 2010, she was distinguished as a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture. She has just been awarded Le Prix Carbet de la Caraïbe et du Tout-Monde.
The US premiere of Couples, directed by French guest director Jean Xavier Brager took place in April 2012 at Ascension Community Theater. As part of the ACT’N Translation series, the play, originally written by Académie Française Member Danièle Sallenave, has been adapted and translated by H. Aaron Ambeau and Jean Xavier Brager. Couples is a voyeuristic dive into the daily routine of three American duos living in Paris. Through existential banter, Gallic cynicism and vaudevillian comedy, men and women reveal their secrets, fears and longings, only to realize that what separates them from one another might just well be more than a mere question of gender. Could the ennui of a simple tête‐à-tête be saved by the novelty of a ménage-à-trois?
Le Chat Rouge takes its name from the 19th century Parisian cabaret Le Chat Noir. Le Chat Noir was part artist salon, part music hall, and was described by its founder, Rodolphe Salis, to be “the most extraordinary cabaret in the world.” There, all of Paris could meet the most celebrated men and women of the capital city, and foreigners from every corner of the world. In the spirit of its predecessor, Le Chat Rouge is an interdisciplinary cabaret that brings together music, multimedia, literature, dance, and theatre.
"Le Vent souffle, et nous tous respirons de petits morceaux de Picasso et de Baudelaire."
Frank Langella’s Cyrano, an adaptation of the French classic, Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, was produced in collaboration with Ascension Community Theatre on March 5th-8th and 12th-15th, 2009. Director Jean Xavier Brager offered a series of workshops on based on dramatic techniques used by actors in France’s oldest theater company, La Comédie Française. The workshops were geared towards local middle and high school students of both drama and French. They focused on various aspects of stagecraft, including movement, voice, scene work, and improvisation, and provided better insight into French dramatists such as Molière, Ionesco, Racine, and Rostand. The workshops, conducted in English, were free of charge. Quel panache!
From the Moulin Rouge to the Lapin Agile and Les Ambassadeurs, to the literary debates in the Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots, France has a tradition of interdisciplinarity, combining dance, music, and literature in what is known as the literary cabaret. Major port cities are bound to be the crossroads of artistic fusions, and New Orleans is no exception to the rule. In an effort to highlight these hybrid identities, mediterraNO made the journey from New Orleans to its twin city of Marseille, where one can find similar inspirations from African music, dance, and literature. The performance included cosmopolitan bellydance, rai music and staged readings from the works of Francophone and local writers around the themes of love, memory, and exile. mediterraNO also pioneered into reading spontaneous impressions of old postcards, written by audience members during the performance.
The performing arts are essentially interdisciplinary, and they provide a thorough educational tool for introducing audiences to the arts and culture. By premiering contemporary French texts, translating avant-garde Francophone plays into English, offering a drama festival exclusively based on Francophone works, and providing free workshops on French drama techniques, Francophilia Foundation is committed to using the stage as edutainment.
On May 1, 2012, Francophilia Foundation, in association with Louisiana State University's Film and Media Arts, sponsored a test screening of the English version of Cinq gars pour Saint Zacharie, a "western parodie" directed by Marseille-born Jacques Ménichetti and produced by Skracol. As part of the semester's curriculum on French cinema, the screening was attended by 34 students and a panel of judges composed of professors and actors and it was followed by a Q&A.
- Death is Just a Question of Jet Lag, our latest production, is a cooperative venture with a local film maker, and examines French and American perspectives on death.
- Liste Rouge, starring a local award-winning actress and costumer, centers around the loneliness of people living in urban centers, and is currently in post-production.
- Ménage-à-trois, a nine-minute short featuring LSU students and other local actors, borrowed from both the 1960s French cinematic movement known as la Nouvelle Vague (the New Wave), and from American silent comedies of the early 20th century. Its unique aesthetic made a significant impact on its audience members; and the film won both the Best Drama and Best Director awards at the 2007 Outhouse International Film and Video Festival in Baton Rouge.