I am not going to teach you anything about this play, the Anglo-Saxon world, Shakespeare, that is you.
As a good Frenchwoman, proud of the immense quality of our authors in the field of comedy, I admit to having a suspicious look at the others.
So the argument of the play can’t convince me at all – a completely rotten story, with two girls – a bad one and a good one, guys who dress up and we don’t understand anything anymore and a prologue which is there like an old hair fallen in an old soup.
So the Frenchwoman would say: No. That ? no.
Fortunately, not all French people are as old & stubborn goat as I am – often.
Some manage to stage authors in their lesser-known plays – in France.
That’s how I saw this play at the Comédie Française in Paris.
I was delighted. I found myself with my nose in my tissue from crying with laughter.
all this to say what?
You can’t tell a comedy. You can’t possibly explain it.
Telling the story of a comedy is exactly like trying to explain a joke: it’s pathetic and you lose your whole audience.
The story is just a pretext – it is usually irrelevant. It’s the staging that counts. The actors that count – well…the actors count a lot. The improbable situations, the absurd words, the gestural reactions, and everything that is not read and not in the text – everything that is added to the play by the other creators: the director and the actors.
Immense strength and immense weakness of comedy – the text is a support – insufficient if director or actors are not up to it.
So how do you get people to come see a comedy?
Hmm… this question is totally lame – everyone in the movie business knows it: showing clips is the only way to make people want to see the actors and the staging. We don’t care about the rest.
I’m going to redo “my French” – this staging of Oskaras Korsunovas for the Comédie Française was really excellent – rather modern in appearance but above all, without getting caught up in this big, big trap of comedies: pity. You must never feel sorry for the characters – they are “fake” – as soon as you pity them, the laughter is dead.
&…. when an author gives you a chance, don’t hesitate to take it – the prologue of this play is useless if you don’t use it. It’s good for everything if it distances the story from the characters and enhances the laughter it can provoke.
So here is a play that is finally very difficult to stage – like all comedies – but well staged, what a pleasure! What a joy!
Featured Image : The Taming of the Shrew by Little Theatre of Virginia Beach