Friday, February 26, 2010

Cultural Activity: Maison de Poupée

Paris has presented me with a lot of firsts - first falafel, first opera, first conversation with a French person - and today it offered me yet another: first celebrity sighting. You may have heard of a little lady named Audrey Tautou. She’s best known for her role as Amelie, but she has also starred in the Da Vinci Code, He Loves Me, He Loves me Not (which will inspire a lasting fear of crazy people), and many other films. Last night I was lucky enough to see her in person.

Maison de Poupée is the French translation of Henrik Ibson’s classic play, A Doll’s House. Laura was kind enough to send us a quick summary of the play, and I actually found the whole thing online through google book. It’s a pretty quick read, so take a look if you're interested. Having read most of the play definitely helped me when we went tonight. My French is definitely lacking, but I was able to follow the story without any trouble. I even got a lot of the jokes! Audrey was fascinating to watch as Norah, since she took on a playful, almost childish personality in the beginning. She actually seemed more immature than her children.

At the beginning of the play I was really distracted by all of the actors' heavy makeup. I couldn’t understand why such a well-known production with high profile leads wouldn’t be able to afford a good makeup artist. It was only on the train on the way home that I realized that Audrey’s makeup had been toned down throughout the course of the play until she looked normal. The makeup change was intentional, since she was leaving the doll’s house to enter a real life where she would care for herself. Yeah, I’m a little thick sometimes.

Overall, I loved the production. A Doll’s House is now one of my favorite plays, since it emphasizes the importance of women being able to take care of and live for themselves without being derogatory to men. I felt that Audrey was the perfect choice for Norah, since she can seem impish and powerful in the same role. I’ll have to see the English version of the play at some point, but I felt that the power of the story carried through the French translation, and I recognized the universality of its themes.


  1. Ok, seriously, your last paragraph reads like a school assignment to review a play. "The universality of its themes" is not a phrase that one uses too often outside of English class. (Not that there's anything wrong with all that, it just made me laugh!)

    Sounds like fun, though.

  2. Well, since it was a school assignment to review a play, I think I'm allowed to talk like that. :)


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