My friend O is in town for a few days to review the new production of Ibsen’s “Maison de Poupée” (“A Doll’s House”) at the Théâtre de la Madeleine, starring none other than Audrey Tautou. It pays to have friends with interesting jobs, especially when they need a hot date for the theater. While O, an Ibsen scholar of substantial insight, had gotten me amped for the unusual take on Ibsen’s play that were were surely to witness, I’ll readily admit that my interest in the spectacle largely stemmed from my desire to see Tautou in person. It is difficult for a certain kind of American to construct a mental composite of a cool French girl without consulting the tropes laid down by Amélie. Just to get it out of the way: Yes, she is absolutely as gorgeous and tiny and sylvan as you have suspected. Probably more so. It’s much more than the haircut. She looks like she is made of porcelain.
The Théâtre de la Madeleine is a tiny, mid-1920s structure that allows for a really intimate encounter with the stage. As for the production of “Maison” itself, I thought it was terrific. I’ve been pretty honest here about what a philistine I am when it comes to the theater, but Michael Fau’s vision of the play was funnier, more melodramatic, and more riveting than other productions of Ibsen I have seen. Tautou’s Nora was a mass of frenetic, manic energy, and the racing clip of her anxiety made the climax of the play more psychologically intelligible than I’ve ever seen it handled before. It wasn’t everyone’s cup of (boring) Ibsen tea–the two men next to us threw up their hands in the second act, audibly muttered “Putain!”, and exited the theater. But if you are interested in seeing a radically different, anti-realist take on Ibsen, I would really recommend that you try and snag a ticket to this production. When O’s (much more articulate and insightful) review comes out in the Ibsen journal she is writing for, I’ll try and post it here.
Photos via Théâtre de la Madeleine