An all-female summer


What a sum­mer! It seems like Paris hasn’t seen a sin­gle ray of sun dur­ing the whole month of August. How depress­ing is that? As for shows and plays, it seemed like most of the men had flown away on some seclud­ed coun­try, for which I didn’t have a visa. I had the weird feel­ing that I was left in Paris among a tribe of women. Isn’t it even more depressing?
So I didn’t have much choice but see shows that fea­tured the var­i­ous aspects of female bond­ing. Great.

The first all-female play I saw was a lit­tle com­e­dy called A fond la caisse, set in the uncan­ny world of super­mar­ket clerks. A friend of mine brought me there and since it’s not that far from where I live, I agreed. For a short moment, I felt like work­ing in a super­mar­ket. At least, I would have a steady job (every­one needs to go to the super­mar­ket). And in this play, friend­ship and sol­i­dar­i­ty win over jeal­ousy and bitch­i­ness. On the oth­er hand, we all know that art is usu­al­ly more beau­ti­ful than life, right? What I saw was pure FICTION. Fur­ther­more, I real­ized I wouldn’t be able to stand these out­fits. So after a while, I decid­ed I’d rather starve as a free­lance writer and wear my paja­mas all day.

A few weeks lat­er, I went to see an all-female trib­ute to French chanteuse Bar­bara, who died nine years ago. Bar­bara is a major icon. No one has ever writ­ten more depress­ing and more beau­ti­ful songs. If I want­ed to com­mit sui­cide, I would prob­a­bly play a CD of Barbara’s and hear her del­i­cate sto­ries of lost love, grief and soli­tude, before jump­ing from my win­dow. Late­ly, a lot of lit­tle shows, revues or gigs have paid trib­ute to this leg­endary singer but Bar­bara d’une rive à l’autre is prob­a­bly the first one to be per­formed by an all-female cast, includ­ing singers, pianists and dancers.

The high­light of the evening was the choreographed/mimed piece on “L’Aigle Noir”, Barbara’s most famous song about a black eagle vis­it­ing her while she is asleep by a lake. I have heard this song a zil­lion times, by Bar­bara and by oth­ers, but nev­er before did I real­ize how tru­ly depress­ing it could be. Think about it. If you were asleep by a lake, would you like to be vis­it­ed by a black eagle? Espe­cial­ly if it is por­trayed by a bunch of black-clad danc­ing ladies? Well, I guess I’d rather stay asleep and try to keep dream­ing about Gael Gar­cia Bernal vis­it­ing me.

For once, I’m very hap­py that sum­mer is over. At long last, men are com­ing back to the city to enter­tain sin­gle women like us (well, like me). And doesn’t this fall sea­son look extreme­ly promis­ing? No more danc­ing black eagles. No more orange uni­form wear­ing clerks. Word of mouth is that this fall, men will rather drop off some clothes instead of wear­ing unflat­ter­ing ones. For once, Bud­dha has answered my prayers and to show Him how grate­ful I am, I bought very expen­sive incense sticks in a posh store. And I felt good.

Any­way, here’s my line-up. My sea­son will start with La par­ti­tion. I heard heart­throb Gré­gori Baquet is show­ing his naked tor­so: seat has been booked.
Next will be Le cabaret des hommes per­dus. Accord­ing to my sources, not one, but two cast mem­bers will show some skin: seat has been booked, expec­ta­tions are high.
Then, Kan­der and Ebb’s Cabaret opens. In this Sam Mendes pro­duc­tion, the MC (por­trayed by deli­cious Fabi­an Richard) is sup­posed to flash his a**: seat has been booked, new binoc­u­lars have been bought and opti­cal aware­ness train­ing has started.
Last but not least, Balé da Rua will bring a bunch of Brazil­ian dancers at Mogador. I have always loved Brazil (yeah, yeah, their music of course, I just love Astrid what’s her name again?). Front row seat has been booked.
Art is def­i­nite­ly more beau­ti­ful than life… as long as Brazil­ian dancers are on a stage, and not in my living-room.