20 euro tickets to see Molière’s Tartuffe? And at La Comédie Française? I couldn’t believe my luck. How wonderful to be in Paris, to be a student, and to have all these fantastic opportunities. And for a theatre geek like me, La Comédie Française was the crème de la crème of opportunities. I didn’t know too much about the theatre before we went, so I dressed myself in a nice pair of pants and some heeled boots, thinking they would suffice. By chance, I decided to ask Google to get an idea of what other people might be wearing.
The site’s instructions: Dress to kill.
With 10 minutes left to get ready I ran down the hall and banged on my friend’s door. “Dress to kill, dress to kill!” The room became a veritable hurricane, a Sandy of gowns, blazers and stilettos.
The lights dimmed, the anticipation heightened, the curtain rose, we all leaned forward, and the actress spoke the opening lines of the play.
Wishing for some English subtitles, I sat back in my plush velvet paradise. Many things unfolded on the stage in front of me, the man of the house slept with the maid, an enemy pretended to be a friend, and the ensemble made an appearance in enormous paper mâché masks.
Confused but placated by the production quality, I left the legendary Comédie Française with a strengthened resolve to improve my French.
It was a bit of a reality check. That’s right little girl, no matter how much you think you’ve learned, you still don’t know much French. But I wasn’t disheartened, and I knew I would be back to give the historic venue another shot.
Two months later...
Dressed nicely, but not to kill, I took my seat in the first balcony of La Comédie Française, grateful to be seeing a comedy: La chapeau de paille d’italie. ‘Hopefully it’s better this time,’ I thought. ‘I don’t think I could stand another 3 hours of non-comprehension.’
As the curtain rose and the first few lines of the play were spoken, I breathed a sigh of relief.
I understood. I actually understood.
To see if you can understand as much as (or more than) I did, visit the following link for tickets to La Comédie Française: http://www.comedie-francaise.fr/spectacles-en-vente-actuellement.php?id=209
Or if you prefer a show you can completely understand, in French with English surtitles, check what Theatre in Paris has on offer right now!
Had a similar experience? We'd love to hear about it! Feel free to comment on this post with your French theatre stories.