Ionesco Package: The Bald Soprano + The Lesson
Until July 29, 2023
23 Rue de la Huchette, 75005 Paris
Capacity 85 seats
One brief intermission
Suitable for all ages
French with English subtitles (specific dates, see Highlights)
After premiering seperately in the mid 1950s, these two shows at first received little critic recognition. Yet when these two works by Eugène Ionesco were joined for one absurd evening at the Théâtre Huchette, history was made. The pair has been continually performed in the very same venue close to 20K times, before millions of audience embers from all corners of the globe.
The Théâtre Huchette allows theatre goers to be truly immersed into the world of legendary playwright Ionesco, featuring two of his plays back to back in French with English subtitles each and every Wednesday evening. Don't miss this chance for a truly unique Parisian experience in a quaint charming theatre that has defied all odds to remain open in the heart of Paris' historic Latin Quarter.
Please note that The Bald Soprano and The Lesson are performed with English surtitles one evening per week:
- on Friday evenings until February 4th 2022
- on Wednesday evenings from February 9th 2022
Make sure to select a rate that mentions “English subtitles included”.
The Bald Soprano, an autopsy of 1950s society through the ridiculous interactions of two couples. Join Mr. and Mrs. Smith for a quiet evening at home, yet an evening anything but ordinary.
The Lesson, a seemingly innocent exchange in which a shy older teacher meets an outspoken student. Yet the roles are about to change in this surprising face-off!
Intimate and talented
The incredible texts were definitely highlighted by the greatly talented actors. Because we were so close to the stage and the actors due to the intimate small size of the venue, we were able to savour the plays even more, a wonderful
It's been playing for ears yet not a single wrinkle, a real pleasure
Théâtre de la Huchette
A creative rebirth
Ending four years of Nazi occupation in 1945; during which censorship, curfews, and alerts practically suffocated all theatrical creation; the liberation paved the way for a creative explosion. Small theatres such as the Vieux Colombier, the Noctambules, Theatre Babylone and more began opening all over Paris, particularly in the Latin Quarter. That's when a fated pair cross paths, Marcel Pinard, the aspiring actor working odd jobs, and Georges Vitaly, the exiled Russian playwright. Pinard convinces his girlfriend at the time to rent out the legendary location at 23 rue Huchette so the two can create a theatre together, Vitaly the brains and playwright in the endeavor, with Pinard providing the location and his acting talent. The pair proves successful, and through the early 1950s the stage welcomed some of France's upcoming actors, including Jacqueline Maillan, Claude Gensac, Monique Delaroche, Pierre Mondy, François Chaumette, Jacques Fabbri, Michel Roux, and more.
A world-record theatre
Eventually Vitaly wants to move his successful plays on to a bigger venue, and he heads to the Théâtre La Bruyère. Under the sole direction of Marcel Pinard, the Théâtre Huchette takes a new direction featuring contemporary theatre. Marcel permanently unites his two leading new shows, Cantatrice Chauve and La Leçon, to create a record-breaking combo. To this day, these two performances remain the longest-running shows continually playing in the same venue, a world record!
An iconic venue
In 1975, Marcel suffers a heart attack in the theatre's tiny ticket booth. Following his death, the troupe battles to save the venue from being shut down and transformed into a restaurant for tourists. They proved successful, and this quaint theatre in the very heart of historic Paris continues to be a place of creative celebration. The headlining shows have become an institution in their own right, and welcome a full house an entire half-century later. This one of the only venues in the world welcoming generation after generation of French and international audiences to see the unchanged pair of shows, which were rather avant-garde at the time of their arrival on stage, and are now beloved classics! A quaint playhouse born in the post-war wave of creativity, the Théâtre Huchette is Parisian must-see, an entirely unexpected find in the very heart of the Latin Quarter.
Such an iconic and historic location though is not without a rumoured past! Tales have been told that prior to the Vitaly-Marcel takeover, the location of the theatre was used by monks of the nearby Saint Séverin church to bury treasure, and a witch is also rumoured to have used the cellar as a meeting point to preach an emerging new religion!
Handicap Accessible? Yes
Air conditioning? No
Where will I be seated and will I see the subtitles properly?
In this intimate theatre, there is one general seating category available which ensures a comfortable view of the subtitles. Seating is generally on a first-come, first-served basis, and Theatre in Paris guests are invited to arrive early to ensure they are able to select their desired seats.
How do I get to the theatre?
The theater is accessible by metro lines 4 and 10 and the most convenient stations are Saint-Michel (4) or Cluny-la-Sorbonne (10). You can also come by RER C or B, to the Saint Michel Notre Dame stop, or by bus, taking lines 21, 27, 38, 85 or 96 to the Saint Michel stop. Our hotline can be reached in case of difficulty finding the theatre from 10 am to 7pm Paris time. For details, we invite you to consult the map above.
What do I do when I get to the theatre?
We invite you to arrive 15 minutes before the beginning of the show, and present your voucher at the front desk. The theatre's English-speaking staff members will guide you to your seats.
Is a programme included with my ticket?
Tickets for The Ionesco Package do not include a show programme.
How long do the shows last?
With each show being one hour long, seeing both shows in the Ionesco Package lasts two hours with a brief intermission.
Is this show for travellers or French people?
Thanks to English subtitles, both! This Ionesco duo has been performed in French for over 60 years in Paris and on tour across Europe, enjoying endless success. The world-record show has become an international institution, a must-see while in Paris for both French and international visitors. With the English subtitles, forget about the language barrier and enjoy an amazing French night out.
Subtitles or Surtitles?
Surtitles (also called supertitles) are the theatre equivalent of subtitles or as others may know it, captioned performances. That’s because in French “sur” means “above”. At the Théâtre Huchette, the text is projected above the stage. Read more about surtitles here.
Is tipping customary?
Tips are not mandatory in Parisian theatres. However, ushers will usually expect a small tip of between 2€ and 5€, which you can give them when they've shown you to your seat. Fun fact: the French word for “tip” is “pourboire,” which literally translates to “to have a drink.”
What is the program of the evening with two shows?
This special Ionesco show package begins with The Bald Soprano beginning at 7pm, followed directly by The Lesson starting at 8.30pm. We invite Theatre in Paris guests to arrive 15 minutes before the first showtime in order to get your seats.