Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Les Rendez-Vous de Cormatin

More or less by accident I ended up being a volunteer for the yearly theatre festival Les Rendez-Vous de Cormatin. This is a prestigious festival, whereby a renowned theatre company from the town of Asnières (not far from Paris) takes possession of the Château de Cormatin for a period of four weeks to perform a number of plays, varying from classical to modern pieces, including some musical pieces as well. This year features plays by Molière and Feydeau, whilst Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat is performed by 4 actors and a chamber music orchestra consisting of 7 musicians. I only volunteer for “heavy” work, i.e. building stages, erecting tents before and loading lorries with stage-props after the festival.
Work like checking tickets, standing at the gates of the château, selling programs etc. is not feasible given the large number of shows and the facts that we have to run two gîtes and a campsite. As a token of appreciation the volunteers are given a free ticket for one of the shows performed in the open air theatre.
Because listening to classical French theatre requires a bit more than good listening skills to everyday French, we had chosen to go to L’Histoire du Soldat, a Faust-like Russian fairy tale. Having read the synopsis from Wikipedia several times made following the narrator and the actors relatively easy.
The music, performed by a chamber music group of 7 musicians and a conductor from the conservatory of music of Asnières was excellent, and the simple but more than adequate stage made the play more than worth the money for those who had paid for a ticket. Maybe next year “A la recherche du temps perdu – the musical” ?

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