7 People, 2 Hours, 1 Decision

August 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Théâtre Michel, 38, rue des Mathurins, Paris 75008

Seven people, two hours, one decision. That was the premise behind the fantastic play, Le Repas des Fauves by Vahé Katcha, that I saw last night at the Theatre Michel. Paris is under German occupation and a couple is celebrating the woman’s birthday with friends-four men and one woman-who come bearing black market gifts, from silk stockings to champagne. During the party, two German officers are killed on the street in front of the building, the SS swarm in and take two hostages from each apartment for a total of ten, in their idea of just revenge. The SS officer who arrives at this couple’s apartment turns out to know and respect the man, who owns a bookstore that the officer frequents. As a “favor” to this man, the officer grants the group the right to choose who among them will be the two hostages, and he gives them two hours in which to do it. During that time, he stays in the apartment, happily browsing through the man’s private library.

A very serious premise, but what ensues is two hours of hilarity and tragedy as, predictably, the friends and lovers turn on each other, doing and saying terrible things in order to convince one or the other that they should volunteer in order to save the others. I will not give away how the play ends because I think anyone with an opportunity must see or read it. The acting was excellent and there was some really beautiful animation used to illustrate what was going on in the street and in the sky outside of the apartment. I was also thrilled because I understood almost every word! Even standing the whole time, I enjoyed every minute (if I had sat in my restricted view cheap seat, I would not have seen a thing). Turns out I lucked out too because last night was the last night of the play’s run.

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