June 16, 2015

Theatre in Paris…With English

Around the World in 80 Days
Theatre in Paris
In pursuit of joie de vivre, people come to Paris with their own unique combinations of places to see and things to do.  Gourmet meals, fabulous wines, museums, monuments, shopping, and an endless supply of sidewalk cafés, all of these choices are anchored to some degree to the quest for the French experience.  But at the end of your stay, if you don’t speak French, it’s easy to feel like you’ve somehow missed out on that inner circle connection with the locals.  Theatre in Paris is helping to bridge this gap by making it their business to bring great French theater to English speakers.   

Traditionally for non-French speakers, cultural night life in Paris without any language barriers consists of going to concerts, ballets, or operas.  However it’s quite possible that you’re going to wind up seeing a Russian principal ballet dancer, a visiting Czech orchestra performing German-composed symphonies, or an American soprano headlining one of Mozart’s operas in Italian.   Although you may be seated in a beautiful historic French building, you could easily see a similar performance in New York, London, or Vienna.  

So how does one access authentic French culture, without being fluent in French? 

New kid on the block, Theatre in Paris, has stepped up to the plate to provide an excellent solution to this age-old problem by using supertitles.   A large screen at the top of the stage displays the play’s dialogue in English, rendering great French plays linguistically accessible to English speakers.  And with over 300 theaters in Paris alone, going to see plays is an integral part of French culture.   Thanks to Theatre in Paris, English speakers can now sit alongside French people and take part in this cultural experience.  

This service can also be a source of respite for those French learners who have a good enough grasp of the language to venture out to French language events.  No more sitting in embarrassed silence when everyone around you bursts out in laughter, compelling you to feign comprehension with that meek delayed smile.    All of the slang, shortened words, and rapid fire French is all written out for you in plain English.  With this new service, you get to just sit back and enjoy the play like all of the Parisian locals sitting next to you.   
A Farewell Dinner
Theatre in Paris

Theatre in Paris is not about creating plays for an English speaking audience.  They actually select the most popular and successful French plays already in production, to which they add their supertitle service.  These plays are in fact the current hit plays that have already attracted crowds of French people.  With French actors, French playwrights, and venues historically significant to French theater, you can rest assured that you’ll get an authentic taste of Parisian cultural life.

In addition to the supertitles during the performance, Theatre in Paris provides an exclusive welcome to the English speaking attendees.  A guide greets everyone before the show and describes the cultural and historical context and significance of the play and of the theater. This introduction ensures that the viewer will be able to fully appreciate any cultural references or how the play relates to French society.  The guide explains all of this, of course, without giving away the plot!

Check out the current plays of Theatre in Paris:

Read here for more information about Theatre in Paris.

***Stay tuned for WICE’s Fall lineup of courses and events, when we’ll offer exclusive Theatre in Paris evenings with special perks for WICE members.  

Post by Veronica Kugler