Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Paris Theatre / for Young and Old

If you want to know whats happening in Paris, check out "L'officiel des spectacles", available at Paris news stands or at www.offi.fr/enfants (for the youth theatre).
While we were there, just a couple of weeks ago, we saw a wonderful show for ages 3 and up and another for adults. Both were great. And we were astonished at just how many live theatre offerings there were for children.

Something remarkable: the show for children 3 and up was not only quite sophisticated but also ran for an hour without a break! The young children in the audience remained attentive throughout the show. Does the average French child have a longer attention span than the average North American child? Or is it that North American presenters, eternally eyeing the box office, play down to children?

La Femme du Boulanger by Marcel Pagnol was the adult show we attended. Two hours without a break! Same question about North American adults. Maybe the French are just more highly evolved or maybe it's the government subsidies?

Regarding musical presentations in Paris: Mozart, Brahms, and the usual suspects were everywhere.
Contemporary wise, New York has Paris beat to hell. Maybe it's the lack of government subsidies?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Au Lapin Rouge / At the Agile Rabbit

In June in Paris we attended that most venerable of Parisian cabarets, Au Lapin Rouge, in the heart of Montmartre.
The evening started as if we were in our neighborhood pub, but with a table of rowdy singers occupying a table at the center of the room. The order of the evening was French songs of all types, sing-alongs to begin with. As the evening wore on, we were treated to various soloists, one with a guitar, one with an accordion, all superb. There were perhaps 10 performers in a rather smallish room, seating maybe 35 people, not including the performers, cheek to jowl. At $20 a head and a minimum of one drink each, how did they do this every night? Government subsidies?

Or is this like New York, where performers pay or play for nothing, just to have a famous venue included in their resumes? Likely it's government subsidies. There are also a plethora of book shops in Paris, the result of government price controls on electronic versions of books and government subsidies for book shop start-ups. Result - real class. Perhaps capitalism and culture, even at the cabaret level, don't mix very well.

I highly recommend an evening at Au Lapin Rouge next time you are in Paris.