It was a lovely surprise to find that after all its historical phases and transformations, French theatre is also a part of the Melbourne cultural landscape, indeed, this piece will be presented by Melbourne French Theatre Inc.!
MFT is a unique theatre company founded in 1977 which presents plays in French (with English surtitles), organises events and serves as an agency for French actors. Each production is a result of public auditions with a vibrant range of actors; native French speakers from France, professionals, students, amateurs. This is very much a multicultural and multinational company- more so than many other single-language theatres; an asset to Australian cultural diversity and fine Arts.
Unfortunately, however, the company has lost all French and Australian government grants, which highlights the stark difference between the tradition of theatre in Australia compared to France, where workers and the elite alike come together regularly to immerse themselves in the richness of French theatre.
Nonetheless, MFT has persevered in their cultural project to encourage this in Australia, and where better than Melbourne? Now it is up to us to support their efforts!
So, a bit more about the play;
It follows Don Juan- a dangerously seductive man, heartless womaniser and a character who has captured the imagination of authors, playwrights and their audiences for hundreds of years. You may have heard of variations such as "Casanova" or "Don Giovanni", but the Don Juan coming to stage next week will be one previously unseen. He will be put on trial by his victims and, in a psychoanalytic take, we will see a part of him previously unrevealed, all on a stormy night in a crumbling château near Valognes, Normandy. This is the Australian premier of the piece construed by successful contemporary French-Belgian playwright and novelist, Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt.
So French speakers, Francophiles and theatre enthusiasts, come along and experience it yourselves! It promises to be a play of "bitter-sweet revenge, drama and surprise …." And remember to keep track of future MFT endeavours on their website, Twitter and Facebook. They usually present two plays per year in early May and late August / early September.
Many thanks to executive director, producer and co-founder, Michael Bula, who kindly answered my questions about the play and the company