Blanca LI (Hip hop film) | Theater / sizzling stages
by Molly Grogan

from Hugo to Zappa, striptease to trapeze...

Big Top Thrills
It wouldn’t be summer if the circus didn’t come to town. From Guinea, the Circus Baobab dazzles with high-flying stunts and acrobatics to a stirring tam-tam beat — first in “Les Tambours sauteurs” (Créteil, June 21-22), and later in “La Légende du Singe tambourinaire” (Jardin des Tuileries, July 19 to Aug 8). An ultra-sophisticated circus geared to the 21st century is the specialty of Le Site CRA in “Le Cirque du Tambour [opus 2],” an interactive show of electronic music, computer-generated images, and virtual juggling, made possible by the high-tech wizardry of IRCAM. Meanwhile, “Buren Cirque” blends new and classic threads under the keen eye of Dan Demuynck.
“Les Tambours sauteurs,”
June 21 at 2:30pm, June 22 at 4:30pm, Quartier du Palais, Créteil (92), M&Mac251; Créteil Préfecture, tel: 01 45 13 19 19. “La Légende du Singe tambourinaire,” Tue-Sat, 9:30pm (see Paris Quartier d'Eté below). “Le Cirque du Tambour [opus 2],” to July 6, Wed-Sat 8:30pm, Sun 4pm, Théâtre Silvia Monfort, 106 rue Brancion, 15e, M&Mac251; Porte de Vanves,15,24E-18,29E, tel: 01 56 08 33 88.
“Buren Cirque”
June 26-27 at 9pm, July 5-28, Fri-Sat 9pm & Sun 4pm, 3 rue Jean Antoine de Baïf, 13e, M&Mac251; Bibliothèque/François Mitterand, 15E/8E.

Celebrating Hugo
Summer might seem an unlikely season for brushing up on the classics but with the 200th anniversary celebrations of the birth of the “giant” of French letters in full swing, there’s no time like the present. The Comédie-Française has extended its run of “Ruy Blas” into July to accommodate a public hungry for Hugo. This piece from 1838 builds up — like a fairy tale — in its sudden changes of fortune for a lackey (Eric Ruf) hopelessly in love with the Queen (Rachida Brakni), but ends like a Shakespearean tragedy where destiny returns to restore order. Subtle contrasts in tone and timbre are at play in “Hugo à Deux Voix,” where Isabelle Carré and Romane Bohringer read from “La Légende des Siècles” and “Les Contemplations,” in a show conceived by Nicole Aubry, a longtime collaborator of Peter Brook and more recently Irina Brook. In “Les classiques contre-attaquent,” however, La Fontaine, Rabelais and Voltaire are freely “mined” for irreverent laughs at that temple of the absurd, the Théâtre de la Huchette, where Eugène Ionesco’s “La Cantatrice chauve” and “La Leçon” premiered in 1952, and where they have played continuously since 1957. Finally, it's still possible to catch the last days of Jacques Lassalle's production of Molière's “Dom Juan,” also at the Comédie-Française.
“Ruy Blas” and “Dom Juan”
to July 21 (in rotation), Comédie-Française, Salle Richelieu, 2 rue de Richelieu, 1er, M&Mac251; Palais-Royal, 4,50E-30E, tel: 01 44 58 15 15
“Hugo à Deux Voix,” to June 29, Mon-Sat, 9pm, Théâtre de l'Atelier, 1 pl Charles Dullin, 18e, M&Mac251; Anvers, 10E -20E, tel: 01 46 06 49 24
“Les classiques contre-attaquent”
Mon-Sat, 9pm, Théâtre de la Huchette, 23 rue de la Huchette, 5e, M&Mac251; St-Michel, 12E/24E, tel: 01 43 26 38 99

Festivals in Force
Summer shows of all kinds are the business of Paris Quartier d'Été, a month-long program of music, dance, storytelling and cinema in the capital, and the Festival d'Avignon — with both "In" and "Off" programs — in Provence. Highlights of the “happenings” in the capital include the Circus Baobab (see above), a Belgian production of Pagnol’s “Marius” on the quai below Notre-Dame cathedral (Aug 1-10), a series of creepy tales told in local cemeteries organized by Muriel Bloch (July 26 to Aug 16), a never before seen in France Dogon funeral ritual performed by the Troupe Awa from Mali (July 17-21), and a tribute to Frank Zappa by Frankfurt’s Ensemble Modern, which kicks off the festivities on July 14, starting at the Pompidou Center’s “piazza.” But, for those who like their theater with a pastis chaser, nothing compares to Avignon. The 56th edition features Chekhov’s “Platonov” directed by Eric Lacascade in the Cour d’Honneur, a new piece from Romeo Castelluci (“A. #02”), French versions of works by Martin McDonagh (“L’Ouest Solitaire”) and Daniel Keene (“La Marche de l’Architecte’), a visit from Montreal’s company UBU (“Les aveugles’) and two shows from Argentina’s La Carnicería Teatro (“Je crois que vous m’avez mal compris” and “After Sun”).
Paris Quartier d'Eté tel: 01 44 94 98 00,
Festival d'Avignon Info: 04 90 14 14 60, reservations: 04 90 14 14 14

And More...
“Soirée ‘Play Time’”
The creators of “Les Deschiens,” Jérôme Deschamps and Macha Makeïeff have never hidden their debt to the comic genius of the late, great Jacques Tati. So when the rights to his films were up for grabs last year, they refused to let pass an opportunity to preserve the Tati heritage and keep it in France. Deschamps and Makeïeff created Les Films de Mon Oncle dedicated to keeping Tati’s memory alive, and are to launch this endeavor in June at the Théâtre national de Chaillot.“Soirée ‘Play Time’”is an evening of music and film featuring a restored 70mm version of “Play Time” (about a group of Americans on a tour of European capital cities), a model of the house that appears in “Mon oncle” and a bal populaire.
June 8-23, Tue-Sat 7pm (film 1hr later), June 23 (Sun matinee) 3pm (film 1hr later), Théâtre national de Chaillot, 1 pl du Trocadero, 16e, M&Mac251; Trocadéro, 10E-16E, tel: 01 53 65 30 00

Ladies Night
The French stage version of the hit film “The Full Monty” — and winner of last season's Molière for Best Comedy — “Ladies Night” guarantees laughs throughout the summer.
Tue-Sat 8:30pm, Sun 3:30pm, Théâtre Comedia, 4 bd de Strasbourg, 10e, M&Mac251; Strasbourg St-Denis, 30E, tel: 01 42 38 22 22

N'Dongo Revient
What happens behind the scenes when an African dictator makes an official visit to his principal political ally in the West? Masks drop and tempers flare in this comedy written by Dominique Ziegler, with a certain Togolese president in mind.
To June 29, Tue-Sat, 9:30pm, Théâtre de la Main d'Or, 15 passage de la Main-d'Or, 11e, M&Mac251; Ledru-Rollin, 9E -14E, tel: 01 43 38 06 99

“A genocide is an inhuman enterprise imagined by humans, so mad and methodical it escapes comprehension.” This quote from the journalist Jean Hatzfeld’s book, “Dans le nu de la vie — Récits des marais rwandais,” about the 1994 massacre of Tutsis in Rwanda lies at the heart of “Igishanga” a series of powerful texts adapted by Isabelle Lafon from Hatzfeld’s interviews with survivors.
To June 29, Tue, Thur & Fri 9pm, Sat 7:30pm, Théâtre Paris-Villette, 211 av Jean-Jaurès, 19e, M&Mac251; Porte de Pantin, 10E- 21E, tel: 01 42 02 02 68

Circus Baobab
courtesy of Paris Quartier d'été
"Buren Cirque"
courtesy Centre Pomipou