Destinations – Paris, France
Once a month we highlight both a national and international theatrical event that can’t be missed. Our on-site correspondents the world over give us their recommendations on where to stay and why, as well as what to see and do. DESTINATIONS will become a platform for TheaterHound’s insiders to share their experiences of our featured destinations offering further suggestions, exchanging observations, and building conversations with fellow theater lovers.
A Streetcar Named Desire
Lee Bruer and Basil Twist
Renowned theatre innovators Lee Breuer and Basil Twist are breaking new ground with an extraordinary collaboration. For example, in 2011: the first American play ever to be allowed on the main stage of the Comédie-Française. Their Asian-inflected version of Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire, featuring backgrounds that visually divine the players’ emotional states, is a contender for the theatre event of the decade.
-Where to Stay-
Edmond Rostand, Mike Todd, Franco Zeffirelli, Ginger Rogers, Yul Brynner, and Richard Burton have all stayed at Le Meurice, one of Paris’s most exquisite hotels. Conveniently for lovers of theater, these luxury accommodations are located within moments of two of the theaters belonging to the Comédie-Française: the intimate Studio-Théâtre and the opulent Salle Richelieu, where the company performs its classical repertoire.
As the place in which Oscar Wilde spent his last days, L’Hotel boasts an enticing and ghostly tie to theatrical history. By its proximity to both the Odéon Théâtre de l’Europe and the Comédie-Française’s Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier, however, the stunningly elegant hotel does also provide current visitors with a connection to first-rate contemporary theater.
-What to Visit-
The Petit Palais is currently holding a special exhibition of art and artifacts related to the Comédie-Française’s vibrant history. Look out, in particular, for Jean-Léon Gérôme’s painting of the actress Élisabeth Rachel Félix (known simply as Rachel). The drama of the portrait does full justice to the actress’s status as nineteenth-century France’s most iconic tragedienne.
The Other Voice
At the world famous Toneelgroep Amsterdam, Artistic Director Ivo Van Hove directs the Netherlands Poet Laureate and acclaimed actor Ramsey Nasr in the world premiere of Nasr’s own haunting work, The Other Voice. Here Nasr creates the voice of the man on the other end of the phone line to whom the woman speaks in the fabled monologue by Jean Cocteau, La Voix Humaine.
Where to Stay-
Amsterdam is noted for its stunning architecture which can be found also in its hotels. Hotel De L’Europe sits in the heart of the city, overlooking the Amstel River and its unique decor features original paintings by the Dutch Masters from the collection of noted Dutch businessman Alfred “Freddy” Heineken.
If you’re looking for variety, Lloyd Hotel delivers with rooms rated from one to five stars depending on size. Formerly an ‘immigrant hotel”, for those waiting to catch ships to new lives abroad, the Lloyd features unique rooms designed by a number of different interior designers.
What to Visit-
The Van Gogh Museum features a tremendous permanent collection of not only the artist’s works but also his personal effects and letters. The Royal Palace in Medieval Centre is a stunning example Dutch architecture at its finest, and has free audio-tours available to guests. If you truly want to see Amsterdam as the locals do however, cycling will introduce you to all the sights and sounds of this great European city.