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March 18, 2012

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Expat dramatists to stage 2 shows

EXPAT thespians will perform this month and next, staging a conceptual art project and a Francophone comedy.

The French Theatre troupe next month will present "The Technique of Doctor Pilou," a comedy about a famous old film director who is losing his memory as he struggles with Alzheimer's disease.

It the latest work of French playwright and director Victor Guilbert, who is living in Shanghai. It will be staged with English subtitles on April 20-22 at the theater of Shanghai Normal University.

In the play, the old director is slowly forgetting his past but refuses to admit loss of memory and tries to remember the stories of his awards and souvenirs. Fourteen actors play around 35 roles.

Guilbert says his grandmother has Alzheimer's disease and this inspired him to create the play.

"Humor is the best way to talk about fears and problems," Guilbert says. "I hope that people will be touched and concerned by this kind of disease, but still smile and laugh."

The French Theatre, which now has 14 members, has been staging for 12 years in the city. Members include French, Czech and Chinese with different backgrounds and theater experiences.

"We are all theater lovers and volunteers in this adventure to put on a show every year for the Francophone community," says Valentine Sorret, a Frenchwoman who has lived in Shanghai for eight years and is author of the book "Shanghai Snapshots."

Last year the troupe presented "A True Story About a Small Village that Might Not Exist," which played to a full house one night.

The troupe stages three or four shows a year, selling around 1,000 tickets.

The upcoming show runs for one and a half hours. After each performance, the public is invited to a buffet with a complimentary drink.

Art project

"Show Real Drama" is part of the ongoing conceptual art project "Taking the Stage Over." It will be staged next Saturday and Sunday at the Ke Center for Contemporary Art.

Directed by Keren Cytter from Berlin, it is presented by Susanne Meye and Fabian Stumm, both actors from Berlin.

The work is about two unemployed actors who needed a showreel.

They decided to write a script for scenes they would like to act one day; they made two scenes and "Show Real Drama" was born.

The two showreel scenes divide the acts "Show," "Real" and "Drama," says Cytter. While the two performers are at the back of the stage, their text refers to their relationships and memories. When they are at the front of the stage, they refer to the stage and their acting careers. When they reach the center of the stage they reenact their showreels and dialogues from the past.

The show is supported by the Goethe Institute and "Taking the Stage Over" project is organized by Biljana Ciric, a Shanghai-based Serbian curator. The actors and director will discuss their work on the afternoon of March 25 at the Rockbund Art Museum.

Show Real Drama

Date: March 24-25, 7:30pm; March 25, 8pm

Venue: Ke Center for Contemporary Art (613-B Kaixuan Rd)

Tickets: Free

Tel: 6131-3498, 6131-3499

The Technique of Doctor Pilou

Date: April 20-21, 8pm, April 22, 4pm

Venue: Theater of Shanghai Normal University, 100 Guilin Rd

Tickets: 130 yuan for adults, 80 yuan for children under 14

Tel: 1502-6603-703, 1381-6210-614


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