French Theater Focuses on Guillaume Apollinaire

Saturday, 07. December 2013

by Daniel Davis Wood

A poem by Guillaume Apollinaire, one of the world's most celebrated Modernist writers, gave inspiration to this year’s French Theater production, Amours, performed over the last two nights at the Ecole d’Humanité. Featuring a cast of a dozen Swiss Matura students each making their theatrical début, Amours revolved around the text of Apollinaire’s poem ‘Le pont Mirabeau’ in order to tell the story of his life.

The play began with five-year-old Guillaume playing alone in the empty flat where he and his mother live. His mother is an inveterate gambler who drags her son from town to town as she feeds her gambling addiction. One day, though, the muse of poetry visits the young boy and gives him a fountain pen with which he can express himself in writing. Later, as a grown man living under the Mirabeau Bridge, he composes poetry and longs to experience true love. Over the course of his life he has four love affairs and writes one of the four parts of ‘Le pont Mirabeau’ after each affair ends in catastrophe.

Click here to view a selection of photographs of the play.

As in previous years, the play was performed entirely in French and was developed by the cast members, under the supervision of their teacher Alain, after they embarked on a close reading of ‘Le pont Mirabeau’ at the beginning of this term. Earlier French Theater performances have been based on poetry by Arthur Rimbaud and Charles Baudelaire. The photograph above shows this year's cast members together on their model Mirabeau.