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Feb 25 2012

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Exquisite play commemorates 150 years of Les Miserables

In a small, unpretentious theatre near the Bastille  this week, I witnessed one of the most sublime theatrical experiences of my life:  the play Victor Hugo Mon Amour, the story of Juliette Drouet, muse and lover for fifty years of France’s greatest writer, Victor Hugo. All but ignored or forgotten in most official histories, Juliette exchanged with Victor 23,000 letters over their fifty-year love affair, letters which writer and actress Anthea Sogno has mined in order to write this exquisite and historically accurate play. Sogno herself gives a spellbinding and often very funny performance as Drouet.

2012  is a significant year for Hugo enthusiasts, as it is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Les Miserables, a manuscript that might not have ever been published, had Juliette Drouet not taken care of it during one of Hugo’s several exiles. Sogno’s play, recognised as part of the national Hugo commemorations, and supported by the Maisons de Victor Hugo, has given over 500 performances in 130 French cities, to more than 70,000 viewers.

Bookings can be made online at the Comedie Bastille Theatre.

For those still perfecting their French, I suggest reading the text  first, obtainable from Anthea Sogno’s website. The book itself is a lovely memento of the occasion, especially if you can get it signed by Anthea Sogno, who did just that on the evening that I saw her play.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.escapetoparis.com/2012/02/exquisite-play-commemorates-150-years-of-les-miserables/

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