I forget sometimes how tricky it is to blog when one has visitors over. Suddenly going from routine, and at times dull activity to a flurry of things makes it difficult to keep up with what happened when. In lieu of trying to revisit every detail, I’ll just go through some of the highlights (also known as: things I actually took photos of).
- I want to start off with this bit, not just because it came first chronologically, but also because I really feel as though I need to mark this rather monumentous occasion in which I actually convinced my sister – who neither speaks nor understands a word of French – to come see a show with me. Granted, I actually had a copy of this play (Martin Crimp’s The Treatment, for those wondering) in English from when I worked on Crimp in a class for my Master 2 at Paris IV a few years ago that I gave her to read beforehand, but there is definitely a difference between reading a text and having to sit through hearing it being performed to you in a language you don’t understand.
- The title of the play is used primarily in reference to what, in the film industry, would be the name for the outline of a screenplay, but certain other connotations – notably, ‘treatment’ as in a means to curing an ailment as well as ‘treatment’ as in how one behaves towards another – are evoked as well. The narrative revolves around a woman, Anne, who at the play’s opening is seen telling her story to two New York film producers. Said producers – a married couple – are rather fixated on a portion of Anne’s story in which she recounts how, occasionally, her husband would tie her to a chair, tape her mouth shut and just speak to her. They ask Anne if she struggles, if he beats her, berates her, touches or assaults her during these episodes. She answers no. It quickly becomes clear, however, that the producers are not very satisfied with this “No”, and here marks the moment in which Anne’s story starts to become no longer entirely ‘hers’, where Anne’s person is no longer ‘hers’, where it is in the process of ‘becoming-creation’ or ‘becoming-character’, ready to be re-embodied – and I mean this in the almost vampyristic sense that Method actors use to talk about their process of transforming into a role. Deprived of her story in the sense that she no longer has exclusive autonomous control over its presentation or interpretation, Anne is slowly reduced to object – a means through which the producers could reach their final product: a successful cinematic experience.
- Given how central the art of filmmaking is to the arc of this play, it’s not that surprising that the staging and technical elements – especially in terms of the ever-present use of projections, with title cards, and even scrolling credits at the end – borrowed very heavily from cinematic tropes/language. Beyond that though, the play itself seemed very…traditional, I guess. Frontal, of course. Moments of stage violence were performed using gestures/choreography that would be very familiar to actors or even anyone who has ever sat in on a stage combat class (there was, for instance, a slap that was telegraphed to the point where I had to wonder if eliminating the illusion of it by making the choreography big enough to notice that it was, indeed, choreography, was not a deliberate choice). Really, to be quite honest, I’m not entirely sure what more I have to say about this. It was…fine…I suppose, but I feel as though I’ve seen enough examples (notably Dans la peau de Don Quichotte) of theatre that used video projection/cinematic elements in ways that allowed the two forms to engage or dialogue with one another rather than just having the latter be…there. Ah well. At least we had excellent tacos at El Nopal before the show (mmmmm).
- Back to the BNF for another day of reading before I start to put together something resembling a lit review for my eventual prospectus. Honestly, given what a long mess my notes doc is starting to look like, I’m pretty amazed at how much reading I’ve been able to get done/how easy it’s been to fall back into old research habits (namely: if the thing doesn’t seem like it’s going to work, put it down, and shove it to the side. No use in trying to force anything).
- Another cold front has hit Paris this week (and will continue into next…yay), but that didn’t stop my sister and me (and what looked like literally everyone else in the city…seriously, what in the world were all those people doing there) from heading over to the Grande Mosquée de Paris for some tea and pastries. Ideally, the time to come here would be when the weather is a bit nicer so that one could actually sit and enjoy the garden, but…eh, beggars can’t be choosers. Besides, no one should really complain when the (really excellent) mint tea costs only 2eur (the pastries are 2eur each as well).
- If you guessed today started out with yet another trip to the BNF, you’d be absolutely correct. See, even with people visiting my life is sometimes annoyingly predictable.
- The evening though did end up being pretty epic, what with meeting up with a friend for Happy Hour at l’Ours Bar (hello 6eur cocktails), then a quick stop at Urfa Durum for Kurdish pitas (holy shit the lamb one was so gooooooood) before going to some other bar for dancing (the name of the place still escapes me. I blame the pita…yeah that was it). Really though, any night that ends with a ride back on not one but two night buses is one that definitely deserves to be marked as a good one.
- Saw Black Panther (yay!), then went back to Mamma Primi for dinner (another buratta pillow…double yay!). Otherwise kept things relatively low-key.
- This may (or may not, for those who know me really well) come as a surprise to you, but when my sister finally confirmed the dates of her visit, one of the first things I thought was ‘Yes, finally I have an excuse to go get dim sum.’ Not that one needs an excuse per-say, but it’s definitely more fun when there are multiple people involved. The same friend who we met up with on Thursday also tagged along, and together the three of us trekked allllllll the way down to the 13th arrondissement to the institution that is Tricotin. I first came here about five years ago with an acquaintance who I had met up with to watch the Chinese New Year’s Day parade near Hôtel de Ville. It was freezing (like today), snowing (unlike today), and both of us really craved a big bowl of noodles in scorching hot broth. She suggested Tricotin, and I followed. When I arrived and saw that not only did they have a large selection of soups but dim sum as well, I was sold. It helps that it all tasted really good too.
- I won’t lie though, I was a bit worried about going back there today, as it had been a couple years since I had last eaten there, and the restaurant had undergone a renovation project in that time. Needless to say, my fears were promptly assuaged as the three of us quickly polished off: bbq pork spare ribs, pork and shrimp dumplings, bbq pork buns, beef in a rice noodle crêpe, those same five-spice and pork fried dumplings that my friend and I had gotten at Le Pacifique a few weeks ago (though the ones here were slightly less successful) and sticky rice and chicken steamed in a lotus leaf. Someday, I’ll try and get a more substantial group together to see if we could order the whole menu of dim sum offerings at once, but for now, I’m content with working through the thing slowly. Given that we each only paid around 10eur for the meal, I don’t think my wallet will complain too much (and honestly, knowing how much the ‘trendier’ dim sum places around here charge, there’s really no other reason to be going anywhere else).
- Today marked the arrival of my sister’s boyfriend from Chicago, and so began another day of walking. Or semi-day, rather. The plan was to start near the Eiffel Tower (hence the photo at the top of the post) and then make our way back towards Hôtel de Ville while walking along the river, but as they seemed keen on visiting the Musée de l’Armée (and as I had no interest in spending money on a ticket), the walk was cut a bit short on my end. Ah well, not too much to complain about. The annoyingly biting cold has made the whole idea of walking rather unappealing to me lately. Spring seriously cannot come soon enough…