There is this peculiar laugh and this crystal-clear voice that perpetually keep on resonating in the depths of the memories of those who had the privilege of meeting Michelin eBoudet or of working with her.
With her graceful and elegant approach, and her radiant bright smile, this actress began her career at the age of eighteen in the corps de ballet of the Paris National Opera (Opéra National de Paris), where she worked alongside Jean Babilée, choreographer Roland Petit, and of his muse, Zizi Jeanmaire.
Very quickly, she took the decision to change her career path, and followed her theatrical vocation by returning to the Conservatoire national supérieur d’art dramatique (National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts of Paris), where she was admitted in the class of Georges Le Roy. In her first year, she obtained a comedy prize and was immediately hired as a pensionnaire of the Comédie-Française in 1945.
The ‘Petite Boudet’, a nickname Louis Seigner gave her at that time, made her début in the House of Molière, in the role of Lisette in The Game of Love and Chance by Marivaux, an author who accompanied her throughout her entire career. During her first years with the Troupe, this young actress had the privilege of being directed in person by the great master Louis Jouvet, in Jean Giraudoux’s Song of Songs (Le Cantique des Cantiques). She excelled at first performing the roles of servant or young romantic lead, such as of Marianne in The Miser (staged by Jean Meyer), of Hyacinthe in Scapin the Schemer by Molière, as well as in the roles of Lucette in de Florian’s La Bonne Mère and of Silvia in Marivaux’s Harlequin Polished by Love put on stage by Gaston Baty and Jacques Charon.
In 1950, under the leadership of Pierre-Aimé Touchard, Micheline Boudet was named the 414th sociétaire of the Troupe. She reigned supreme with unequalled passion and a tenfold degree of rapture in her performance of Marivaux's Double Inconstancy (La Double inconstance), alongside her male alter ego Robert Hirsch, who had himself also embarked on a dance career a few years earlier. Jacques Charon, director of this show, will admit that he had just formed the "ideal couple.” From then on, her repertoire began to diversify; she acted in plays by Shakespeare, Georges Courteline, Eugène Labiche, Édouard Bourdet, Gérard Bauer and Jean Sarment. Under the direction of Pierre Dux, she performed the role of Agathe in Jean Giraudoux’s Electra, while alternating with the classical repertoire and that of the Age of Enlightenment, which was much dearer to her heart, especially Beaumarchais’sThe Marriage of Figaro with the mythical role of Suzanne.
With the repertoire of Georges Feydeau, notably in Cat Among the Pigeons (Un fil à la patte), Sauce for the Goose (Le Dindon), and Madame’s Late Mother (Feu la mère de Madame), she would gracefully contribute her full potential in the ruthless mechanics and humorous wit peculiar to this playwright.
In 1966, Micheline Boudet performed the role of Mrs. Gamberone in Maurice Druon’s Un Voyageur played at the Salle Richelieu a few years ago in a staging by Jean Piat, with whom she would collaborate again in another production, Si Camille me voyait !, a radio play by Jean Dubillard produced during the 1970/1971 season.
Outside the Comédie-Française, Micheline Boudet has led a brilliant career in the private theater, where she moved from Sacha Guitry to Jean-Pierre Grédy and Pierre Barillet, as well as to Victor Lanoux and George Bernard Shaw with Pygmalion put on stage by Bernard Murat at the ThéâtreHébertot in 1991.
In the movies, she has been present on the big screens since 1946, first along with Raimu in Pierre Billon's The Eternal Husband (L'Homme au chapeau rond), and Pierre Cayatte's There is no smoke without fire in 1973. She appeared alonside Fabrice Lucchini in Rien sur Robert by Pascal Bonitzer, and in The Creator by Albert Dupontel in 1999.
In parallel, Micheline Boudet has devoted herself to the solitude inherent in a writer's profession, publishing numerous books, amongst which La Baladeuse, Éditions Albin Michel (1979) and Ami, Amant or Le Roman d'un souffleur (Éditions Plon) in 1984.
With her book Mademoiselle Mars,l'inimitable released in 1979 by Perrin publishing house, she returned to her profession by dedicating a first book to her predecessor, who made a career in the same Troupe as she did in the early nineteenth century. Mademoiselle Mars – whose real name was Mademoiselle "Boutet" – was, the way she put it on paper, this "special Diamond of the Comédie-Française.”
Whilst turning the pages of this book, we find her confession of "having had the impression of telling the life story of another person, rather than her own.” Her latest book, Viens voir les comédiens, (Éditions Albin Michel) was published in 1997.
An actor's portrait and a tribute were presented to her by the Comédie-Française at the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier in April 2008.
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