La Dame aux jambes d'azur

by Eugène Labiche
Directed by Jean-Pierre Vincent


22 January 8 March 2015


La Dame aux jambes d'azur

2015-01-22 00:00:00 2015-03-08 00:00:00

Musical overture, the curtain is raised on the stage of the Théâtre du Palais-Royal and…

... there is an announcement that due to lack of preparation, the premiere of The Blue-Legged Lady is to be replaced by an open rehearsal! The author is then faced with an incredible series of unexpected events: the prompter being replaced at the last moment by an illiterate stagehand, the actress playing the princess eating a sausage and finishing her knitting, the interruption of an intrusive colleague, the Doge of Venice seeking an apartment in Paris... Labiche embarks us on an escapade that verges on the absurd.

Eugène Labiche, the author
After producing some short stories news and theatre reviews, between 1837 and 1877 Eugène Labiche wrote nearly one hundred and eighty comedies and farces, almost always four-handers. The merciless portrait of the Second Empire middle classes, which he himself belonged to, devised this “sketch”, more cleverly written than the name would suggest, with one of his most faithful collaborators, Marc Michel. The Blue-Legged Lady parodies the dark romantic dramas audiences delighted in at the time. It was premiered in 1857, a month afterThe Lourcine Street Affaire, at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal, but since then it has not been performed. The intrigue revolves around the actors of the aforementioned theatre, for whom the author wrote most of his plays and who, moreover, lent their names to the characters in the play: Arnal, Ravel, Grassot and Hyacinthe. While this reference is outdated, the play still fiercely caricatures the theatrical world as a whole.

Jean-Pierre Vincent, the director
Jean-Pierre Vincent is directing his tenth production at the Comédie-Française, where he was artistic director from 1983 to 1986. The most recently of these stagings are Ubu Roi and Dom Juan (revived this season in the Salle Richelieu). This is his third time directing Labiche, after adaptations of The Lourcine Affair Street with Patrice Chéreau (1966) and Pots of Money (at the TNS, 1971). “The radical and hilarious charge against pretention and mediocrity” has incited Jean-Pierre Vincent to take up again with Labiche whose The Blue-Legged Lady he sees as prefiguring the great American burlesque shows of Laurel and Hardy or the Marx Brothers. This nightmare of the incompetent actor and director, in which failure and “tackiness” triumph is a wonderful, darkly comic machine: the spectacle of a director caught up in delightful self-mockery, “trapped in a mortally serious fabric of absurd nonsense”.

Creative team

Mise en scène : Jean-Pierre Vincent
Dramaturgie : Bernard Chartreux
Décor : Jean-Paul Chambas
Costumes : Patrice Cauchetier
Lumières : Alain Poisson
Musique originale : Pascal Sangla
Maquillages : Suzanne Pisteur
Assistante à la mise en scène : Frédérique Plain
Assistante décor : Carole Metzner
Assistante costumes : Bernadette Villard


the company

Pascal Sangla : pianiste
Philippe Briegh : homme orchestre

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