Lastnight I saw Quand mon coeur bat, je veux que tu l'entendes (When my heart beats, I want you to hear it) at the theater festival I've been covering for Bilerico. As always, if you want more information about the Parisian Gay and Lesbian Theater Festival, visit their site for the schedule and programming information.
The play is based on three basic elements: a love story between two middle-aged, yuppie gay men, tragic monologues from a devastated and recently divorce (for lack of a better word) lesbian, and video clips from interviews with LGBT people on love (and, yes, L, G, B, and T are all in there and discussed).
I have more after the jump, but this play will show for the last time at 6pm on Friday, and I highly recommend it.
Since I'll be there, and since I know that we have several hundred readers in Paris, according to Google Analytics, if people want to have a Bilerico meet-up afterwards and boire un verre, leave a message in the comments and I'll keep an eye out for you afterwards.
The text is thick and there's lots to discuss when it comes to this play, but what really pulled it all together for me was Marine Martin-Ehlinger's performance. Her character has just broken up with her lesbian lover of 10 years, and it hurts. Battling between the extremes of despair and anger, as well as the need to cover up her pain in front of others, the character is complex and hard to pin down, and Martin-Ehlinger's performance of her heightens both the risk and the contrast between her competing instincts. She's calm one minute and violent the next, keeping the audience waiting for her to return to the stage.
In a word, I've become a fanboy. I don't know what it is, but when she was pulling at her hair and screaming for the pain to be over, something just clicked and I felt like I got it. She brings and rawness, a reality, and an immediateness to the play that I've never seen on stage before.
The other performances were intense and admirable as well, including Alberto Lombardo's as Mario (who also wrote and directed the play), a journalist assigned to collect the interviews who eventually cheats on his timid yet sensitive boyfriend.
The basic story couldn't be more banal, yet the fresh perspective brought to it through the interviews as well as the undeniable queerness of the characters as well as their honesty with the audience. That is to say, yes, it's a love story and a break-up story, but in a character-driven piece such as this one that doesn't get in the way of taking the text seriously.
(I agreed to write about each play to get my press pass, so while I loved this play, the aforementioned disclaimer still applies.)