This “Chestnut Theater” is a small theater in a small room at the end of a narrow passageway in Lyon. The entrance is on Rue des Marronniers, “Chestnut Street”, which is a small street full of restaurants between Place Bellecour and the Rhône River.
The play I saw at the Théâtre des Marronniers was L’anniversaire (The Birthday) by Jean-Pierre Roos. The play is about the fiftieth birthday of a man named Louis Martinon, played by the author himself in this production.
Louis and his wife are getting ready for the birthday celebration, and he hopes that his three children and one grandchild will soon arrive. He has long telephone conversations with his older son, who is a pilot in the French Air Force, and his daughter, who works in a chocolate factory in Chambéry and is busy breaking up with her boyfriend, but we gradually come to realize that the children have been dead for eighteen years and the grandchild is imaginary. And that somehow the death of the children was their father’s fault. Exactly how this happened does not become clear until the very end.
I found L’anniversaire to be a very well-written and well-performed play, and I certainly understood more of it than I had understood of Molière’s seventeenth century comedy a couple days before.
But to fill in the details I was glad they had copies of the text on sale after the performance, so I bought a copy and got the author to autograph it for me.
My photos in this post are from 2011. I revised the text in 2017.
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