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Théâtre en français à l'Université de Washington

Steeplechase Productions

The third annual festival of plays written in French language will feature the work of Romanian born playwright Matei Visniec. The festival runs October 19 - November 1 at the University of Washington's Ethnic Cultural Theatre.

Two works by Visniec will be staged: "Le Deuxième Tilleul à Gauche" and "Old Clown Wanted." University of Washington doctorial candidate Otilia Baraboi will open the festival on October 20 and introduce Visniec's plays.

In September 1987, Visniec left Romania for France, where he was granted political asylum. His absurdist plays, written in French, have been staged in more than 30 countries. In Romania, after the fall of Communism, Matéi Visniec has become one of the most frequently performed authors.

This festival of absurdist plays by French and francophone playwrights also includes work by Georges Feydeau, Honoré de Balzac, and Samuel Beckett.

On October 21 Elles et Lui will stage an adaptation of three plays by Georges Feydeau, whose farcical plays are considered precursors to the Theatre of the Absurd. Entitled "Feydeau Composé" it is directed and written by Cecile Casanova and performed in French language.

Honoré de Balzac, novelist of "La Comedie Humaine," wrote five plays before his death in 1850.

The last of which, "Le Faiseur," was accepted by the Comedie Française but not staged there until 143 years later, in 1993. This new bilingual (French /English) adaptation is directed by Steeplechase Producer Tom Ansart. The central character of the play, Mercadet, is a stock speculator who has been swindled by his business partner, Godeau. The play is a foreshadowing of Beckett's "Waiting for Godot."

Finally Seattle Novyi Theatre will stage Samuel Beckett's "Happy Days," directed by Leonid Anisimov, and starring Amy Yeater as Winnie, which closes the festival on Sunday, November 1.

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