Fetes de la Nuit

OC Weekly
“Best of 2007”

“Vibrant and exhilaratingly alive, this deeply personal portrait shows us the city, warts and all: rude black-vested waiters, elaborate food, sultry chanteuses, lots and lots of Gauloises cigarettes, Edith Piaf, ornate French storytelling, the grittier aesthetics of sex, the Eiffel Tower, bicycle shorts, fashion shows, performance art, the country’s simmering racism, and Yves Montand all make appearances…. Director Annie Loui stages all of this to great effect…. It’s really a damn shame Fetes de la Nuit is only staged for two weekends because this is one of the first plays I’ve seen in a long time that would easily bear up under repeated viewings. Like a single trip to Paris, you simply won’t understand everything, but you go anyway.”

Dramaturgical advice from the playwright

Hi, Annie, I wish I could be there, but it’s not looking so promising. So I am hoping you’ll get to Brooklyn in May. And hoping you have some willing person to make a video of your production????? The prologue: I was thinking she just comes out in full daylight, stands and delivers–and then ten thousand dancers explode all over the stage. She might come out, sort of nod at the audience, looking around at various people in the audience, feeling a little shy, and then just begin speaking. Hesitate after a few phrases. Clear her throat, and continue. Pity is empathy, yes, but even more than empathy. I think empathy is good. I wish everyone in the world felt empathy. If we all felt empathy for one another, there would be no war, no poverty, everyone would be good to everyone else. Pity is something else. I don’t like it. I don’t want to be pitied. I think we’ve all been taught that to pity someone is sort of wrong. It is, perhaps, condescending. You have pity for inferior life forms. And so I am sure Catherine has been taught this, that pity is not a thing you should feel towards another. And here is Sumiko who just wants this. And so–what? Even tho Catherine doesn’t understand this request, and thinks it is wrong, figures, so what? she drops thinking it’s wrong, and gives Sumiko what she wants, and, presto, everything is OK. I don’t know that you or I quite understand Sumiko either, or quite need to. But I guess she just wants abject, total, beyond sympathy or empathy, just nothing held back total pity, total beyond identification with her, total beyond feeling as she feels, just give your heart to her entirely, go into the pit, go all the way, never mind what’s right or wrong, just give her everything you have in your heart. Yours,