Maud Andrieux presents a love story from the 1930s

Organised and hosted by Alliance Française of Madras, Francophonie Week will have Maud Andrieux performing a theatre rendition of Marguerite Duras’ film

author_img Rupam Jain Published :  24th March 2023 03:28 PM   |   Published :   |  24th March 2023 03:28 PM
Maud Andrieux

Maud Andrieux

An actor, director, and author, Maud Andrieux wears multiple hats. She has travelled the world for 15 years adapting the novels of Marguerite Duras for stage. Born in Versailles, she was introduced to theatre at the age of seven. She has played several small roles on television, but left to create her theatre company in 2005. Ahead of her performance in the city, we catch up with the artiste.

Tell us about the play, Venice in Kolkata and the inspiration behind it.
I am going to perform Son Nom de Venise dans Calcutta Désert, a play adapted from the movie Her Venetian Name in Deserted Calcutta, a French film directed by Marguerite Duras in 1976. The film premiered at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival in the  ‘Directors’ Fortnight’ category. It is a love story set in India in the 1930s, in an overpopulated city on the banks of the Ganges. The story immobilised in the culmination of passion, trapped in the photographic memories while at the same time, there is another story that plays out in the background, eventually depicting that while some die because of love or boredom, others die of hunger.

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Venice in Kolkata is a one person play. Tell us about the challenges of a monologue.
I decided to adapt the film into theatre to give a real and live experience to the audience. Marguerite Duras had said her film was made to provide a sound experience that will make the audience think. There was no actor in the film. The story unfolds through the voices of the characters. I chose to resonate with the voice of Marguerite Duras herself, who speaks of the lives of the characters, the sound of the rain, the waves, the feelings of different protagonists presented so poetically. She also talks about her emblematic character Anne-Marie Stretter, whom I interpret on stage and the other voices of the characters resonate in a very visual sound accompaniment. When I was young, I couldn’t think of being alone on stage. During my first theatre lessons, I was very shy and couldn’t speak in front of the public or even answer a question in class, for that matter. Over the years of theatrical study and practice, I overcame this challenge. I have been playing monologues in France and around the world for 19 years now, and the journey has been quite exciting and interesting.

Have you performed in Chennai before? What are your memories of this city?
I have performed in Chennai, in 2016. At that time, I performed The Pain of Marguerite Duras which talks about her commitment as a woman in the resistance during the Second World War; and in 2018, I performed L’Amant de Marguerite Duras, a book which won the Goncourt Prize in 1984. I performed it at the Alliance Française de Madras, and I had a very pleasant experience. The public is often extremely sensitive to great authors’ works being performed, so it was very rewarding for me to be able to exchange with a very engaging audience here. Chennai is well known for its love of culture. I had the opportunity in France to discover carnatic classical music which originated from Tamil Nadu. When I was in Chennai with Sophie Dutheil, my production manager who travels with me, and I, tried the typical cuisine of Tamil Nadu, delicious dosas, sambar and idli. Simply marvellous!

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As a performing artiste, what is your opinion on theatre?
I am just delighted to perform a French play on March 25 as we celebrate La Francophonie — a celebration to promote the French language, culture and linguistic diversity. 

25 March.
7 pm onwards.
Alliance Française of Madras Auditorium.