We attended the preview of the play “Au Bonheur des Dames” by Emile Zola, carried out in an immersive model on the Bon Marché in Paris

Thursday July 7, 8:30 p.m., rue Velpeau, above a door, a small pink gentle shines alongside the façade of the Bon Marché Rive Gauche. On the event of its a hundred and seventieth anniversary, malls have chosen an authentic approach to spotlight your story. yourAs soon as evening falls, plunged into darkness, it turns into the setting for an immersive play, Directed by Juliette Colin with thirty actors from the corporate Crumble Manufacturing.

After a number of nights of rehearsals for this revision of the novel The happiness of the women by Emile Zola, the actors gathered for a preview which we attended. The present is performed from September 2 to the top of 2022, on Friday and Saturday nights.

This historic piece is a chance to attract a parallel between the success story of the founders of Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, Aristide and Marguerite Boucicaut, and the story of an ideal work of French literature. The happiness of the women by Emile Zola.

In 1852, Aristide Boucicaut was employed as a clerk at Bon Marché, which he steadily reworked right into a division retailer, upending business codes and social mores. Thirty years later, the novelist Émile Zola pushes the door of Le Bon Marché to research his managers and staff. He thus has the fabric to put in writing his new novel. The happiness of the women which can seem in 1883.

The expertise begins with the descent into the basement of the shop. Under, we cross a development website the place staff are busy. There was water harm, they inform us… Within the background, the sound of a radio telling us that within theOn the event of its a hundred and seventieth anniversary, the Bon Marché organized a celebration and there was a homicide. Then we understand that the work has already begun and the wrongdoer should be discovered!

We return to the bottom ground. And there, we uncover the principle protagonists, wearing interval costumes, gathered within the hall of the primary ground of a retailer plunged in darkness. They introduce themselves to us, in flip. The characters are Théodore (founding father of Bonheur des Dames and Caroline’s uncle), Denise (the saleswoman), Gaspard (the designer), Henriette (Caroline’s dearest pal and bourgeois consumer), Alphonse (the treasurer), Caroline (the headmistress) and Octave (the headmistress and Caroline’s husband).

Not like a basic play the place the actors intervene all through the story, right here the characters are launched to us from the start of the present. Right here we immerse ourselves on the earth of malls on the finish of the nineteenth century to reside the revisited historical past of A.girls happiness.

The play

It’s the starting of a journey. area and time, across the 12 months 1862. On the entrance of the shop, all of us acquired a badge that represented one of many eight primary characters, with a small descriptive header. Alfonso’s inheritor, division retailer treasurer, a clairvoyant and meticulous man who considers his work as his life’s work.

In small teams of about twenty folks, led by a scout dressed all in white, we went as much as the second ground to see our first skit.

With my group right here we’re in entrance of Alphonse. The treasurer of the division retailer sits alone at his desk, in entrance of him, his massive account e-book, an inkwell, pencils, a lamp… behind him, the protected the place he retains the every day recipe, a small cupboard filled with of accounting books and a body with butterflies nailed. On the left facet of the desk, a big ground lamp illuminates the scene. Abruptly Octave seems, the scary supervisor, who has reworked the small novelty store right into a division retailer. He comes to speak to his pal.

We attend the scene that takes place just a few centimeters from us: eCertainly, the latter is not restricted to a stage the place actors carry out in entrance of a seated viewers. This immersive expertise revolutionizes the codes of conventional stage observe because it locations the viewer instantly on the coronary heart of the story.

Alphonse's office: one of the sets for the play

Octave leaves Alphonse indicating that he’s going to see Gaspard. The couturier is the brand new favourite that every one Parisians are shopping for. The general public follows of their footsteps and crosses at nighttime the area that separates it from the following stage the place one other set has been planted, that of the artistic room: clothes of Storer, a desk overflowing with sketches, a stitching machine, massive spools of coloured thread…

Gaspard's creative salon: one of the sets for the play

the theater stage it stretches throughout your entire second ground in the midst of the gross sales areas, which the shop, plunged into darkness, makes it potential to neglect. A number of scenes, supporting the ornament, are organized elsewhere and carried out on the similar time.

Though the viewer strikes from one place to a different, they however proceed to really feel immersed within the story. The panels point out the completely different scenes: the boys’s lounge, Inspector Jouve’s workplace, Henriette’s boudoir…

Even when it is bodily not possible to see all of them, it would not detract from understanding the general story. Every scene ought to enlighten the viewer concerning the nature of the completely different characters and, above all, assist them perceive who’s guilty.

One of the sets of the work

Breast the wandering continues, then I depart my group to see what occurs some extra. The shop is plunged into darkness, however infrequently the lamps glow, indicating {that a} scene is being enacted. 3,000 m2 of play, I understand that the recommendation to put on comfy footwear was of excellent high quality.

I take the time to take a look at the units, right here a saleswoman’s stall together with her rolls of shiny materials, there a milliner’s counter with its completely different hats and its mirror, a bit of additional on in an area normally devoted to dressing rooms, the dressing room , a dressing desk: a mirror, a brush, bottles, a trunk on the ground.

One of the sets of the work

Street on this life-size stage, like so many others who additionally roam. Throughout my wanderings, I uncover different pcharacters: there are 30 protagonists who assist us to piece collectively the puzzle of this fateful evening that ends with the ultimate scene, the one on the masquerade ball the place the homicide takes place. After two hours of appearing, every participant should use the token acquired in the beginning of the night to solid their vote and designate the killer. it is time for the revelation. Time has handed too shortly!

If immersive theater can grow to be a brand new expertise because the impression of being greater than a spectator but in addition an actor, it’s also for the actors. “For us it’s also an expertise, we adapt and there may be even part of improvisation. As all the things is going on on the similar time, typically the climate is much less good and there are ready instances that ‘we should put together’, explains one of many actresses for whom it was the primary expertise of immersive theater. “There’s additionally voice work, as a result of it is not a basic present room. As for area, it’s extra tiring, we by no means cease. We’ve to be extraordinarily targeted, greater than for a basic present, as a result of there are folks round.“, concludes the actress.

This fully unnerving efficiency is an fulfilling expertise that offers the viewer the impression of being a part of the present. The one inconvenience, a sure frustration: we want to observe up on this magical second, however it’s forbidden to make use of the cell phone in the course of the work.

Immersive theater “Au Bonheur des Dames” of the September 2 to December 30, 2022. E-book on the Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche web site, 21, Rue Velpeau. 75007 Paris. €75 per individual. From 8:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

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