Theatre de l’Est

This is a lovely theatre that seems to have both an international face and neighborhood identity at once. Located in the 20th (i.e. to the ‘l’est”), it has the unfortunately unusual distinction of having a woman as its artistic director. Catherine Franc oversees a theatre whose self-presentation is inviting and innovative, not afraid to use words like “rêve” and “chaleur” to welcome its patrons to various spectacles, entretiens, and colloques. She directs herself, welcomes high profile directors and playwrights, and also mixes it up with a variety of cool pieces for different age groups. Recently our family took advantage of the “Samedi en Famille” program, one where we all got to see a new Mike Kenny piece for children called La Nuit Electrique –great acting, parable-like story, a tad scary for Jack who can’t stop worrying whenever theatre lights dim. After that, a troupe of Theatre de l’Est actors swooped up our kids from the lobby to an upstairs rehearsal room where they were served dinner and treated to an “atelier” of theatre games. While children dined and played, parents got to do there own dining and playing. Michael and I ran out to a local brasserie for a drink and snack and then returned to see a grown-up theatre production of St. Elvis, a piece originally conceived in the nineties to explore the obsessions, fantasies, and fetishes of Elvis as well as the world’s obsession with him. We had a great evening and felt inspired by Franc’s interest in creating the conditions that allow the parents of young children to attend the theatre while simultaneously cultivating a new little generation of theatre spectators.

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