I am devastated to learn that one of my favorite American theatre companies, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, is being forced to close.
The Minneapolis company headed by theatrical visionary Dominique Serrand has been coming to Cambridge to collaborate with the American Rep Theatre for years. Their style is highly physical, visually stunning, with a group of actors that are so blindingly gifted it leaves you shaking your head at the concentration of talent. They are professionally trained singers, they dance and move with effortlessness AND they can act.
The productions they have brought to Cambridge have left me in awe. A few years back they brought a stellar Molière’s The Miser. Two years ago they mounted a theatrical performance of Bizet’s Carmen. Last fall they went all out and with a pair of productions that combined Mozart with two of France’s greatest writers. “Don Juan Giovanni joins Don Giovanni with Molière’s Don Juan to form a cross-country road trip that skewers notions of love, sex, and hypocrisy; Figaro unites Mozart’s sublime Marriage of Figaro with Beaumarchais’ revolutionary comedy of intrigue and seduction.” (Am Rep program notes.) Both of these works were a fresh retelling of old, familiar tales. They found that perfect pitch between a hat-donning homage to the past and a new 21st century retelling.
When news like this surfaces, it is hard to not slink down into a blue mood. Or to have to ask, once again, what is wrong with this picture? How is it we live in a world that can’t keep Serrand’s company afloat but can keep producing bad reality TV shows and mindless movies?
Note: I’ve excerpted an excellent blog posting about Jeune Lune’s demise on Slow Painting from Chloe Veltman. If you want to know more about the details regarding the closing of this remarkable company, read it and weep.