Living in NYC has its perks. One of these perks is the ability to go see a play whenever you want. I don’t do this as much as I should, but I am trying to balance out my life a bit and do more cultural things.
In trying to do this, a friend and I decided to go see Roundabout Theater’s production of “Therese Paquin.” The play is based on a novel by Emile Zola which was published in 1867. It tells the story of Therese, an orphan, who lives with her overbearing aunt and sickly cousin. Therese is forced to marry her cousin whom she really dislikes and who does not give her the respect she deserves. During the first act of the play, we don’t hear much from Therese other than her talking to the river nearby where they live. She comes across as a woman who feels imprisoned by her circumstances and who appears to be drowning by not having control over her life or future. When the family decides to move to Paris, we hear more about Therese, as she begins to have an affair with Laurent, one of her husband’s childhood friends. The story evolves into one in which Therese seeks her own freedom, explores her sexuality, and does the unimaginable to be “happy,” only to find that her happiness cannot come at the expense of others.
Therese is played by Keira Knightley, an Oscar nominated actress, who is probably best known for her breakout role in “Bend it like Beckham.” I know her because I am in love with the movie, “Pride and Prejudice,” in which she is amazing. I was on the fence about getting to see her perform live because I had never heard of this novel/play before and I was scared that she might not meet my expectations and I would be disappointed, but Ms. Knightley proved me wrong. She was awesome and I have even more respect for her as an actress…she is the real deal. During the second act, she shone giving Therese such a liveliness and making her seem relatable, but never letting the audience forget how flawed Therese is. She really embodied Therese and there was not a moment when I didn’t believe her performance.
If you are in NYC, you should go see the play, it is definitely worth the money.
Here is the NYT review of the play and a video from the theater company.
Happy Wednesday everyone!