George Lavaudant : “Our Town”

For those who missed “Our Town”, the very famous play written by Thornton Wilder, Pulitzer-prize-winning, and which has been directed, this fall, by George Lavaudant. It has been performed at Stanford University, from November 9th to 12th.

Here is a special episode of Entitled Opinions hosted by Stanford professor of French and Drama Jean-Marie Apostolidès :

“The production is an unusual interpretation of the classic play. The renowned French director Georges Lavaudant and Stanford French professor Jean-Marie Apostolidès have clearly strived to create a play that is quite different from most productions of Our Town. It is beautifully staged, and the actor’s movements have transcended blocking to become choreography. The production was clearly extremely rehearsed, and each movement is meticulous. The lighting, set, and tableaus struck by the characters make for a production that is visually arresting.” (Rachel Rosefigura, Stanford Arts Review)

Georges Lavaudant has directed the Théâtre national populaire at Villeurbanne and the Théâtre de l’Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe, among others. Some of his productions include Lorenzaccio (1973), King Lear (1975), Mr. Puntila and his Man Matti (1978), Richard III (1984), The Balcony (1985), Platonov (1990), Pawana (1992), Hamlet (1994), Ajax-Philoctetes (1997), Oresteia (1999), Danton’s Death (2002), The Cherry Orchard (2004), The Night of the Iguana (2009) and The Tempest (2010). He has also directed his own plays, as well as plays by Michel Deutsch, Jean-Christophe Bailly, Carmelo Bene, and Christa Wolf, among others. His artistic activity has taken him all over the world, where he has on numerous occasions directed plays in other languages as well as in his native French.

Jean-Marie Apostolidès is a Professor of French at Stanford University. Apostolidès is the author of many books. His works include “Le roi-machine” (1981), “Les métamorphoses de Tintin” (1984, republished in 2003 and 2006), “Le prince sacrifié” (1985), “L’affaire unabomber” (1996), “Les tombeaux de Guy Debord” (1999), “L’audience” (2001), “Tintin et le mythe du surenfant” (2003), “Héroisme et victimisation” (2003, republished in 2008), “Il faut construire l’hacienda” (2006), “Cyrano, qui fut tout et qui ne fut rien” (2006), and “Dans la peau de Tintin” (2011). His book, “The Metamorphoses of Tintin,” has been recently published in English (2010) by Stanford University Press.


Simone De Beauvoir: San Francisco- “A geometric delirium”

Simone De Beauvoir
America day by day (1954)

“Where is the city? It’s as though someone had conjured it away. Suddenly, we come out on a great, red-gold bridge – the Golden Gate Bridge- and on our right we discover the splendor of San Francisco, tiered on its hills around a magnificent bay. The city is all white and golden in the setting sun. It’s heart-stopping. (…)
I’ve seen many cities built above the sea. As different as Marseille, Algiers, Lisbon and Naples are, they all have a common feature: their hills ar
e used as architectural elements. The streets marry their curves; they climb in spirals so artfully that the sea can be glimpsed from almost anyplace. What looks so complicated on the map seems simple and natural in reality. But it’s quite the opposite here: San Francisco is a shockingly stubborn abstraction, a geometric delirium. The plan was traced on paper without the architect even glancing at the site. It’s a checkerboard pattern of straight lines and right angles, just as in New York or Buffalo. The hills, those very material obstructions, are simply denied; the streets scale up them and hurry down without deviating from their rigid design. As a result, you hardly ever see the ocean. (…)
Suddenly, at the top of an avenue much like the others, we find ourselves on the edge of a cliff with a view of the sea. The road leading down to the plain spread out at our feet is so dizzying that it seems mad to risk it by car.”

Page 135-137
University of California Press, 1999
Translated from Simone De Beauvoir “L’Amérique au jour le jour” , 1954 Edition Gallimard.


San Francisco Noir – Part 1

“It’s an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco. It must be a delightful city and possess all the attractions of the next world” Oscar Wilde

Los Angeles and New York come immediately to mind when we think of film noir; locales like San Francisco have nonetheless done much to contribute to the film noir genre.

There’s something about San Francisco that makes it the quintessential setting for a certain kind of film noir. In no other city (except perhaps for New Orleans) are good times and tragedy so closely interwoven in the civic self-image. Exquisite taste reigns, and might be reduced to rubble at any moment. Social circles are small and insular; who knows who lives in those big Pacific Heights mansions, and who cares? And as far as dark and sinister urges are concerned, everything here is permitted – and more often as not takes place in a quaint Victorian flat. Make no mistake, though. For all its picturesque “views,” this is a town where really really bad things happen to good and bad people alike.

The Maltese Faulcon (1941)

“I don’t mind a reasonable amount of trouble. “
One of the first and best film noirs to ever come out of Hollywood. Bogart finally gets the star treatment as street smart detective Sam Spade, a man caught in a sticky web of lies, betrayal and murder. He’s drawn into the desperate search for the Maltese Falcon – a priceless 400-year-old, jewel-encrusted statue – by a lovely woman, played by Mary Astor, who does nothing but lie to him from the moment they meet
Locations: Bush Street, Ferry Building, Golden Gates

Dark Passage (1947) 

“The best goodbyes are short. Adieu.”
Directed by Delmer Daves and Starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. It was the third of four films real-life couple Bacall and Bogart made together.
The film is notable for its first third being shot entirely from the point of view of Bogart’s character, Vincent Parry, his face never seen. The story follows Parry’s attempts to hide from the law and clear his name of murder.
Locations: 1360 Montgomery Street, Golden Gate Bridge

The Lady from Shanghai(1949)

I told you…you don’t know nothing about wickedness”
Directed by Orson Wells it was filmed in 1946 and early 1947.  The movie, adapted from the novel ‘If I Die Before I Wake’ by Sherwood King, was an early contributor to the evolving film noir style, incorporating as it did murder, intrigue, double-cross and of course a scheming femme fatale.  The storyline moves from New York City to Acapulco then on to Sausalito and San Francisco with spectacular location scenes adding reality to the plot.  the famous final scene, brilliantly shot in a room full of distorting and replicating mirrors, is film noir denouement at its very best.
Locations: 201 Bridgeway, Sausalito; Steinhart Aquarium, California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, West Harbor, the Marina, San Francisco, Chinatown. 

D.O.A. (1950)  

“What would you do of your own killer?”
Directed by Rudolph Maté, is considered a classic of the genre. D.O.A. is a fast-paced noir thriller that begins and ends in Los Angeles but has lots of San Francisco action in between. The frantically paced plot revolves around a doomed man’s quest to find out who has poisoned him – and why – before he dies.
Locations: St. Francis Hotel (335 Powell Street); Market Street; Embarcadero; Southern Pacific Hospital (1950)

Vertigo (1958)

“You shouldn’t keep souvenirs of a killing. You shouldn’t have been that sentimental.”
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring James Stewart, Kim Novak and Barbara Bel Geddes. The screenplay was written by Alec Coppel and Sammuel A. Tayor, based on the 1954 novel “D’entre les morts” by Boileau-Narcejac.
It is the story of a retired police detective suffering from acrophobia who is hired as a private investigator to follow the wife of an acquaintance to uncover the mystery of her peculiar behavior.
The film received mixed reviews upon initial release, but has garnered acclaim since and is now frequently ranked among the greatest films ever made, and often cited as a classic Hitchcock film and one of the defining works of his career



Residency and Creation   | Our Town at the Stanford Drama Departement 

Our Town By Thornton Wilder
November 9-12 at 8pm
Pigott Theater, Memorial Auditorium

The New York Times says, “Thornton Wilder’s masterpiece…An immortal tale of small town morality [and]…a classic of soft spoken the


Stanford Drama professor Jean-Marie Apostolidès collaborates with the world-renowned French director Georges Lavaudant to present the Pulitzer Prize-winning American favorite that Edward Albee describes as “…the greatest American play ever written.” Written and set in the late 1930s when milkmen still came door-to-door each morning, Our Town nonetheless confronts the more timeless human traditions— love, marriage, birth, and death—and asks the questions at the core of human experience: how might we live life with both significance and routine? What makes life significant?


Born in 1947, Georges Lavaudant is a writer and a stage director. He has been successively co-director of the Centre Dramatique National des Alpes (CDNA) between 1975 and 1981, director of La Maison de la Culture de Grenoble (1981-1986), co-director (with Roger Planchon) of the Théâtre National Populaire (Lyon, 1986-1996) and director of the Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe (Paris, 1996-2007).

With the support of :


MOISE TOURE | Residency & Creation  | Esperando la Llegada del Alba

Moïse Touré strongly believes that everyone has the capacity to create art and participate in artistic endeavours where there are no longer producers on one side and consumers on the other. Something else is about to be born : an innovation no longer coming from the engineers and marketers, but from the emergence of networks, the exchanging of knowledge, by passionate amateurs. The cultural industries have too often produced a cultural consumerism incompatible with a true artistic and cultural experience. With the new cultural technologies, other behaviors, other forms of knowledge appear. The public is the new avant-garde : they invent the cultural institutions of tomorrow.

San Francisco will be the place of connection between Art and Community. This project will be addressing the question of community and place each person at the center of the creative process, producing new art forms with it. In order, ultimately, to energize classical art forms and to open into other aesthetic perspectives. The outcome of the project would be to show that social and political barriers can be overcome when participants share their thoughts, emotions, and inspirations in participating in a common artistic project.


Moise Toure created the company Les Inachevés (the Unfinished) in 1984, in Grenoble, France. He has been the assistant of renowned stage director Georges Lavaudant at the Théâtre Nation

Francis Viet

al de l’Odéon, Paris, and has been invited as resident stage director to the Scène Nationale

de Guadeloupe, where he worked on a repertoire in Creole. Moise Toure has extensively worked in France and abroad, diversifying his artistic collaborations, but keeping always a simple goal : adapt his work practice to the reality of the local culture and population, and always trying to provoke encounters between artistic expressions, places and audiences. Moise Toure worked in different languages (Bambara, Arabic, Spanish, Berber, Creole and Portugese) with texts by Duras, Sartre, Koltès, Le Clézio and Racine.

With the support of :


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