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Sep 05, 2018, 08:22 IST | Snigdha Hasan

A new series of readings of translated French plays kick-starts today, with a drama based on a double-murder mystery

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Lea and Christine Papin

A childhood of physical and emotional abuse often comes back to haunt one — and the rest of the world — in adulthood. One such case that went down in the annals of French history was the murder of the women of the Lancelin household by their live-in maids and sisters, Christine and Léa Papin, in 1933.

Such was the brutality of the murders that its analysis became an intellectual pursuit of the time, with some analysts believing that what transpired on that fateful February night was as symbolic of class struggle as it was of the effect which growing up in an alcoholic household had on the sisters. Nobel-winning existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre, eminent psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan and avant-garde dramatist Jean Genet, too, weighed in on the same.

A rehearsal in progress
A rehearsal in progress

And it is with Genet's play, The Maids (Les Bonnes, 1947), loosely based on the Papin sisters, that a new initiative of dramatised readings of French plays translated in English starts today. A collaboration between Alliance Française de Bombay and St Andrew's Centre for Philosophy & Performing Arts (SAPP), it will feature two translated readings of a French play on the first and last Wednesdays of every month at the Churchgate and Bandra addresses of the collaborators.

"The current director of AF Bombay, Frédéric Simon, is a theatre person himself. So, we have been organising several theatre-centric events in the recent past," informs Siddharth Bhatt, communication in-charge at the institute. SAPP founder Omkar Bhatkar adds, "Personally, Genet is one of my favourite playwrights. We thought of starting the series with him because he is a better-known French playwright in India." Bhatkar informs that they are also planning to include a Marathi reading of the play for the second session this month. Theatre artistes Sharmila Velaskar Kadne, Neelam Gheewala and Manali Kale will perform the reading.

Jean Genet
Jean Genet

On Tonight, 6.30 pm
At Alliance Française de Bombay, Churchgate.
Call 22035993

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