I am cross posting Frank Morlock's review of a performance of Jules Verne's Journey Through the Impossible, its first production in America. Note on the play's publication below. > On Sat, 5 Mar 2005, frank morlock wrote: > > > Lsst night, I attended a production of Jules Verne's Le Voyage a > Travers L'Impossible which he wrote with the assistance of Adolphe > d'Ennery in 1882. The performance was in French. It was staged by > Histrio, a French Theatre at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. It > was intended a a commemoration of the hundreth anniversary of his > death later this month. > > > The original play was perhaps the most audacious act of stagecraft > that I know of. It combined three Jules Verne novels -- Journey to > the Center of the Earth, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, and From the > Earth to the Moon. It is mind boggling in scope. Adapting any one of > these novels to the stage would test the skill of a highly capable > playwright. Putting all three into one play and giving them unity of > theme would, on it's face, would seem impossible. But it worked. > > > The story is simple enough. Young Georges > Hatteras has lived in ignorance of the fact he is the son of a great > explorer for fear the knowledge would cause him to repeat his father's > adventures and die like his father (an insane polar explorer in Verne's novel). Georges is going to marry Eva. But > Eva is being stalked by the sinister Doctor Ox who, when he discovers > Eva is Georges' fiance, reveals his paternity to him, and by means of > an elxir is able to transport him to the bowels of the earth, the > depths of the sea and ultimately to the planet Altor. Ox hopes that > these adventures will result in Georges losing his reason thus freeing > Eva to love himself. But he doesn't count on the angelic Doctor > Volscius, the organist at the cathedral who is a good angel protecting > Georges and Eva and who impersonates Doctor Lidenbrook, Captan Nemo, > and Michael Ardan (heroes of the three Verne novels > respectively). Eventually, Ox is defeated and Georges restored to > sanity and Eva. > > > The play had to be considerably edited by it's director, Genevieve > Brunet Smith, because the original is a massive work. The edited > version was presented without scenery and only a few props. Several > comic characters were eliminated, but this did not detract from its > power, and in fact may have enhanced it, by focusing on the drama > rather than the spectacle. > > > So, I was wondering how an amateur theatrical group was going to > solve some of the obvious problems of staging so vast a work in a > small theatre. The solution was to remove all but the essential > characters, employ sound and musical effects in place of visual > effects, and use four or five children in a variety of roles > simulating crowds, Atlanteans, and Altoreans. > > The acting was excellent, particularly by Stefan Aleksander as > Doctor Ox. Olivier Moratin is versatile playing Volscius, Lidenbrook, > Nemo, and Ardan. Anna Maman gives a capable performance as Eva. Richard > John Seikaly as Georges gave a performance that reflected the feverish > state of mind of this character. Indeed, all the actors are deserving > of high praise. > > > But hat's must go off to the director / editor Genevieve Brunet > Smith for not only devising a wonderful adaptation of the original > play, but for getting the cast up to what was indeed a difficult work > to perform and extracting fine performances from them all. > > > > > > Frank J. Morlock > > e-mail [log in to unmask] A translation of the play into English for the first time was published by the North American Jules Verne Society a couple of years ago. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1591020794/qid=1110386964/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/002-1027445-6437602 Morlock is translating many of Verne's plays, and some of these are available online. http://jv.gilead.org.il/works.html#plays Voyage a travers l'impossible was also adapted as a 1905 Georges Melies film. Brian Taves Motion Picture/Broadcasting/Recorded Sound Division Library of Congress 101 Independence Avenue, S.E. Washington, D.C. 20540-4692 Telephone: 202-707-9930; 202-707-2371 (fax) Email: [log in to unmask] Disclaimer--All opinions expressed are my own.