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Cheeky, at the Studio-Théâtre: these women who moved the world forward

They are courageous, daring and avant-garde.

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Cheeky, at the Studio-Théâtre: these women who moved the world forward

They are courageous, daring and avant-garde. Famous or unknown, they “only do what they want.” These are the “Culottées”, the heroines of Pénélope Bagieu’s comic strip (Gallimard, 2016 and 2017). “ It’s quite galvanizing to see that there are a thousand ways to take charge of your life! », rejoices the author. This is a first for the Comédie-Française. With the help of Rachel Arditi, Justine Heynemann transposes her heroines on the stage of the Studio-Théâtre, at the Carrousel du Louvre, one of the Frenchman's three rooms.

Hedy Lamarr (Françoise Gillard), the actress and film producer, invented, with composer George Antheil, a way to code transmissions. Clémentine Delait, the bearded woman (Séphora Pondi), plays the Mistress of Ceremonies. Feminist activist, Thérèse Clerc (Coraly Zahonero) founded the Maison des femmes for victims of violence; Phulan Devi, “ the Queen of Bandits” (Claïna Clavaron), raped and beaten, became a legend in India; Afghan rapper Sonita Alizadeh (Élissa Alloula) won the Freedom Prize for her fight against forced marriage.

Pénélope Bagieu's album has already been adapted into an animated series by Phuong Mai Nguyen and Charlotte Cambon on television (France 5, 2020). On a stage framed by light bulbs, the magic of theater operates. These great female figures, at all levels, come to life again before us. Justine Heynemann and Rachel Arditi had to pull their hair out to choose thirty extraordinary women out of sixty. All deserved to be reborn. Their two “sisters” do them justice with a concern for truth and commendable finesse. Joséphine Baker thus enters the circus ring - ingenious decor by Marie Hervé - without her belt of bananas, far from the image of Epinal that we have of her.

Also read: Georges Simenon and Joséphine Baker, the devil in his body

Also a director, Justine Heynemann retraces their destiny through a series of sketches which see them pronounce a liberating word, but also cross paths and challenge each other. Without taboos and without anger, but with a confident voice that will never be forgotten. Each “Culottée” is a pioneer, dares to be herself and climbs “her mountain” with communicative strength.

Justine Heynemann masterfully directs the actresses invested in their roles at a frenzied pace. They trigger laughter, emotion and admiration. The discreet musician Manuel Peskine accompanies the entrance of Peggy Guggenheim or Wu Zetian, the first empress of China. A beautiful declaration of love to the women who have moved the world forward. Recommended for ages 7 and up, the show is sold out. You can try your luck by going there in advance.

Culottées, at the Studio-Théâtre, Carrousel du Louvre (Paris 1st), until March 3. Loc. :

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