English-speaking Paris

On the 31st of December 1999, the eve of his 100th birthday, the clown, Scaramouche Jones, tells the incredible story of his life.  Scaramouche Jones, is a play in English by Justin Butcher, performed by Leslie Clack and directed by Patricia Kessler at the Theatre Nesle (Dec 20, 21, 22, 29, 31 and January 8, 9, 13, 15). A fascinating one-man “play” in which a clown, Scaramouche Jones, relives his life and contemplates his death at the age of one hundred. Born at midnight on December 31, 1899, Scaramouche will die as the Millenium begins, having witnessed major events of the twentieth century, which he brings to life and explores, not just as a clown who has acquired seven masks during his lifetime, but as an everyman, giving breadth and universality to this drama. Theatre Nesle, 8, rue de Nesle, 75006 Paris https://www.dearconjunction-paris-theatre.com

“Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me,” a play in Englsih by Frank McGuinness performed by the Dear Conjunction Theater Company, directed by Patricia Kessler with Damian McCann, Leslie Clack et Jerry Di Giacomo (December 6-15, 7PM) at the Theatre de Nesle. A tale about an Englishman, an Irishman and an American locked up in a cell in Beirut… Why? And just how they are going to survive their unseen captors, and the “the boredom, the boredom, the bloody boredom” of it? And they find each other ; three bollocks in a cell in Lebanon. They turn to Virginia Wade, Her Majesty the Queen and Desert Island Discs, not to mention their own wit, imagination and courage to stay alive and sane.

The play is based on real events; in the mid 80’s Shi’ite militia captured Irishman Brian Keenan and British journalist John McCarthy. For nearly five years the men were held hostage, with no contact with the outside world. This beautiful text is based on the story of their struggle and their friendship.

“Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me,” Dear Conjunction, Theatre de Nesle, 8, rue de Nesle, 75006, Paris https://www.dearconjunction-paris-theatre.com

Diana Cooper-Richet, author of “La France anglaise, de la Révolution à nos jours” speaks (December 11, 7:30PM) at the American Library. She will present the history of British residents and visitors in France since the 1789 Revolution and discuss their social evolution. During the first half of the nineteenth century it was mainly elites who came to France to enjoy the Parisian theatres and museums. By the 1850’s, thanks to Cook’s tours, more and more Brits crossed the Channel to visit the International Exhibits held in Paris. At the end of the twentieth century, the Brits who decided to purchase houses in France, living there seasonally or permanently, were modest families. They did not speak much French, but wanted to own a property they could never dream of back home. This long companionship between the French and the Brits has left many traces – sports, art, food, fashion…. and one musn’t forget that Haute Couture was invented by an Englishman! At the American Library in Paris, 10, rue General Camou, Paris 75007.

Susan Herrmann Loomis author of 13 books discusses her new book “French Grill, 150 Refined and Rustic Recipes” (Tuesday, December 4, 7:30PM). “I am passionate about tradition,” says Loomis, “and all of my work has led me to investigate, share, then write about food and agricultural traditions throughout the world, focusing mostly on France which is where I’ve begun to send down my roots.   I  believe that learning about cooking and food  involve much more than recipes and techniques and to that end, share with you, my reader and my cooking student, the people, the traditions, the culture around the farm, the table, the winery, the bakery, the fromagerie and more.  I delight in meeting and introducing the personalities and customs behind the great cuisines of the world.” At the American Library in Paris, 10, rue General Camou, Paris 75007.

Annabel Simms’ talk, “How to briefly escape from Paris to France,” (December 18, 7:30PM) will outline her criteria for selecting daytrips in her original guidebook, An Hour From Paris, and its recent sequel, Half An Hour From Paris. She will explain why the Ile de France is one of the most accessible and rewarding regions in the country, still little-explored by many Parisians, let alone foreign visitors. She will illustrate her talk with a detailed look at one of the destinations in Half An Hour From Paris, including some of the experiences that went into writing it. Finally, she will try to assess the future development of the Ile de France, now that it is being rebranded as Le Grand Paris. Annabel is a Londoner who came to Paris on a year’s sabbatical in 1991 and never left. An Hour From Paris first appeared in 2002 and was last updated in 2017. Half An Hour From Paris was published in 2018. Her articles on off-beat travel in France and other countries have appeared in The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, The Financial Times, The Mail on Sunday and elsewhere. The American Library in Paris, 10, rue du General Camou, Paris, 750076 Paris.

Poet Carol Ann Duffy reads from her new collection of poems “Sincerity.” December 13, 7PM, 2018. Time and its passage are at the heart of this reflective work, which gazes out from the autumn of life. There are moving elegies here for what has departed; whether that be children who have flown the nest, a way of life, literary luminaries, past loves, lost parents or our own youth. As Duffy dramatizes scenes from childhood, adolescence and adulthood, she finds moments of grace or consolation in memory, love and language amid the complexities of life.

She casts her eye both inwards, in poems of a deeply personal nature, and yet also outwards, taking stock of a world in turmoil. In some of her most radical work yet, we see Duffy satirise and unpick the deception and dishonesty at the heart of our current political situation. A rallying cry builds steadily through the book culminating in a moving closing ode to the virtue of sincerity. At Shakespeare and Company, 37 rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris

Author Emilio Williams returns to the American Library in Paris (January 16, 7:30PM, 2019) to share  surprising stories of the 7th arrondissement. He will focus on Americans who lived in the area and their contribution to literature and the arts such as the woman who taught America how to make a real French Omelet and the ultimate muse of the French New Wave. Williams will offer recommendations for unexpected walks around the area. 10, rue General Camou, Paris, 75007