Presentation of The Exchange by Paul Claudel
The Exchange by Paul Claudel
Adapted and translated by David Furlong
Based on translations by Louise Witherell (USA), Stephen Baine (NZ) and France Herve (FR)
‘A Universal cocktail of Vaudeville and Melodrama.’
On the border of the ocean, in the United States of America, A young couple: Louis Laine, native american and his wife Marthe, a French woman. They meet another couple: Thomas Pollock Nageoire, a rich self-made businessman and Lechy Elbernon, an eccentric actress. An interactive exchange is taking place among people, but also between culture and times. The Exchange deals with the contradiction between money and spirituality.
The Exchange by Paul Claudel is a major play in the French Theatrical landscape. This classic masterpiece is unknown in the UK. This contemporary revival of the play is a unique and challenging moment of theatre: a universal cocktail of vaudeville and melodrama. Claudel was 25 when he wrote the Exchange in 1893; he was ahead of his time, a symbolist poet facing his doubts in a world in conflict. Nowadays, this revival of The Exchange seemed the most contemporary choice and was the founder show of Exchange Theatre in 2006.
Paul Claudel, an early 20th century symbolist
Claudel was like TS Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Joyce, or even Tagore, a symbolist poet. He was a diplomat at the dawn of the first worldwide conflict, working in a world torn between a history of killing, and the hope of a brighter future. When looking closely at such a description and comparing it to the present time, are we not yet living once again in a world of uncertainty? Since 9/11, our certitudes have eroded. Today’s world is lost in its contradiction, between the world of money and spirituality. The Exchange provides a vision of material opulence, which can be coupled with a spiritual emptiness.
We laughed a lot, but didn’t miss the complexity of human nature. Elegant, original, approachable without betraying the poet. – Michael Donley, The Paul Claudel Review.
Casting and information
June 2006 – Jermyn Street Theatre
July 2007 – Hackney Empire Studio (Spice Festival)