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  Shanghai - Star
'Three women' celebrates Francophonie in China

Yvonne Zhang
page04  2006-3-21

"Trois Femmes (Three Women)," presented by the French and Swiss consulates general in Shanghai, will be performed at the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre on March 23.

This will be one of the series of events in celebration of International Francophonie Day, starting March 16 and continues to the end of the month. The cultural carnival of French speaking people in Shanghai is being held for its fifth year.

It is also one of the first times that drama in a foreign language other than English will have been staged in Shanghai.

The Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre has organized English language performances many times in the past few years. Local audiences have become familiar with English drama with Chinese subtitles and can enjoy it with little difficulty.

The centre believes that multi-language dramas will gradually become popular in Chinese theatres, but is not sure how well they will be received now.

"The play is like a probe to test the acceptance of French drama in Shanghai," said Christine Huang, a spokesperson for the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre.

"Trois Femmes" portrays the unlikely encounters between three characters from completely different worlds. Their ages, their social backgrounds, their ideals, their lifestyles, their motivations drive them apart. Despite their differences, these three women have one single aim: to live a better life, and each in their own way, will do anything to reach their goal.

They will lie, cheat, and plot, but love triumphs in the end.

The play deals with the generation-gap and with the growing problems of an aging population. However, these serious subjects are handled with sensitivity and humour.

The play is presented by the Theamon Company, which was founded in Montreux, Switzerland, a town famous for its annual jazz festival.

Director of the play Dominique Roussy (also one actress in the drama) is from Switzerland but received dramatic training in New York. In 2004, Roussy presented the play "Tristan et Yseult," which featured retarded actors and toured all over Switzerland.

Actress Evelyne Theubet is a psychologist with professional training. A few years ago, she became interested in acting and has developed her skills at improvization.

Veronique Saunier, the third actress, is a French writer who joined the Theamon Company two years ago. She studied in Shanghai's East China Normal University and is excited to perform in Shanghai, her "hometown."

Other events for the Francophonie celebration includes a concert featuring acts from France: electro pop band Les Delfes, electro acoustic band Stereo Total and reggae hip-hop band BBC Sound System.
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