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The Ladies of the Camellias at Ross Valley Players

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The Ladies of the Camellias at Ross Valley Players

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What happens when rivals in the Belle Epoque theatre scene meet up and create some drama? Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse both vie for top billing in this comedy - but there is surprising twist!

What happens when rivals in the Belle Epoque theatre scene meet up and create some drama? Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse both vie for top billing in this comedy - but there is surprising twist!

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The Ladies of the Camellias at Ross Valley Players

  1. 1. Ross Valley Players Present
  2. 2. Meet the Cast
  3. 3. Michele Wolpe Sarah Berhardt
  4. 4. Adrianna Dinihanian Eleonora Duse
  5. 5. Geoffrey Colton Alexandre Dumas, fils
  6. 6. Frederick Lein Gustave Hippolite-Worms
  7. 7. Francisco Arcila Flavio Andó
  8. 8. Laim Robertson Benoit Constant Coquelin
  9. 9. Mohammad Shehata Ivan
  10. 10. Wood Lockhart Benoit
  11. 11. Laine Flores A Girl
  12. 12. Meet the Director
  13. 13. Julian López-Morillas Director Julian López-Morillas (Director) has been acting and directing in the Bay Area for the past four decades. In his many seasons as Associate Artistic Director at the Berkeley Shakespeare Festival (now California Shakespeare Theatre) he directed productions including Pericles, Henry IV Part One, All’s Well that Ends Well, Timon of Athens and Coriolanus. Other directing assignments have been with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, American Players’ Theatre, Berkeley Jewish Theatre, San Jose Repertory Theatre and Marin Theatre Company. Local audiences will also be familiar with his acting work from appearances with the Marin Shakespeare Festival (Romeo and Juliet, The Spanish Tragedy) and the Marin Theatre Company (The Seafarer).
  14. 14. The Great Rivals
  15. 15. An Epic Rivalry (See Director's Notes for more details!) During the Belle Époque (late 1800's), the European stage was dominated by two leading ladies: Sarah Bernhardt, and Eleanora Duse. These rivals had their passionate partisans due in large part to their individual styles. Sarah charmed audiences with her beauty, grace, and technique while Eleonora used "naturalism" from Ibsen and Chekhov to evoke pity for her deep passions and tragic view of life from her patrons. In London, each diva performed their own rendition of both Dumas' The Lady of the Camellias and Sundermann's Heimat within days of each other - giving George Bernard Shaw (theatre critic) the opportunity to weigh in on his preference of Ms. Duse. Their rivalry created the actual historical event on which this play is based. Duse announced her intentions to portray Marguerite from Camellias once more - and Sarah offered her own theatre for the performance.
  16. 16. Styles on Stage Looking Forward and Backward Team “Melodrama” Team “Naturalism” Sarah Bernhardt was known for her “drama” on and off stage (e.g. it is rumored that she slept in a coffin, and only accepted payment in gold). She kept the traditional techniques of the earlier 1800’s melodrama style of theatre alive using heightened emotions, actions, and vocal stylings. Eleonora Duse adopted the theatre style spurred by Darwin’s Origin of the Species and embodied the changes in lifestyle and attitude in the Belle Époque. She portrayed characters sincerity and inner life compellingly on stage.
  17. 17. The Lady of the Camellias by Alexandre Dumas, fils Many grand-dames of the stage coveted the role of Marguerite – and both Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse portrayed her during the Belle Époque period. This tragic love story between Marguerite (the Lady of the Camellias – so named for her white dresses) and her lover Armand Duval embodied the morals and struggles of the 19th century. The character Marguerite was a “demi-mondaine” (e.g. “kept woman” by various men) who suffered from tuberculosis. During the course of the play, Armand convinces Marguerite to turn away from being a courtesan… However, Armand’s family hopes and aspirations lead to a tragic outcome for Armand and his love, Marguerite…
  18. 18. Catching the Conscience of the Community [adapted: Shakespeare’s Hamlet - 2.2] Hamlet’s advice to his players has never been more relevant… …for any thing so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature; - Hamlet Act 3.2, 19–22 Tonight, that mirror is turned around. Life has unexpectedly imitated art. And herein, we will find new meaning in its message. Additionally, we’ve made available an addendum to tonight’s Director’s Notes from Julian López-Morillas. You can choose whether or not to reveal the plot’s surprises… His wise words begin this way – After the horror of the events in Paris last week, I told my producer that I couldn’t think of a more difficult time to be putting on The Ladies of the Camellias. A play set in a theatre in Paris… RVP invites you to participate. Simply write a note and place it on our board. We will show the world that we have a community of support for those who have suffered.
  19. 19. Donation Forms! Founded in 1930, Ross Valley Players is the oldest continually operating community theatre West of the Mississippi. Our productions have been awarded by Theatre Bay Area Awards, the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critic’s Circle, and Dean Goodman. About Ross Valley Players Theatre for the Community Can you help us reach $40,000 during Ladies of the Camellias?

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