Marie Dorval: France's Theatrical Wonder. A Book for Actors by Bettina Knapp

By Bettina Knapp

To track the lifetime of Marie Dorval during the turbulences and exhilarations of her epoch is to interact not only with the genesis and the whole flowering of a unprecedented theatrical genius but additionally with the teeming literary, emotional, fiscal and fabric dramas within which this type of genius is implacably embroiled. Dumas, Vigny, Hugo, Sand, Gautier and so on mingle their artistic and affective energies with Dorval's in a ceaseless dynamic interaction. yet to learn Bettina Knapp's unprecedented tale is to achieve too the so simply missed backcloth to lifestyles in Marie Dorval's instances: poverty, the necessity to will one's survival, unimaginably making an attempt situations within which theatre is played, no matter if within the provinces or in Paris. And the account that follows additional seeks, upon this straight away intimate and societal canvas, to offer us a few genuine perception into the distinctiveness of Dorval's appearing thoughts, at the same time instinctive, viscerally normal, and realized, studied, notwithstanding extra from existence than guideline. A publication for actors, certainly; yet a booklet, too, for enthusiasts of the theatre and, past that, of the sheer inconceivable drama of lifestyles.

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Extra info for Marie Dorval: France's Theatrical Wonder. A Book for Actors (Chiasma 21)

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She would first have to taste of him in the flesh. They became lovers. She was satisfied. This did not mean that she would give up other lovers. She was free to do as she wished. They would be married on October 17, 1829 (Moser, 28). CHAPTER 3 Theatrical history was made on June 19, 1827. The Porte Saint-Martin was buzzing with excitement. Crowds had gathered long before curtain time to see Marie Dorval and Frédérick Lemaître play opposite one another for the first time. Nor would they be performing in a run-of-the-mill melodrama.

Dorval stood slim, small, and slightly bent on stage on opening night of Thirty Years or a Gambler’s Life. Her manner perfectly encapsulated the young, repressed, obsequious, soon-to-be married Amélie. According to the materialistic values of the day, she had the money, and her husband to be, the status. ” Events did not fulfill expectations. Her unthinking, vacuous, weakly structured domineering gambler husband, Georges de Germany, played by Frédérick Lemaître, looked down with disdain upon his ever-cringing wife.

When she failed to appear in Bordeaux at Easter, 1820, a non-suit was served. Marie lost the case and was obliged to pay (Le Hir, 106). Not to worry, the birth of Philippine-Caroline Allan, came along on December 11, 1820. While also of Piccini’s manufacture, their third child was more robust than the first two and survived. It would, however, be the last time that Marie would be able to claim her husband as the father of her child. Allan Dorval died on May 30, 1820, in St. Petersburg from a high fever brought on by the rigors of the climate.

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