Just me talking about costume-y kind of stuff
I got an email from Molly saying that they filed the injunction today. Now we play the waiting game, to see what the judge is going to do about it. In the meantime, while you are waiting, here's a link to the Texas Tribune article about the case against it and how both the Texas Civil Rights Project and the ACLU filed cases.
UpDated 7-14-23 Happy BAstille Day, Folx!
I opened my inbox to find responses to my mass email project:
Four theatres sent back what was basically an automated reply saying, we got your email and will respond to you shortly. Michael Meigs, who runs the CTX Live Theatre website responded with, thanks for sending me this, I'll post it on my blog and send it to the guy who runs ATX Live Theatre as well. He wanted to know if I'd sent it to other theatres. The President of Sun City Actors and Theatre Guild, Georgetown, Morgan Fogelman, reached out to say he was going to pass along my concerns to his Board of Directors. But the best response so far was from Molly Petchenik, a lawyer with the Texas Civil Rights Project, who had gotten my email from Vortex Theatre. Her office is preparing to file a lawsuit to challenge SB 12 as unconstitutionally overbroad and vague, and she wants to interview me, so I spent about two hours on the phone with her this afternoon. Additionally she wanted names of Texas HS theatre teachers to contact for her deposition as well. I gave her 30 names of people to talk to. When I started looking at the list, I was super surprised to realize that exactly half of them were former students.
And then I started making memes:
Yesterday I emailed an abbreviated version of this post to every major professional theatre in Texas as well as the Texas ACLU. So far I have gotten nothing in reply from anyone. Here's who I emailed:
Zilker, Shakespeare in the Park
Salvage Vanguard Theatre
Trinity Street Players
Sun City Actors and Theatre Guild, Georgetown
Sam Bass, Round Rock
Bastrop Opera House
Dallas Theatre Center
Jubilee Theatre, Fort Worth
Our Productions, Addison
Granbury Opera House
Texas Shakespeare Festival, Kilgore
Theatre Under the Stars
Tobin Center for the Performing Arts
The Public Theatre
Waco Civic Theatre
Viva Les Artes, Killeen
Texas!, Palo Duro Canyon
Lubbock Community Theatre
Backdoor Theatre, Wichita Falls
Viva El Paso!
El Paso Playhouse
The Paramount, Abilene
Abilene Community Theatre
Central Texas Live Theatre (a reviewer)
I will continue my emailing efforts with smaller venues, and then extend it to Universities and College Theatre departments. I plan to get the word out to everyone who does theatre in this state BEFORE Sept. 1, when the new law goes into effect. I will continue to update my list every time I contact a new theatre and also what (if any) reply I get back. I've also got some memes I'm working on for a social media campaign, so stay tuned for those.
The Texas Tribune and other news sources have been following the progress of SB 12 through the legislature. You can read the final version of the bill here. It has now been signed into law and goes into effect Sept. 1st. SB 12 is anti-LGBTQ legislation that criminalizes drag shows and performers. It makes "sexually oriented performances" illegal on public property OR in the presence of a minor" You read that right, it's not in public AND in the presence of a minor, it's in public OR in the presence of a minor, basically criminalizing the state of being a trans person. Let that sink in. Here's a recent article in the Houston Chronicle about how SB 12 is affecting the LGBTQ community. I have been the faculty sponsor of the Gender and Sexualities Alliance on our campus for the last two years. The GSA has hosted a drag show on campus as its main fund-raising venture every spring. We participate in Waco Pride Network's Out on the Brazos event every fall. We support all our trans and non-binary students both on and off campus. At this point I am afraid for what the future holds for the state of our organization and the safety of our LGBTQ students this next school year.
If that wasn't bad enough, no one in the Texas theatre community seems to be talking about the possible ramifications on our profession, so I took the afternoon to write down all of the ways that this piece of transphobic legislation may impact our entire entertainment industry, focusing specifically on live theatre.
We need to be concerned with the vague language of the bill as well as the punishment aspect of it being a criminal offense and carrying a hefty civil penalty--$10,000 for the offending business and $4000 for the performer. They've taken out the language that specifically mentions drag but replaced it with this incredibly vague phrase: "sexually oriented performances" which are illegal on public property OR in the presence of a minor" and goes on to state that 'Sexually oriented performance' means a visual performance that: " (ii) a male performer exhibiting as a female, or a female performer exhibiting as a male, who uses clothing, makeup, or other similar physical markers and who sings, lip syncs, dances, or otherwise performs before an audience". This bill makes whole categories of plays and musicals illegal to perform.
Here are some examples:
1. Shows that are about drag performances: KInky Boots, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, La Cage Aux Folles, Rocky Horror Show, Victor/Victoria.
2. Shows that use cross-dressing as a plot device: Tootsie, Mrs. Doubtfire, Twelfth Night, Merry Wives of Windsor, As You Like It, Merchant of Venice, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Cymbeline, Servant of Two Masters, Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Charley's Aunt, Torch Song Trilogy, Stage Beauty, M. Butterfly, Les Miserables, Babes in Toyland, Scarlett Pimpernel, Sunset Boulevard, The Producers, Hairspray, Spamalot, Rent, Clue the Musical, Peter Pan, Cinderella, Anything Goes, Die Fledermaus, La Strada, Three Musketeers, Chicago, Shipwrecked, Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) to name a few.
3. Shows that feature anything "that appeals to the prurient interest in sex". This wording leaves the judgement call up to the interpretation of the audience. What one audience member may view as tame, another person may view as lewd. So we can't have the Hot Box dancers in Guys and Dolls, the KIt Kat Club in Cabaret, Miss Mona's girls in Best Little Whorehouse, Reno Sweeney and her Angels from Anything Goes, Philia and the rest of the courtesans in Forum, The Full Monty, the entire cast of Follies, Funny Girl, and Chicago, as well as anything about sex workers in general like Fantine and the Lovely Ladies from Les Miserables, Therese Raquin, "Bring on the Men" from Jekyll and Hyde, MIss Saigon, Sweet Charity, Moulin Rouge, Mimi from both La Boheme and Rent, as well as any consensual sex scenes in any play like Romeo and Juliet, Same Time Next Year, Dangerous Liaisons, Tartuffe, Lysistrata etc... and of course there can be no plays about rape or sexual abuse like Phaedra, Anything, Really, Really, How I Learned to Drive, Stet, Oleander, Measure for Measure, Man of La Mancha, Extremities, Rape of the Sabine Women, Blackbird, Consent, Blasted, Phaedra's Love, Cleansed, etc...
4. Gender blind casting is something we do at MCC all the time, especially in the opera, mainly because we never have enough men to fill all the male roles. Here is a list of every show we've done in the last 25 years that has included at least one (if not more) actors playing a role that was the opposite of their gender assigned at birth: Addam's Family, Puffs, No No Nanette, Mikado, Romeo and Juliet, To Kill a Mockingbird, Alice in Wonderland, The Emperor's New Clothes, Hansel and Gretel, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Fortinbras, Much Ado about Nothing, Pirates of Penzance, Daughter of the Regiment, Imaginary Invalid, Henry V, Once Upon a Mattress, Magic Flute, MIdsummer Night's Dream, Treasure Island, and Appointment with Death. There are probably more instances of women playing men in the chorus but these were the ones where it was a lead character.
5. Shows set in any period where men commonly wore tights, heels, wigs, and makeup. Everything written before 1800. All plays by Shakespeare, Moliere, Wycherley, Racine. Hamilton and any other plays about our founding fathers. It could be extended to include any Greek, Roman, or Byzantine plays where men wore "dresses", as well as Egyptian plays were men wore skirts and Scottish plays such as Brigadoon where men wore kilts. It would also not allow directors to set non-period plays in those periods. Additionally, would male actors be allowed to wear makeup or wigs or have long hair? Would female actors be allowed to wear pants and have short hair?
6. The casting of trans or non-binary actors unless they were cast and costumed according to their sex at birth.
And this is just how it would impact LIve Theatre.
7. What about the Comicon and Renfaire community? No more cosplaying characters different from your sex assigned at birth. I guess I have to retire my Robin and Doctor Who costumes. My daughter dressed as Penguin one year, she won't be able to do that again. My son always dresses in Wizard robes (no pants) so that's out. My husband can't wear his ancestral kilts.
8. It could also extend to what movies can be shown in theaters, which would have all the same prohibitions on subject matter, time period, costumes, makeup/hair, and casting choices as live theatre.
9. And don't forget the Live Music scene. No more sexy barely dressed female artists: Madonna, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Niki Minaj, Miley Cyrus, Dua Lipa, Shakira. No more hair metal bands with men in tight spandex pants, long hair, and makeup-- KISS, Cinderella, Motley Crue, Poison, Whitesnake, , Elton John. Just to be safe no singing any songs about sex or wearing sexy clothes while performing or do any sexually provocative movements while performing. Twerking would be definitely out. No more Elvis impersonators, Glee Clubs, or A Capella Groups.
10. It would affect sportsball too: Farewell to Super Bowl halftime shows. Goodbye Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders. No more high school and college cheer squads, dance teams, drill teams, color guard, and twirlers.
11. Don't forget the whole array of restaurants with scantily clad, large-breasted wait staff--I'm looking at you, Hooters. No more mimosas at Drag Brunches, birthday parties at Magic Time Machine, or turkey legs at Medieval Times.
12. Not that I'm a particular fan of strip clubs, but those are all illegal now too. Remember it's not in public AND in front of a minor, it's in public OR in front of a minor. So goodbye to any Bachelorette parties at Chippendale's; I've never been, but now I'll never get to.
Feel free to comment and/or link to my blog on all your social medias.
I have always wanted to go to New Orleans. I was supposed to go for New Year's Eve 1999 for the "Y2K Debacle" with my best friends and former college roommates who were from Louisiana, Monique and Heather, to meet our other friend from college, Sam, who actually lived there and was going to show us around and take us to all the great places and make sure we stayed safe because he was a guy. But then my mom had to have a hysterectomy to remove a benign bowling ball sized tumor in her uterus right before Christmas. So I went to Austin instead of New Orleans and instead of exploring the French Quarter, I got to do her Christmas shopping for her at Walgreen's on Christmas Eve. After the surgery, was even more fun. Instead of getting Hurricaness at Pat O'Brien's, I got to insert catheters into her swollen urethra so she could pee, and instead of going to a drag show on Bourbon Street, I got to rent movies from Blockbuster so she could fall asleep on the couch halfway through. My step dad, Joe, and I eventually gave up picking movies that she wanted to watch and just rented movies we wanted to watch because we were the ones who stayed awake to finish them. Joe was an ex-Navy man, with a boat and a vision. He was a survivalist who had taken the whole Y2K thing seriously. He had invested in solar-powered appliances, as well as a generator, and had also amassed gallons of gasoline, sacks of rice and beans, cans of food, and other non-perishables, and had been storing it all in the garage. Had every empty bottle, jar, and glass in the house filled with water. There was so much safety gear, food, and other stuff they could no longer park their cars in the garage. On New Year's Eve at the stroke of midnight...the world did not end, as you probably already know. So I went to bed that night still mad that I wasn't in New Orleans with my friends.
When Rob and I got married in 2010, he promised me that he'd take me to New Orleans one day since he'd been several times and I'd had my New Orleans dreams crushed. It took 13 years, but we finally got there. I made a bucket list of all the things I wanted to do while we were there. It was four days three nights and there were so many things I wanted to do that we could really only accomplish a handful of them. I wanted to go during Spring Break, so it wouldn't be so damn hot, but they didn't have any rooms available then, so we had to push it back to June. It shouldn't have been so hot already, thanks global warming and the heat cell that was stuck over the South that week. Nothing went to plan, of course, but we made the best of it and managed to make it home safely without dying of heat stroke, so I call that a win.
List of things I wanted to do but didn't get to do:
Eat beignets and drink coffee at Cafe du Monde.
Go to the French Market.
Tour St. Louis #1 to see Marie Laveau's grave (Glapion Family Crypt), and Delphine Lalaurie find a grave $25 each for the tour. Closed to public, you have to be on a tour to get in.
Lafayette #1: Yellow fever victims. Open to the public.
Tour the Garden District.
Drink a Hurricane at Pat O'Briens.
Ride the streetcars.
Eat at Coop's.
Go to Jefferson Variety Store.
Visit Gator Chateux: a wildlife rescue in where you can pet a baby alligator. You have to do this on the way to N.O. because it's in Jennings which is right after Lafayette. NO is still 3 hours away. If you try and go after you leave NO, you probably won't get there before they close.
Things I did get to do:
Visit the Mardi Gras Costume Museum:
St. Louis Cathedral
French Quarter and Bourbon Street.
Night Haunted Tour
Sazerac House Tour
Drink Absinthe Jean Lafitte's Old Absinthe House $20 for one drink.
Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo
See a real drag show
New Orleans Museum of Art: free because of reciprocal museum membership with DMA.
Did that first thing. It was great. Got there an hour early and took 99 photos before the tour even started. Our MC was awesome. She sang, danced, and was super nice. She suggested another museum that we wanted to go to but it was expensive to get in and we were already broke. A couple of days later we were walking in the French Quarter and she was driving home after work and noticed us on the street and stopped her car to ask us how we were enjoying our vacation. That's a first.
Haunted History Walking Tour
$21 each. "New Orleans Ghost Adventures Tour" the only historically accurate tour. Our guide was drunk but he still knew his stuff and was hilarious! We had a great time and learned so much history. It was even better than the Ripper tour we did in London, but only because all the locations we were there to see were actually still there and hadn't been destroyed or built over by gentrification like Whitechapel. Our destinations included:
Lafitte Blacksmith Bar
The Old Absinthe House
Mayfaire Witches House
The Ursaline Convent
Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo
The Vampire Cafe
The Ladies of Oz Drag Show
The only bar on Bourbon street that is owned by a trans woman. They celebrated their 30th anniversary this year. Drag shows every Wednesday and Sunday nights, excluding Ash Wednesday.
St. Louis Cathedral
Although we are not Catholic, we do love ourselves an old cathedral and St. Louis is the oldest cathedral in North America, built in 1718. It was named for and dedicated to King Louis IX of France who was canonized in 1297.
I have been a big fan of Anne Rice since I read Interview with a Vampire in high school. Back then, there was talk about making it into a movie and casting Rutger Hauer as Lestat, but that never materialized. After that, I read every Vampire novel as they came out and the Mayfair Witches novels, and the other stand alone books. I tracked down the erotica she'd written under a pseudonym. Years later, I even bought the Jesus ones just to see what they were all about and although I still have them, I have yet to actually read them.
When I was a senior in college, she was doing a book signing in Houston to promote The Body Thief, which I'd already bought and read. I had to write a paper for my philosophy final that weekend so instead of going myself, I gave my copy to my roommate, Danette, who was also in my philosophy class and also had to do her final paper that weekend, but who had chosen to go to the book signing instead to meet our hero. I gave her $20 for gas since I couldn't/wouldn't go with her, for her trouble. When Danette got there, she was forced to buy me a new copy of the book with my gas money in order to get it signed, because what is a free book signing event for besides selling copies of the book? (We were so naïve back then) Anne said some very nice things to Danette about her hair and signed both of our brand new books.
Cut to years later. I'm in graduate school in Long Beach, CA. I'd just moved there and was exploring the local mall's bookstore. Lo and behold as I was browsing the sci-fi shelves, a worker bee was setting up a table for a book signing and the author was just getting settled in. No one else was in the store yet. You guessed it, it was Anne Rice promoting Memnoch the Devil! I just had to tell her the story of the earlier book signing that I forsook to do my philosophy final instead. That just tickled her pink. She said that I definitely did the right thing by doing my philosophy final instead. Then the worker bee kicked me out because the store was closing to get ready for the book signing. So when Anne died in 2021, I felt all the feelings.
Anne's Rice's house in the Garden District 1239 1st Street
Metairie Cemetery: Anne Rice's Grave
New Orleans Museum of Art
There is no parking lot here. You just have to park on the side of the road, but at least it's within the museum grounds. There is a huge sculpture garden that we did not go see because it was already too hot. We got in for free because we are members of DMA and they have a reciprocal agreement. SNAP recipients also get in for free.
The Crown to Couture exhibition was advertised in the cafeteria of the Tower of London. I looked it up and it was free if you had the London pass but you still had to email for a ticket because it was a timed entry and the website said it might take 2-3 days to get a response. I took a chance that it would all work out, so I emailed them on Tuesday that we wanted tickets for Thursday and I got a response back that night. We took the Tube to Kensington but then had to walk through Hyde Park and then Kensington Gardens all the way to the Palace. I didn't remember the walk being so very long to get there. Plus it was hot that day, even for a Texas girl. We had to stop a lot and rest. When I got home I looked up the blog I'd written about our last trip, which you can read here and we didn't get to Kensington that way. We did the Royal Albert Hall tour first which put us halfway there already. We should have gotten off one Tube stop later. Anyway Kensington Palace is wonderful all by itself. Last time there was a Diana fashion exhibition that we also went to. I was hoping to get two more Cornettos like last time in honor of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, but we couldn't find anyone selling them this time.
"CRown to Couture" Kensington Palace
Here's a video reviewing the exhibition.
Big Ben was being renovated last time we were here and was completely covered in scaffolding. It was really nice to see him all shiny and new this time. Here's a documentary that the BBC did on the renovation project, full of interesting facts and behind the scenes stuff. For example, I did not know that Big Ben is actually the name of the largest bell in the tower, whose name is actually The Elizabeth Tower.
There was a protest going on right in front. We saw a couple of the guys with their drums on the Tube from earlier in the day, who were participating. I looked it up when we got back to the hotel. It was the 14th anniversary of the Tamil genocide in Sri Lanka. Here's an article from the Tamil Guardian where you can read all about it. Although Parliament officially recognized the human rights violations committed by Sri Lanka as genocide in 2019, four years later the Tamils have yet to receive justice for their families.
The Golden Hinde
The Golden Hinde was the ship that Sir Francis Drake sailed to circumnavigated the world. Like the Globe Theatre, the original has been gone for centuries. It took another American, Art Blum from San Francisco, to commision a replica ship. It took 3 years of research to make sure that it would be historically accurate using only original materials and methods to do so. The video below is from 1973 and captures the whole process. This year was the ship's 50th anniversary. Unfortunately, the video owners won't let anyone share or embed their video, so you have to click on the link to watch it directly on YouTube. It's just 20 minutes long, but it's well worth it.
This video was made during the Pandemic and features an interview with Anthony Lewis, an expert on the history of the actual Golden Hinde.
It is a surprisingly small ship compared to what I was expecting. It is amazing to me that this craft actually did sail around the world in 1974, just like the original Hinde did in 1577.
The CLink Prison
From the website:
The Clink Prison dates back to 1144 making it one of England’s oldest and most notorious prisons. Positioned in the heart of modern-day Southwark and built on the original site, The Clink Prison Museum presents the scandalous truth of Old Bankside through a hands-on educational experience. There are opportunities to view archaeological artefacts, experience the sights, sounds and smells of the prison, handle torture devices, and to view and hear all about the tales of torment and many misfortunes of the inmates of the infamous Clink Prison. Spanning for over 600 years, it witnessed a remarkable amount of social and political change in England, and thus housed a multitude of sinners throughout its existence, including debtors, heretics, drunkards, harlots, and later religious adversaries. Positioned in the heart of modern day Southwark, the prison was situated in an area that has long been associated with more raucous, vivacious and unruly behaviour; it was the louder, ruder and wickeder neighbour to The City, and a place where Londoners sought entertainment.
The TAte Modern
Last time we were here, we only visited the Tate because we were in urgent need of a toilet, and we didn't have time to stick around and see anything. So this time, I made sure that we would do that.
From the website:
Entry to the gallery is free – there’s no need to book. Booking a ticket is recommended for exhibitions but some tickets may be available at the door. Members enjoy unlimited free entry to exhibitions with no need to book. Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms, however, still requires a free Members ticket, given the show’s special and intimate scale.
Tate Modern has over a hundred years of art, from modernism in the early 1900s, to exciting works created today. This includes paintings, sculptures, and more made by artists all over the world such as Pablo Picasso, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, and Jenny Holzer.
Experience Tate’s iconic Turbine Hall. In the Natalie Bell Building you can see how artists create new ideas. In the Blavatnik Building you can explore the underground Tanks, dedicated to performances, installations and video works.
Globe Theatre Tour
We toured the Globe last time as well, but the exhibition has changed since then. To see what it looked like last time, you can read all about it here.
From the website:
In our brand-new, walk-through exhibition space, you’ll be immersed in the sights, sounds, and secrets of Shakespeare’s London, travelling through over 400 years of fascinating history. You’ll be able to relive some of our most iconic shows with seasonally curated displays, and even have the chance to get ready for the stage yourself with interactive costumes and props.
Venture into the Globe Theatre itself where our expert Guides bring to life the thrilling story of our iconic wooden ‘O’. Hear how the original 1599 theatre survived the plague, fire and political oppression and rose again in the 1990s as part of one man’s radical vision. Wonder at its craftsmanship and imagine how thousands of Londoners once packed in to see the greatest actors of the day.
All tours are in English and suitable for all ages. Information sheets are available in a number of languages. We are an open-air theatre and tours go ahead in all conditions so dress for the weather.
MIdsummer Night's Dream
Check back here for more info
Today was our leaving day and frankly I was very glad to be leaving Paris.
Sarah Bernhardt Exhibition
Sarah Bernhardt was a French actress famous in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
I don't know why the train station had an exhibition on Sarah Bernhardt. Maybe they put it up for her 100th Death Day anniversary in March and just left it up. I don't read French, so I couldn't tell you. I did take photos of all the text that was in the exhibit, so if any of you actually read French, I'd love to know what it all says, especially the quotes. If you don't know anything about Sarah Bernhardt, I've included some highlights of her "stranger than fiction" life/career courtesy of my extensive research on Wikipedia.
After doing more research, I learned it was advertising this exhibition: "Sarah Bernhardt: And the woman created the star" at the Petit Palais Museum which opened in April and runs through August. I downloaded the English version of the press kit which is great, but it doesn't have the translation of the pull quotes, so I still have no idea what they say.
Sarah Bernhardt born Henriette-Rosine Bernard 22 October 1844 – 26 March 1923
Born to a Dutch Jewish mother who was a high class courtesan with an elite clientele which included the Duke Charles de Morny, who was the President of the French Legislature and Napolean III's half brother. de Morny was not Sarah's father, her father was a wealthy lawyer whose identity was a mystery for years.
Her mother sent her off to boarding school when she was 7. Her father's family paid for her Convent education when she was 10. She wanted to be a nun but was accused of sacrilege when she performed a full Christian burial with procession and last rites for her pet lizard. She had her first role in Clothilde as Queen of the Fairies in the school play in which she had a very dramatic death scene.
When her father died, de Morny suggested to her mother that Sarah become an actress. He took her to see her first professional play at the Comedie Francaise with Alexander Dumas pere when she was 16. They saw Racine's Britannicus and she sobbed so loudly that she disturbed the rest of the audience, which upset Morny but delighted Dumas, who got her an audition at the Comedie Franciase. She was accepted and studied there for two years. She quit the theatre and ran off to Brussels to take a lover and ended up having an affair with the Prince Henri de Ligne and got pregnant. She gave birth to her only child, Maurice, without telling the Prince that she was pregnant.
She came back to Paris to work at the Theatre de L'Odeon, the second most prestigious theatre after the Comedie Francaise, where she played Cordelia in King Lear. She continued to charm audiences for the next six years receiving many proposals of marriage and expensive gifts from her many admirers. During the Franco-Prussian war she converted L'Odeon into a hospital and tended to wounded soldiers. assisting with amputations and other surgeries. When the "hospital" ran out of coal, she burned scenery and props to keep the patients from freezing. After the war she returned to the Comedie Francaise and played all the most challenging roles written by France's most famous playwrights, Racine, Voltaire, Hugo,and Beaumarchis. While the Comedie was being remodeled she toured London and the United States and played to full houses and in private homes. After her first performance in New York, she made 27 curtain calls. She did 157 performances in 51 cities and earned $194,000 in one year; that's six million in today's dollars.
Back home she leased a 1,700 seat theatre from the city of Paris for a 25 year term. She renamed it the Theatre Sarah Bernhardt. She staged new plays that were written just for her by Sardou, Hugo, Rostand, Corneille, and others. This is where she played her most famous roles: Jeanne D'Arc, Phaedra, Theadora, Camilla, Dallia, The Samaritan Woman at the Well, and the Melancholy Prince himself, Hamlet, in a version that was specifically adapted for her. She actually became quite famous for playing male roles and received both praise and criticism for it. She employed Alphonsa Mucha to design all her theatre posters and was the first person to sell them as souvenirs. After her death, her son Maurice continued to run it. During the Nazi occupation of Paris, the Germans renamed it because of her Jewish heritage, but once Paris was liberated, the French people changed it back. It kept her name until 1968 when it was changed to Theatre de la Villes and still operates to this day.
On her second US tour, she was not allowed to perform on any stages in Texas because they were all owned by a very powerful theatre syndicate, so she performed in circus tents and skating rinks instead. She went down to South America for the last leg of the tour, doing a revival of La Tosca, a play written by Sardou specifically for her, where her character bravely jumps to her death in the Tiber at the end of the show. Sarah did her own stunt by landing on a mattress hidden by some scenery. On the last date in Rio de Janiero, the mattress was positioned incorrectly and she landed on the stage instead hitting her knee on the floor. She refused to see a doctor and sailed home to Paris instead. By the time she arrived her knee was better but the French people were angry with her for leaving to perform abroad for all that filthy foreign lucre, so she was offered no roles. She went to England again and performed for Queen Victoria and Prince Edward, then returned to Paris in time for the Bastille Day celebration in which she recited La Marseillaise, dressed in a white robe with a tricolor banner, and at the end dramatically waved the French flag. The audience gave her a standing ovation, showered her with flowers, and demanded that she recite the song two more times. (Click here for a short history of La Marseillaise, the French National Anthem, including the lyrics in both French and English.)
She toured every summer while her own theatre was closed, raking in enough money to keep her theatre afloat for the rest of the year. She did a total of eight US tours and many more European tours and continued to play to packed houses right up until the outbreak of WWI. She hurried back to Paris only to realize that her earlier untreated knee injury in Rio de Janeiro had finally caught up to her and she had developed gangrene. The surgeon was forced to amputate her leg up to the hip. She refused to use a prosthetic leg, crutches, or a wheelchair to get around and instead hired two handsome and strong men to carry her around on a gilt sedan like Cleopatra. She continued to perform despite the amputation, traveling to soldiers on the battlefield to entertain the troops. Another famous French actress, Beatrix Dussanne, described her performance: "The miracle again took place; Sarah, old, mutilated, once more illuminated a crowd by the rays of her genius. This fragile creature, ill, wounded and immobile, could still, through the magic of the spoken word, re-instill heroism in those soldiers weary from battle." She sailed across the Atlantic despite the threat of German submarines, to perform in the US, but immediately set sail for Paris the day the Armistice was signed.
She died of kidney failure, while preparing to perform Cleopatra. 30,000 people attended her funeral. She was 79 years old.
Great show! More opinions to come.