The 33rd Molières French theatre awards, back after a two-year disruption due to Covid, awarded four trophies to Shakespeare’s popular comedy “As You Like it”.
The ceremony, held on 30 May, also heard from #MeToo activists calling for the fight against sexism and harassment in the industry to be stepped up.
Lena Breban’s version of William Shakespeare’s comedy “As You Like It” (Comme il vous plaira) was a favourite at the annual event, honouring the best performances by private and state-supported theatres in France.
She walked away with the trophies for Best Show in a private theatre, Best Direction, Best Actress for Barbara Schulz and Best Supporting actress for Ariane Mourier.
Another comedy, “Berlin Berlin”, about a couple wanting to cross over into West Germany during the Cold War, received the Molière for best comedy and best actor for Maxime d’Aboville.
The musical “The Producers” (Les Producteurs), by award-winning Alexis Michalik, garnered two Molières for best musical and best upcoming actor Benoît Cauden.
For their version of “Gulliver’s Travels” (Le Voyage de Gulliver), the couple Christian Hecq and Valerie Lesort were awarded prizes for visual and sound creation.Their piece Bourgeois Gentilhomme by Molière is currently full house at the Comedie-Francaise.
Other stars such as Isabelle Adjani, Vanessa Paradis, Laetitia Casta and Pierre Arditi went home empty-handed.
The 33rd edition was also the focus of #MeToo activists who gathered at the event, lead by actress Adèle Haenel to share their message denouncing sexual violence and sexism in the industry.
According to reports on social media, some women were prevented from accessing the theatre by police stationed outside.
Pauline Bureau, who won a Molière for Best Francophone scriptwriter for her play about a female football team, reminded the audience that “only 18 percent of public money goes to companies directed by women”.
She called on the new Minister for Culture, Rima Abdul Malak, present in the audience, to make it her priority.
The live ceremony, that went ahead with no public in 2020 and was cancelled due to Covid in 2021, coincided with the 400th anniversaire of the birth of Molière, celebrated around the world from Paris to Kansas City, Missouri.
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According to the Association of Private Theatres in France, quoted by Les Echos newspaper, the attendance rate for the first quarter of 2022 dropped by 44 percent compared to 2019.
“It’s not by sitting in front of our screens waiting for meals to be delivered that we will conquer our fears but through crying, laughing and sharing our emotions in a theatre,” actress and Molières president Isabelle Carre said at the ceremony.
The evening’s MC, comedian Alex Vizorek attempted to inject a dose of humour into the proceedings, despite the gravity of some of the themes touched on such as the Ukraine crisis.
“I hope everyone managed to get inside, and that it wasn’t like at the Stade de France,” he said referring to the Liverpool football fans stuck outside the stadium ahead of the Champions League match on Saturday.
Homage was also paid to award-winning French actor Michel Bouquet, who appeared in more than 100 films during his 70-year career. He died in Paris in April at the age of 96.
The full list of 2022 Molières nominations and prize-winners can be found here.
Originally published on RFI