Emma Bovary and the battle over the female body, viewed by Tiago Rodrigues (& Gustave Flaubert) at the Bastille

Bovary for re-postTiago Rodrigues’s “Bovary,” based on the Flaubert novel and the legal process around it: Morality played out on paper and on the female body. Photograph of Alma Palacios by and copyright Pierre Grosbois and courtesy Theatre de la Bastille.

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2016, 2018 Paul Ben-Itzak

“Bovary” is being reprised at the Theatre de la Bastille in Paris through March 28.

PARIS – What I love about Tiago Rodrigues, the director of the Portuguese National Theater who is “occupying” the Theatre de la Bastille for two months with three works, is that he defies the conventional wisdom that attracting contemporary audiences requires jettisoning the classical canon. Rodrigues understands that if an oeuvre like Gustave Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary” (whose original title was “Madame Bovary, or Provincial Morals”) has endured for 160 years, it’s because despite changing mores, its portrayal of societal turmoil (above all the conflict between individual comportment and predominant national values) is still pertinent. Even if today it’s not the loose morals of a married woman that are accused of threatening societal norms, as was the case with the story of Emma Bovary, but the custom of a small group of Muslim women to cover all or part of their bodies that is perceived by some as threatening the presumed norms of lay values, the battle terrain is the same: the woman’s body.

To receive the complete article, first published on May 29, 2016, subscribers please contact publisher Paul Ben-Itzak at paulbenitzak@gmail.com. Not a subscriber? Subscribe to the Dance Insider & Arts Voyager for just $29.95/year ($99 for institutions gets full access for all your teachers, students, dance company members, etc.) by designating your PayPal payment in that amount to paulbenitzak@gmail.com, or write us at that address to learn how to pay by check. Subscribers receive full access to the DI/AV Archive of 2,000 exclusive reviews by 150 leading critics of performances and art on five continents from 1998 through 2015. You can also purchase a complete copy of the Archives for just $49 (individuals) or $109 (institutions) Contact Paul at paulbenitzak@gmail.com. Sign up by March 9 and receive a FREE Home page photo ad.

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