Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt is one of the most popular young playwrights to have appeared on the Parisian theatre scene lately. Since 1993, 38 year-old Schmitt has collected three major hits with Le Visiteur, Variations Enigmatiques and Le Libertin. He has also written a novel and adapted Mozart's opera Nozze di Figaro and Maury Yeston's musical Nine into French.
Le Visiteur, Schmitt's first big hit, was created in 1993 and won three Moliere Awards (Best Author, Best Newcomer and Best Production in a Private Theatre). A new production of Le Visiteur has just opened at the Theatre Marigny, under the direction of Canadian Daniel Roussel who had previously created the English version of the play in Montreal. Starring Rufus and Tom Novembre, the play takes place in pre-World War II Vienna, in Freud's office, on the night where the Gestapo takes away Freud's daughter, Anna. Freud is alone and desperate when a mysterious man appears and starts talking to Freud. Could this man be God Himself ?
Rufus plays Freud while Tom Novembre plays the mysterious visitor. Markita Boies is Anna and Jerome Frey the Nazi officer. Sets and costumes are created by Carlo Tommasi. Light designing is by Franck Thevenon.
Rumour is that Schmitt will reach the biggest stages of the world sometime in 1998. There is talk about a Broadway production of Le Visiteur starring Elie Wallach and Christopher Plummer, as well as a West End production of Variations Enigmatiques starring Donald Sutherland, but no further information was available at press date. With Yasmina Reza's Art currently running in the most prestigious theatre cities and Schmitt's plays likely to follow the same path, French playwrights might be the next sensation on the international stages.
For tickets and information on Le Visiteur at the Theatre Marigny - Salle Popesco, call 331 42 25 20 74. -- By Stephane Ly-Cuong