I. About Theatre Metropole

(Click here for lancetait.com.)

Theatre Metropole began in 2002 as an international English-language theater company in Paris, founded by Lance Tait. The company's activities diversified into video/film late in 2007 and a few months later, in June 2007, Theatre Metropole signed a two-year royalty agreement with Crackle, an internet entertainment company owned by Sony Pictures. As a consequence, twenty-five digital short films were produced.

T.M Theatre Lab in Paris is comprised of theatre practitioners and artists from various different continents. Theatre Metropole does not shy away from the ambitious or the esoteric. Onstage it focuses on post-absurdist drama and has a special interest in one-act plays, epic theater and musical theatre. It believes that what is classic remains avant garde and that the best of the avant garde is truly classic. In 2003 the company presented "Synesthesia" at the New York International Fringe Festival. In 2002-03 the company also co-presented a reading series in Paris of ten plays written by Lance Tait based on short stories by Edgar Allan Poe. By 2005 Theatre Metropole started its ongoing series of original comedy sketches. Plays and sketches from these shows are now for sale in print and ebook formats.

Theatre Metropole agrees with Italo Calvino who says in "Six Memos for the Next Millennium", "Overambitious projects may be objectionable in many fields, but not in literature. Literature remains alive only if we set ourselves immeasurable goals, far beyond all hope of achievement. Only if poets and writers set themselves tasks that no one else dares imagine will literature continue to have a function. Since science has begun to distrust general explanations and solutions that are not sectorial and specialized, the grand challenge for literature is to be capable of weaving together the various branches of knowledge, the various 'codes,' into a manifold and multifaceted vision of the world."

Ambitious works which Theatre Metropole has presented, sometimes partnering with Moving Parts, Paris, are the musical, "Helen", and Three Essential Plays (Car Door Shave; Gambling Fever; Neither God Nor Master), available in print and ebook formats. At present, though Theatre Metropole has presented works by other playwrights including the poet John Ashbery, its main objective is to present works by Lance Tait, contemporary U.S. writer and director. From 2005 to 2014 work continued on seven more plays adapted from seven short stories by Edgar Allan Poe which resulted in the publication of second volume of "Poe plays": The Black Cat and Other Plays Adapted from Stories by Edgar Allan Poe. New volumes of Comedy Sketches continue to be published. However it should be noted that at present, Theatre Metropole has been on a break from full production since December 2012 except for invitation-only staged readings of new works in Paris and elsewhere. Most recent thanks to the six actors and Haejoon Moon of Theatre M in Seoul, Korea for co-production help with a staged reading in June 2014 in Seoul of new comedy sketches by Lance Tait.

Praise for Lance Tait and Théâtre Métropole: “Tait is a playwright with ideas and intellect and challenges and excites an audience” – Yvonne Shafer, author of “Performing O’Neill.” “Masterful acting… superb direction by Tait – CurtainUp New York. “Fascinating, exciting ideas” – NYTheatre.com. “Fine acting”– Back Stage New York. “Tait's fine body of work will ultimately find a larger and appreciative audience” – Stephanie Campion, artistic director, Moving Parts, Paris.


 

II. Theatre Metropole’s internet (mostly comedy) videos

Beginning in June 2007 Theatre Metropole’s videos became available at Crackle after Theatre Metropole signed a royalty agreement with that internet entertainment company owned by Sony Pictures. Web-wide, Theatre Metropole videos have received 2 million views. Now, most of the videos can still be seen on YouTube. These digital films were by and large an outgrowth of the live comedy sketches that Lance Tait wrote for Theatre Metropole The style of the sketches is indebted to the work of one of the great masters of the genre in Paris: the Frenchman, Roland Dubillard – a poet, playwright and actor admired by Beckett and Ionesco. And like Dubillard’s inventions, these comedy skits (and the short films) are usually written for two actors each.

 

III. The Musical, "Helen"

A musical comedy in 2 acts, with 22 songs by Lance Tait, loosely based on a comedy of the same name written by Euripides (5th century B.C.).

To hear selected songs from "Helen" please go to www.myspace.com/helenthemusical

The Play and Its Film Adaptation

"Helen" is not only musical comedy for the stage, you can find information here on its adaptation for the screen.
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Time, Setting and Costumes: Egypt, during the time of the Trojan War; large interior rooms of the King of Egypt’s palace; the Hollywood film, ‘Solomon and Sheba’ (1959) directed by King Vidor, has costumes that would fit ‘Helen’- no kidding!

Actors/Singers:16 is the minimum number suggested; 6 principle roles, females followed by males: Helen, Thekla, Noey, Hermione; the King, Menelaos; 2 Minor roles: Bia (female); a Poet (male); Mens’ Chorus (4); Full Chorus (4 females added to the already 4 males in the Men’s Chorus).

Technical remarks concerning the music demo CD: the digital recordings were made in the GarageBand2 and 3 format and mixed (a rough mix) to standard digital uncompressed AIFF format; all the songs and instruments are key-transposable (C major, D major, etc.); all the songs are transferable to other industry standard recording software; any part or whole of the present audio easy interfaces with Logic Pro, SMPTE code, film, etc.; paper notation of music, vocals: Finale software (an industry standard) was used to notate words and song melodies; the present orchestrations to the songs are easily notated by using LogicPro software.

 

IV. The Edgar Allan Poe Project 2002-2015

"...consider anew what are the capabilities of the drama--not merely what hither to have been its conventional purposes." Edgar Allan Poe, "The American Drama," August 1845.

We have passed the year 2009 which was the Bi-centennial of Edgar Allan Poe's birth. Long Live Poe! Not only is Theatre Metropole presenting these plays from the Edgar allan Poe Project, small theater groups around the world are also. They usually present 1 to 4 of Lance Tait's stage adaptations of Poe in one evening. show.

A combination of theatrical techniques from world theater are used in plays adapted and inspired by Poe. Tait remarks, "Certainly my aim in selecting many lesser-known Poe stories to adapt is founded upon my desire to enlighten the world about the profundity and exquisite scope of Poe... my desire is to honor Edgar Allan Poe, and in these times where the arts and humanities are marginalized and even attacked by many constituents in the moneyed elite, to hold up Art as a wondrous endeavor to be indulged."

"To confine myself to a narrow set of theatrical conventions, as one does, for example, when writing a naturalistic play, would have been the death of this project. When adapting Poe for the stage I did my best to free myself of many preconceived notions of what the final result might be. I tried to remain open to a wide range of performance modes (verse, song, narrative, dialogue, dance). Convergence with Poe is possible because of his universality, his depth and his genius for instructing the emotions and inventing new form."

V. Synesthesia at the New York International Fringe Festival

A number of years ago, "Synesthesia," featured British actress Stephanie Campion in the role of Lydia Perova and British actor Damian Corcoran in the role of Detective Louis Yevchenko. Duration of the production: 1 hour 30 minutes. (Note also that recently the play was also been adapted into a filmscript for a 3D movie.)

In CurtainUp.com David Lipfert wrote of the stage presentation: "There is another interesting drama at this year's Fringe, Lance Tait's "Synesthesia" in its world premiere. Detective Yevchenko (Damian Corcoran) interviews musicology professor Perova (Stephanie Campion) to solve a recent double murder there at the Kiev Conservatory. Yevchenko has done his homework. He has gathered rich detail about the two deceased visiting professors, a couple that had formed a liaison, and their relationship to Perova. He also knows a lot about composers like Alexander Scriabin that attempted in their highly emotional works to combine all the senses, or synesthesia. It's an odd topic for guarded and emotionally stunted Perova, like many people that develop intense careers from childhood. Alternatingly probing and reassuring, he succeeds in dislodging her feelings -- jealousy of the dead woman and love for the man. Seconded by Tait's musical score of electronics plus opera, she imagines conversing with the man of her dreams in mini mad scenes. Yevchenko's hunch is right. Playwright Lance Tait has done his musical homework as well. The musical references are not the usual superficial variety, and the psychological dimension is believably explored. Masterful acting by Corcoran and Campion plus Tait's superb direction make a winning combination."

'Synesthesia' itself refers to the phenomenon of the senses getting crossed--colors are heard, music and fragrances are seen, etc. In the play, there is discussion of music compositions that go beyond the realm of sound and into realms of sight, smell, touch and the mystical. There was an extensive original soundtrack used in the play's New York performances.

VI. Lance Tait, Founder and Artistic Director of Theatre Metropole

 

Lance Tait is a native of northern New York. His plays have been produced or received staged readings in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Boston, Denver, Paris, the United Kingdom, South Africa, South Korea and at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Tait studied playwriting with the Nobel Prize (literature) laureate Derek Walcott at Boston University. He has been a lecturer in the dramaturgy program at the University of Leeds, England. Mr. Tait composed the incidental music for "Synesthesia" as well as all his short digital films. He is an alumnus of Bard College where he majored in music composition.

 

 

VII. The David Lynch Cup Auction

 

The David Lynch Cup Auction for benefit of Theatre Metropole: what is on the auction block is Number 30 of the limited edition of 100 espresso kits designed and personally signed by artist/filmmaker David Lynch. The espresso kit was crafted in France, of world-renowned Limoges porcelain. It was bought on the second day (March 4, 2007) of David Lynch’s art exposition (“The Air Is On Fire”) at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris. The highest bidder will also receive a program from the show and a copy of the magazine, Beaux Arts Magazine, which features photographs of some of the artworks in the show. The original price of the espresso kit was approximately $350 USD, though it depends on which euro to dollar exchange rate you choose. Bidding starts at $500. The item, unused, is still in its original box is in pristine condition.