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Théâtre du Marais

history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)31.12.1637 | Opening

(detail)1673 | closure

History

The first permanent theatre in France mainly came about through the remodelling of a tennis court which had the ideal rectangular ground plan, three sides being surrounded by galleries. Only a stage had to be added. The new theatre had three rows of galleries. The first two were divided into loges, while the last one was arranged as an amphitheatre auditorium with ascending rows directly opposite the stage. Along the sides they remained on one level without dividing loge walls. By means of this remodelling project Théâtre du Marais came into being.

 

"Recent research   places   the   opening   of   this theatre, one of the forerunners of the Comedie-Francaise, on 31 Dec. 1634 in a converted tennis court in the rue Vieille du-Temple,   with   a   company   under Montdory , which had previously appeared in Melite,  the first play by Corneille,   whose   Le   Cid  they produced in 1636-7. Among other notable productions was Tristan's La Mariane (also 1636), in which Montdory was playing Herod when his health broke down and he was forced to retire. Without him the Marais went through bad times. Its best actors joined the rival company at the Hotel de Bourgogne (q.v.), to which Corneille also gave his new plays, and those who remained reverted to the play¬ing of old-fashioned crude popular farces. The one good thing was the arrival of Jodelet, for whom Scarron, d'Ouville, and the younger Corneille wrote excellent  farces.  At  a  later  date the Marais, which was a big theatre, specialized in spectacular performances which made use of the newly imported Italian machinery. But it never regained the place in public esteem which it had held under Montdory, and in 1673 its actors were amalgamated with those of Moliere, who had just died. The combined company, which by its later fusion with the actors of the Hotel de Bourgogne became the Comedie-Francaise, acted at the theatre in the rue Guenegaud which had been built for Lully's opera company, and the old Marais stage was abandoned."

 

In: Hartnoll, Phyllis, ed. The concise Oxford companion to the theatre. 1st ed. London: Oxford University Press, 1972.   ISBN 0-19-281102-9. p. 334

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Hartnoll Phyllis

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