Gallic fest hits Gotham stages

Proceedings will kick off July 17

PARIS — In the first major event of its kind, the creme de la creme of the French stage will descend on New York over the next five months for “Act French,” a festival dedicated to Gallic theater.

Proceedings will kick off July 17 with Ariane Mnouchkine’s Theatre du Soleil production of “The Last Caravanserail,” a two-part epic on the plight of the modern-day refugee, which plays as part of the Lincoln Center Festival.

Other highlights include Isabelle Huppert in a French-language version of the late British playwright Sarah Kane’s rumination on depression, “4:48 Psychosis,” directed by Claude Regy; Marie-France Pisier performing in English in the one-woman show “Transatlantic Liaison: Letters of Simone de Beauvoir to Nelson Algreen”; and, still to be confirmed, theater-film luminary Patrice Chereau reading Dostoyevsky’s “Notes From the Underground” at the New York Public Library.

Lectures and debates

Some 50 performances, lectures and debates will take place at 20 Gotham venues through mid-December.

Event is being organized by the Assn. Francaise d’Action Artistique, a government-funded body for the promotion of French arts abroad and the French embassy in New York.

Legit festival follows “France Moves,” a similar event promoting Gallic contemporary dance in 2001, and “Sounds French,” which highlighted contemporary French music in 2003.

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