Earlier this week, I travelled to Paris to see the Playhouse Paris Scene Night, an event organised by Tracy and Mark Pellegrino to showcase their students.
If you don’t already know, Tracy and Mark own an acting school in Paris, teaching the Meisner Technique that was developed by Sanford Meisner. Tracy and Mark both worked with Sanford Meisner himself and taught the Meisner Technique for many years at Playhouse West in LA, so they bring the expertise and authenticity that many others who claim to teach The Meisner Technique don’t have. Check out the school: Playhouse Paris, and sign up if you’re an actor! I’ve observed a few lessons there — Tracy and Mark are brilliant teachers!
Mark welcomed everyone to the Playhouse Paris Scene Night and said he hoped it’d be the first of many. I hope so too! Mark told the audience that the actors were at all levels, beginners through to advanced, and for some it was the first time they’d been on stage in front of an audience.
Christmas Present (by Amy Herzog)
Devika Hemant and Joachim Auvray
In the first scene, Devika and Joachim had an awkward ‘morning after’ conversation in which Devika’s character wanted to exchange contact details just in case, and Joachim’s character didn’t seem interested until a bit more information was revealed. I enjoyed how organic the exchange between the actors seemed, even though the scene was scripted.
Reasons to be Pretty (by Neil Labute)
Romé Tillier and Lola Aubrière
This was another awkward conversation, which started with Romé’s character making a careless comment about the character played by Lola. What I liked about this scene was how the words told one story while the actors’ emotion and body language seemed to tell another as they talked about how things were after moving on from each other.
Knocked Up (by Judd Apatow)
Camille Pellicer and Joachim Auvray
I thought it was great how the actors brought out the humour in this scene. There were several funny moments including the way Joachim’s character reacted to the announcement that Camille’s character is pregnant, and when he blamed her because he thought she told him not to wear a condom (she had told him to get on with it).
The Power and the Glory (by Le Wilhelm)
Emma Chaïbedra and Nora Seiwerth
Nora’s character is depressed, feeling unattractive, and doesn’t like elevators. Emma’s character has talked her into riding in a glass elevator, and neither woman is wearing underwear, so Nora’s character is getting plenty of attention from the men below. The way Nora played her character’s increasing enthusiasm for the situation was absolutely hilarious.
Standing By (by Norman Barasch)
Lola Aubrière and Joachim Auvray
Lola’s character is getting ready to leave hospital, giving up because her cancer is no longer in remission. Joachim plays the supportive, optimistic partner, so when he proposes, it’s surprising to learn that they’ve only known each other four days. I enjoyed the interaction between these two actors — they made me want to see the rest of the play.
Constellations (by Nick Payne)
Eva O’Neill and Maël Guivarc’h
This was my favourite scene because I loved how the story played out twice, once with Eva’s character admitting to cheating and again with Maël’s character as the cheater. It was interesting to see how the actors delivered two parts of a scene that were the same in some ways but very different in others.
Proof (by David Alburn)
Salomé Granelli and Joachim Auvray
I loved how visual this scene was as it started with Salomé’s character looking worse for wear, and how much these characters were brought to life. Joachim’s character was going through Salomé’s character’s father’s notebooks after his death, which resulted in some conflict between the characters and seemingly within Salomé’s character too.
Life Support (by Laurence Phillips)
Emma Chaïbedra and Devika Hemant
The thing I enjoyed most about this scene was how engaging Devika was as her character fought with Emma’s character about whether or not to turn off the life-support machine. Both actors brought a lot of energy to the argument.
Boy’s Life (by Howard Korder)
Romé Tillier and Silène Gerschel
Cheating was the subject of this scene with Romé Tillier and Silène Gerschel too. I liked the pace of the argument, and the way the actors left each other just enough space in a pretty spirited exchange.
Cafe Society (by Woody Allen)
Anouk Krief and Alessandro Biacca
I think this was the funniest scene of the night. There were a lot of laughs when Alessandro’s character couldn’t decide whether or not he wanted to have sex with Anouk’s character and the clothes were on, then off, then back on again. I enjoyed the actors’ timing and the comedy of their physical actions.
Annie Hall (by Woody Allen)
Silène Gerschel and Joachim Auvray
The final scene of the night was relatable to any arachnophobes in the audience — Silène’s character called Joachim’s character at 3am because there was a spider in the bathroom. I had my doubts that Joachim’s character was the best person to call to deal with a spider, but he definitely had my favourite line of the evening: ‘I’ve been killing spiders since I was thirty’.
All too soon, the show was over and the whole ensemble appeared on stage together for a final bow and lots of applause, first for the cast and then for Tracy. It was lovely to see the appreciation the students have for Tracy!
Well done Tracy, Mark and the whole cast — what a fantastic first Scene Night for Playhouse Paris!
My friend Katrin also travelled to Paris to see the show:
“I didn’t know what to expect from the scene night and was really surprised by all those different scenes and how well they were played by the students. One could see that they love what they’re doing and I’m pretty sure having such good teachers as Tracy and Mark helped them to give their best.
I barely can imagine how much work was put into all that from each and everyone of them including Mark and Tracy. They all created a great atmosphere which made this evening an unforgettable event for me and I will happily get tickets for it again when they will do the next one.”Katrin Kohler
I agree with Katrin — I look forward to the next Scene Night!
Check out Playhouse Paris!