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Tuesday, August 06, 2013

France 2012 - Day 10 - Orange - Theatre (Part 1)

France 2012
Day 10 - 22nd October - Orange - Theatre
(Part 1)

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Ruined fort on Croix Rousse

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Lyon bridge

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"La Playa Dancing Restaurant"

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"Les Dessous Chics"
This translates as "Chic Below". It's a lingerie store.

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WWE Smackdown Tour

I saw a La Poste lady (postwoman) in the metro, with a mail trolley. Ahh, budget cuts!

There was one lady with a kickscooter in the metro. Since we were waiting for the train, I asked her why so many French liked them, and she said it was "pratique" (practical) - you could go into the metro with one. I commented that I didn't see people using them in other countries and she agreed.

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"Power: does it have a sex?"
A gender-equality conference

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"If power changes its sex, so much the better"
Presumably he would welcome a matriarchy

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"Power? It has neither a sex nor a head"

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Grande Ecole Cram School
Tsk. It's supported by the Ministry of Education too.

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Breakfast for my ride to Orange: pain aux raisins, croissant
The hostel had breakfast from 7am but it didn't have bread when I ate, only near my departure time. Anyway this was better

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Nuclear plants: "Not in my countryside"
On the rightmost cooling tower there is a representation of a child playing with water

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Very low clouds

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"Kill me" sign at a railway station

Orange was a little town, but not without its charms.

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"Orange Chess Club"

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Frédéric Mistral bust

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Philosophy-Dance school: beside ads for dancing there's a performance by the Compagnie du Groupetto. Apparently it's "Théâtre-Philosophique"

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Vintage gassy drinks ad on house side

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Windows on house by stream

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Alley

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Flowers by stream

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Scruffy building

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Place Clemenceau

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"Pétanque: Grand Prize of the Wild Boar"

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Protestant Church. Or as they call it, Protestant Temple
This is probably linked to how Orange used to belong to the Princes of Orange (aka the Stadtholder of the Netherlands)

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Old doorway in renovated building, Hotel Louis de Silhol

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Intriguing parking: some lots are free and some are payable

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Gas is apparently pumped into the wall here

And then was the sight I had come to see, the Roman Theatre of Orange.

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Side of theatre

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Temple and Hemicycle at side of Theatre

Various operas had been staged here:

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2010 - Mireille (Gounod)
2003 - La Traviata
2002 - The Magic Flute
2000 - The Tales of Hoffman (yes, the one with the huge dolls)
1997 - Turandot
2010 - Tosca

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Entrance sign

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Phantom of the Opera ripoff for their multimedia show

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Hemicycle

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Stuff to see in "The largest Roman Theatre in Europe"

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This is interesting - Japanese is for people from Japan and Chinese is for Chinese people

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On the Temple

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Free-standing pillar

The audioguide was very good. After the Third World (with guides with questionable English) I'd almost forgotten the joys of an audioguide.


Notice the huge swinging member (1 min in)

The video was quite interesting. After Roman tragedies they put on comedic improvisations to help the audience recover from the tragedy and distance themselves from it (this doesn't seem to be a translation - I love how amusing French writing is).

At Orange the most vulgar and obscene plays were popular.

The theatre survived because it was used as dwellings.

The theatre was the centre of the Cult of the Emperor.

In 55 BC they had the first permanent stone theatre in Rome. Before the Senate had banned them because they distracted people from their civic and religious duty, and they thought they led to Greece's decline. So they made them of wood.

They used to have open bronze jars facing the audience to improve acoustics.

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More on the Theatre, which Louis XIV called the most splendid wall in his Kingdom (this is why he spared it, or he'd have destroyed it for military reasons)
It is one of the few Roman theatres left which has a stage wall. The others are in the former Eastern Roman Empire (Turkey and Syria - they claimed Orange was the best preserved)
They built a new stage roof (2006), partly to protect the wall

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On the cavea, the seating area (rows)

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Theatre Wall

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3.55m statue of an Emperor put there in 1951. The bird likes his hand
In front of the statue was a kneeling Gaul, so this embodied intimidation. These statues were produced by the hundreds in Rome for the colonies. The heads were exchangeable for when a new emperor came along.

The red stones in the wall are due to fire when the roof burned down. The holes in the wall were for carry beams of the roof.

In Rome there were 65 days of entertainment, 45 of which were for the theatre. By the Late Empire (end 2nd/early 3rd c) there were 180 days of games, 100 of which were for the theatre. Though admission was free the social classes were separate (you were physically unable to cross into another section) - foreigners, prostitutes and beggars got the worst seats.

Greek and Roman plays were in different categories.

Actors were usually foreigners, slaves or freedmen. Except for mimes, the female roles were played by men. For mimes the audience was lewd and asked the actress to disrobe, so it became porn.

A blonde wig denoted a simpleton (hurr hurr). Hand gestures had defined meanings.

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Birds

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Theatre

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Panorama of Theatre

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Below looking up

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Geena

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Pillars

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There was no privacy for the toilet - to walk to the female toilet you went past the urinal. Very good.

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Side. Only the first 3 tiers of steps are from the Roman era.

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Next was the "The Phantoms of the Theatre" audiovisual show.

The French Woodstock was held here. There was one sign: "Jesus sauve de l'enfer" ("Jesus saves [one] from Hell") which was amusing.

Pop and Rock were staged from 1975-1980 but apparently that era was over and the documentary didn't say why.

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Town from Window


I particularly liked this clip from the "The Phantoms of the Theatre" presentation.
Carmen sexily self-upskirts while seducing Don José ("Près des remparts de Séville"). Her hands are tied, you understand, so she's limited in what she can do. At the end of the clip she mounts him. This was Beatrice Uria-Monzon in 2005 or 2006.

They also showcased the famous Giant Dolls scene from Tales of Hoffman with Natalie Dessay.

The 2001 Aida here had Golden Statues for soldiers. Certainly that would've been cheaper.

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Looking down

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Cheap menu (but it was closed)
16€ 3 course menu in a tourist place!
Cunningly the exit route brought one inexorably by the restaurant

Most people didn't think the Emperor was a god and just paid his cult lip service. The audioguide commented that Christians declined to respect the Emperor this way "before triumphing over all other cults and eliminating them". Great phrasing.

The audioguide is so good, they put it on their website. Wah.

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Roman Gaul

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In Dutch it's not "Oranje"

Ironically the opera CDs on sale at the shop were all not recorded at the Orange theatre

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They put both the UK and US flags here.

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UNESCO World Heritage Sites in France

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"Vegetable recipes"
"When our grandmothers cooked in Provence"

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Swords and other thingamabobs

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Mediterranean alphabets

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Heritage empire - places managed by this company

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Black cat

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On the theatre

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Theatre wall from road


Women have really huge ass toiletry bags
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