Code Noir: The Adventures of the First Comte de Monte Cristo
Théâtre du Rêve
through March 10, 2019
This production by our local French language theatre group is being staged at 7 Stages in Little Five Points. It was penned by Carolyn Cook, the producing artistic director of this group and she also takes the stage as one of the two players. Obviously a lot of research was done into the history of France in the late 1700’s, and Alexander Dumas and what was going on during the days of the French Revolution.
Carolyn Cook first appears as Sandrine Achard, a lawyer who was sent to try to help Dumas who was being held in a prison in Napoli after the French Fiasco in Egypt. Dumas had been born free in France, wound up as a slave, wound up becoming a soldier and then a general in the French army, and a member of the French nobility. He was somebody who had seen more, done more, and knew more than most of his countrymen.
For in 1799 when the saga starts, the Revolution had not come about and nobody was running to the barricades. But, there was plenty of talk about the desire of common folk for equality, legality, and friendship. Dumas had witnessed the deficiency of all these desires. Thandiwe Thomas DeShazor delves deeply into the character of Dumas as he is on stage throughout the story.
Code Noir was decreed by Louis XIV in 1685 and had harsh rules relating to slaves in the colonies. While the French had abolished slavery, Napoleon revoked that rule and it was finally abolished in 1848. Interesting in that it preceded the Emancipation Proclamation which was went into effect in 1863 in this nation where allegedly all men were created equal. And if you believe all that, then I have a toll bridge I would like to sell you.
Dumas was a black man, yet a hero and one who sought fairness in all ways. He lives on these days in this nation as well as elsewhere. This show during Black History month is spot-on for the issues it brings forth. For we may not be a total democracy, when the nation is run like an oligarchy.
A one act, very intense production with projected super-titles in whichever language is not being spoken onstage. C’est très bien. More info at TheatreDuReve.com