WIN 1 of 3 passes to Melbourne French Theatre: French playwright Marivaux under the spotlight

Double the Risk in Love 2

This article is in English. Click here to read it in French.

The Melbourne French Theatre will present the romantic comedy ‘Double The Risk in Love’ in just a few days’ time. Written by French dramatist Marivaux at the beginning of the 18th century, the production was perceived as a revolution of the genre – as was his previous play, ‘Les Surprises de l’Amour‘.

The adaptation of La Double Inconstance by the American director Paul Terrell will be performed in Melbourne from May 7 to 11, 2013, in French with English subtitles.

Marivaux, a great French playwright

Marivaux – whose real name is actually Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux – is a famous French character from the 18th century. A journalist, novelist, philosopher and above all, dramatist, he created around 40 theatre plays in his life. He tried several genres but is well known for light stories about happiness and misfortune in love. In French, the common word marivaudage (light-hearted banter) is attributed to him.


He wrote La Double Inconstance in the early 1720s. A comedy in three acts, written in prose, it was performed for the first time on 6 April 1723 at the Hôtel de Bourgogne in Paris, by the Comédiens Italiens. Marivaux enjoyed the Italians’ acting, and became the company’s assigned author from 1722 to 1740.

It was only after a few setbacks in the French theatre realm that Marivaux turned to Italian theatre. He first decided to take his fantasy Arlequin poli par l’amour to Italian theatre. It was the beginning of success for Marivaux. La surprise de l’amour, Le jeu de l’amour et du hasard, Les fausses confidences and of course La double inconstance are considered standouts amongst Marivaux’s 40 plays.

Today, Marivaux remains among the five most played authors at the Comédie Française after Molière, Racine, Corneille and Musset.

Double the risk in love – Paul Terrell’s adaptation

Double the Risk in Love 3

The story of La double inconstance, either translated as ‘Double the risk in love’ or ‘Double infidelity’, can be summarised by the words ‘love’ and ‘manipulation’.

A country girl named Silvia has been captured by a prince, who loves her. But she’s besotted with Arlequin, a charming man from her town. Flaminia, one of the Prince’s advisors, and other servants try to break the bond between Silvia and Arlequin. Despite their hesitation in
being unfaithful to each other, the two lovers slowly drift apart, manipulated by others. Indeed, Silvia falls in love with her ‘court officer’, who appears to be the Prince, while Arlequin gets closer to Flaminia…Does the story end with two harmonious weddings?

This new adaptation of La Double Inconstance mixes commedia dell’arte with fresh modern theatre. This is Paul Terrell’s first time directing in another language. The American stage director, who graduated from Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts Theatre in 2008, is mainly interested in absurdist theatre and adapting non-fiction to the stage. Amongst other work, he has already brought two French writers, Eugène Ionesco and Alfred Jarry, to the stage.

Melbourne French Theatre: 36 years of passion for French plays

Adèle Bouet - Melbourne French Theatre Marivaux - My French Life - Ma Vie Francaise -

La Double Inconstance is the 83rd production by the Melbourne French Theatre since its foundation in 1977. It’s also the eighth Marivaux play produced by the theatre, which already presented Le Jeu de l’Amour et du Hasard in 1986, 1988 and 2005, Les Fausses Confidences in 1992 and 1993, Le Petit Maître Corrigé in 1997 and Le Triomphe de l’Amour in 2002.

The French Melbourne Theatre has also produced numerous plays written by George Feydeaux, and adaptations of movies by Francis Veber as well as films by Agnès Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri. The next performance at the Melbourne French Theatre is slated for September 2013 and will be, in fact, an adaptation of ‘Dear Tax Office’ by Francis Veber.

WIN 1 of 3 double passes to the Melbourne French Theatre

MaVieFrançaise® magazine and the Melbourne French Theatre would like to give three lucky members the chance to WIN a double pass to the play ‘Double the risk in love’ in Melbourne.

To win, all you have to do is:

1. JOIN the Ma Vie Française® community for free and

2. In a COMMENT below this article, tell us which French author or playwright you like most, and why.

We will then select the three best answers as our winners at 4.30pm AEST, Monday, 6 May 2013.

Bonne chance !

From Tuesday 7 to Saturday 11 May 2013 at 8pm and Friday 10 and Satrday 11 May at 2.30pm at Melbourne French Theatre, 213 Canning St, Carlton. Full price $32, students $12. Bookings/details on the website, by email or by phone 03 9349 2250
1. Marivaux, on Wikipedia
Image Credit :
Courtesy of Melbourne French Theatre.

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Adèle Bouet

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  1. maree shefford May 2, 2013 at 7:37 AM - Reply

    My favourite French author in history is Marquis De Sade! Why – because he repelled and fascinated me at the same time! His use of pornographic subject matter, to provocate the masses interests me greatly, as very few people in history have been as graphic in the subject of sex! His incarceration and subsequent death has ensured his notoriety will live on and the issues of censorship in the arts and in life will continue on and on also!

  2. H. May 3, 2013 at 4:14 AM - Reply

    Mon auteur préféré? Georges Feydeau bien sûr! De l’humour, que de l’humour, toujours de l’humour pour injecter de la joie de vivre dans notre quotidien. Une pièce que j’aimerai voir jouer? “Un Fil à la Patte”. Aussi, quelque chose que je crois qui ne se fait jamais: une reprise des spectacles de Guy Bedos, Thierry Le Luron, Muriel Robin, Michel Leeb ou Coluche pour ne citer qu’eux. Oiseaux rares à trouver peut être?

  3. Sarah Taylor May 3, 2013 at 6:58 AM - Reply

    Mine has to be Voltaire – a polemical author, playwright, poet, letter writer and philosopher who played a fundamental part in the Enlightenment and expressed his (often controversial) views through his work. I particularly like ‘Le Caffé [sic] ou L’Ecossaise’.

  4. Carolyne Lee May 4, 2013 at 12:54 PM - Reply

    It’s really too hard to nominate my favourite French author, but I’ll try. I read mainly contemporary French authors at the moment (although am currently working through Marivaux’s play so I won’t need to read too many of the surtitles), and one day late in 2011 in a bookshop in Toulouse I came across a paperback collection of short stories titled “Tout Passe” by Swiss-French writer Bernard Comment; this book bore the unmistakeable red band, proclaiming it as winner of the Goncourt for the Nouvelle (short story) of that year. I began reading the first story, and I was transfixed by the sheer technical brilliance, and by the consummate way the writer draws us into his eerily-hermetic imagined worlds. As I read the first story, I knew I had to translate it, even though I’d never done any translation before… This took my life in a new direction, and now one of those stories has been accepted for publication in one of Australia’s literary journals. Bernard Comment is quite prolific a writer, and recently co-wrote a book on Marilyn Monroe that reveals a very interesting aspect of the actress about which most people were ignorant.

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