A local comedy and theater production company brings French language improv and performances to the Eastside with its latest production.
Les Seagulls, an Eastside French-language theater and improv company, will produce its second show, “Le Prénom,” which will open March 23 and show two more times May 4 and 11.
“Although the play, ‘Le Prénom,’ is hilariously funny and full of Gallic wit, it is nevertheless very emotionally profound with an unexpected ironic twist at the end,” director Sébastien Plisson said.
Each show begins at 7:30 p.m. and is 90-minutes long. Tickets cost $15 each or $10 each for a group of five or more. The performance is entirely in French and while there will be no subtitles, there is a brief synopsis available in English.
According to Plisson, the performance uses relatively basic French, so people who aren’t completely fluent can still enjoy the play and catch some of the meaning. Plisson added that students who are studying French would greatly benefit from the performance.
The play follows the main character Vincent, whose wife is pregnant with their first child. The couple meet with Vincent’s sister, brother-in-law and childhood friend for dinner before Vincent reveals that he’s chosen a highly controversial first name for the child.
“All hell breaks loose,” the comedy’s description reads. “The ensuing superficial bickering over the name escalates into highly charged deep emotional conflicts and a lot of dirty laundry gets aired with a lot of wit, humor and irony.”
“Le Prénom” premiered as a stage play in Paris at the Theatre Édouard VII, in 2010 before being adapted into an award-winning film by the authors in 2012. The play was nominated for several Molière awards, which are comparable to the Tony Awards in the United States.
Les Seagulls has a strong following in the French community on the Eastside, which is why they can perform their shows entirely in French. According to Plisson, limiting the audience with the language barrier doesn’t matter much for the group because their community is so tight-knit.
The production company consists of actors and comedians alike. Many of their previous shows were improvisational comedy sets or skit shows.
Plisson founded Les Seagulls two years ago after moving to Seattle from San Francisco, where he performed as a comedian at La D-Boussole. Plisson said he formed the group simply because there were no French-language theater or improv groups in the area.
The cast and production company consist of several members of the French expatriate community. The main stars of “Le Prénom” are French natives who currently reside on the Eastside, including Clarisse Podalin, Julien Bouetard, Katya Samoylenko, Jérôme Vasseur and Cédric Barnet.
The play was adapted into an English film “What’s in a Name” that is currently available on Netflix.
“The subject of naming the baby provokes a stimulating discussion, revealing a lot of deep-seated conflicts, among a close-knit group of friends and relatives,” Plisson said. “In true French style, it all takes place over a scrumptious dinner.”