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A Modern Bohemian

Theatre. Once you've caught the bug, it's hard to give it up. At least that was the case for me. At school, I did a lot of acting and also tried my hand as a director. After leaving school, I did my best to abandon acting, planning to study something "serious" and "safe" as a profession in the theatre unfortunately has a bad reputation for being very, very badly paid. Despite my efforts, I obviously failed. Samuel Beckett - by the way one of my favourite playwrights - would try to comfort me now by saying: Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

And indeed, I did.

Photo: STYLE--> Marie-Irène Igelmann
A dense community...

Naturally, I dreamt of a life as a real bohemian - what else? Living in a little garret above the rooftops, strolling along the banks of the Seine while singing Charles Aznavour's famous song: "La Bohème"...

Anyway, I obtained the little attic I dreamt of with an excellent view to start my bohemian life. My shelves are overflowing with books and plays so that little mountains of all kinds of books have begun to grow up on the floor over time - a very inspiring atmosphere and a perfect place to study. There are so many plays to read, so many texts to analyse and productions to see. The main difference between theatre studies and literary studies is the fact that you can't get your knowledge from books only. We take courses like acting, stage directing or scenery design, but my university is more renowned for its teaching in theoretical subjects like theatre history, literary history, dramaturgy, theatre production analysis and theatre aesthetics.

Indeed, you have to read a lot but you also have to see as many plays as possible and get involved in drama yourself, within an extremely vibrant community for the performing arts with tiny galleries, museums and all kinds of theatres.

It is here that I saw Polish, Spanish, Romanian, American or Russian theatre productions for the first time in my life. It is multicultural not only in terms of the people who live here, but also in the theatre scene, which is - without any exaggeration - really amazing!

My friends here come from all four corners of the world, which allows me to gain an insight into different cultures and mentalities and which naturally contributes to an incredible life experience in every aspect.

Photo: Katharina Wendland , www.youthphotos.eu

Practice, practice, practice...

Student protests and assemblies, university blockades and striking professors have actually been the very last thing I had expected; to be honest, I hadn't expected this at all when I took the decision to study drama. I can quite well remember the cold morning when I stood in front of my university and couldn't get in. Students had barricaded the doors with chairs and tables. It was my first real "physical contact" (in the most literal sense!) with the students' strike mentality in France. An experience I will never forget. From one day to the next, I spent more time in students' assemblies to vote on political questions than in theatres, analysing plays. Of course, I knew Shakespeare's line "All the world's a stage."

Since February 2009, we are once more in the strike situation: it is the second university strike in less than two years. (Only this time, the strike has been launched by the professors and not by the students as in 2007). It isn't quite the bohemian life I imagined I would live here ... However, if I can trust the dictionary definition of the word "bohemian", I shouldn't be completely discouraged because the bohemian life I imagined and the life I really live to have one thing in common: A person, often somebody who is involved with the arts, who lives in a very informal way without following accepted rules of behaviour. This definition fits both kinds of bohemian, doesn't it? At least I might not have failed this time.

Cover photo: Moira Marcinkiewicz / www.youthphotos.eu

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