Spotted at: Theatre Marigny just off the Champs Elysees, Paris
on Tuesday, 26 January 2010
For: stage debut of Face au Paradis (Facing Paradise).
Eric Cantona made his stage debut by playing a dying man half-buried in a collapsed building in Face au Paradis (Facing Paradise), a new two-hander play written by Nathalie Saugeon and directed by his wife Rachida Brakni.
A crowd of 320 was appreciative as shouts of “Bravo!” that came as the final curtain fell after 90 minutes of the French-language play that is all dialogue and no action.
Cantona was in no doubt that his theatre debut was somewhat of a gamble.
“My aim as a kid was to play my part in front of 80,000 people and I did it,” he told Le Monde newspaper.
“So a 400-seat theatre… If you don’t put yourself in danger, you don’t know yourself.”
Director Rachida Brakni chose the play especially to suit her husband.
“Eric is a worker, he’s not afraid by a challenge, by the theatre and the public. He has big qualities, he has a lot of talent,” she said.
“And it’s not the woman who loves him who said it, it’s the director.”
Fans were proud of the effort he put in, indicating that it was the same as he had brought on the football pitch.
“He’s brought to the theatre the same passion he brought to football,” said a thrilled Zihi Shokri, a 35-year-old hotel worker, who watched the show wearing a football jersey with the name “Cantona” emblazoned on the back.
Cantona hopes his debut stage role is the first step in a career in which he will one day play Shakespeare’s King Lear. ”But I’m still a little young for that.”
Face au Paradis (Facing Paradise) will run for the next three months in Paris.