TEEN AMBASSADOR: ABBEY BRANCO | OCTOBER 25, 2015
After one hundred years, the life of French singer, Edith Piaf, lives on in an electric performance held by the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center. As legends unfold as time goes on, Piaf’s rise to fame is encapsulated in the two hour production, Piaf! Le Spectacle. In the Zeiterion’s bustling house, lies the ability to connect and rejoice in the story of Piaf and the stories she gave in the base of her songs. A soul that lives on posthumously through each song, Edith will never be forgotten.
On stage, the audience is brought through the most intimate moments of Piaf’s life. There is the ability to see the “rags to riches” endeavors of waitressing helping bring her to the limelight of French and American life. We see the love interests and conflicts that arise as time progresses, each one aiding to the depth of each song. A tribute devoid of prose, this production takes you into the overall complexity of what it meant for Piaf to be a performer.
As the curtains part, the audience is immediately sucked into the ideals of French living. There are glasses of gleaming red wine on bare tables, the characters wear black and white striped shirts with berets, and an accordion solo that lasts four minutes long. The instrumentals help unfold the scenes, they are essentially, the core of Piaf’s inner emotions. Depth carries in each tune, the overture floating in and out of the events in her life. Anne Carrere, the woman portraying Edith, proves to hold up to the icon’s solid and harrowing singing voice. In her talent is the tether from audience to Piaf, the lifeline connection that is seemingly impenetrable. A spinning top on stage, Carrere takes the audience with her through the riches of Piaf’s life, with sing-along moments to slow dancing with the crowd, there is a beating heart in her performance keeping Edith alive.
In 120 minutes, the overwhelming amount of French could easily make some audience members lose focus from the story being brought before them. However, the projected images of Edith’s life above center stage help each viewer along with the story, the crutch through any heavy-handed confusion. As the English version of Autumn Leaves (Les Feuilles Mortes) begins to play, there is the moment of serenity that brings the lights to shine, not just on Carrere, but on the audience as well. There is the ability to share in the magic that Edith originally created.
Overall, the style and character of Edith Piaf has transcended through Piaf! Le Spectacle and into the hearts of those who arrive at the production. In the midst of rising stars in our own society, it’s interesting to see the rise of one woman in the throes of each tribulation life presents. This is a story solely on one woman’s otherworldliness in the land of entertainment, and in Carrere’s rendition of Piaf, there is a sense of humanity as well. There is peace even after one hundred years