Saturday, December 01, 2012

Sold-Out Play Takes On DSK's Sofitel Run-In; Lead Player Compares "Shock" of Seeing DSK in Handcuffs to 911 Attacks

… “any resemblance to reality is nothing but coincidence,” professes the playbill a new production in Paris that reimagines the fateful encounter that wrecked the presidential ambitions of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund head.
Thus writes Doreen Carvajal from the French capital in the International Herald Tribune of a play on DSK whose Sofitel run-in with the maid is elsewhere in the news.
Called “Suite 2806,” the play is a sly wink at reality with occasional facts changed. Its title comes from the number of the room where Mr. Strauss-Kahn was accused of sexually assaulting a West African immigrant maid named Nafissatou Diallo, whose credibility was later discounted by legal authorities.

No doubt many French, Mr. Strauss-Kahn not least of them, wish that the D.S.K. affair, as it is known here, would simply go away. But the play’s sold-out premiere this month was a measure of France’s lingering fascination with a case that has caused a societal reflection on money, privilege and power — particularly as it relates to the sexes. 

…  A majority of newspaper readers responded “oui” to various online surveys that asked if they were shocked by the D.S.K. affair’s becoming the subject of a play. 

… For the stage drama, the names of the two key characters are changed to Daniel Weissberg and Evangeline. And the actual nine-minute encounter in New York has been stretched to more than an hour in a duel of words and psychological torment. 

Guillaume Landrot, 42, the author of the play, said he wrote the script in a burst of inspiration in one month after Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s arrest in New York in May 2011 on charges that were later dropped. 
That would be enough to merit a No Pasarán post, and this post might stop at this point — except that we again get the usual French comparison of a comparatively banal event to the mass murder of 3,000 Americans on 911.
… But there is no doubt about who the characters represent, especially as portrayed by Eric Debrosse, who bleached his hair white and gained more than 13 pounds  on a diet of sausage and French fries. To master Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s signature sidelong glance and papal wave, he studied videos and speaks in slow, professorial tones.

“I will always remember the surreal moment when I read about his arrest in the newspaper,” Mr. Debrosse said in an interview. “I turned off the television and saw him in handcuffs and it was almost like watching the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. It was news you couldn’t understand. It was hard to believe because he could have been the next president of France.”