Madame Melville

Madame Melville $12.99

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Richard Nelson

Published by Faber & Faber

"Nelson, in his 100-minute play, intertwines two familiar themes: the sexual initiation of the young and the confrontation of American innocence by European experience

His hero, Carl, now married with children, reminisces about Paris is 1966. We see how, as 15-year-old student at the American school, he falls under the spell of a beguiling literature teacher

One night, after an extramural film excursion, Carl stays behind in her flat. For him, this offers a magical introduction to the world of art, music, adult emotion and Kama Sutra sex. For Claudie, the literature teacher, this brief encounter is largely a way of overcoming her devastation at the breakup of an affair

But what gives the play its peculiar charm is the tender collision between two people at different stages of their emotional cycle - Carl has what Henry James called "the hungry futurity of youth" while the messed-up Claudie has the restless solitude of the permanent other woman

...Nelson has pinned down with exact compassion what happens when two worlds collide" - Michael Billington, The Guardian

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