Friday, June 28, 2013

A New Play on Adam Smith at the Edinburgh Festival, 2-26 August!

In The Edinburgh Reporter (“a capital  read”) HERE we have:
“Adam Smith, le Grand Tour, Institut français d’Ecosse,” 2 to 26 August 3pm during the world famous annual International Edinburgh Festival.
One of this year’s Festival’s many attractions is:
Compagnie Les Labyrinthes presents Adam Smith, Le Grand Tour, an original creation for the Fringe mixing theatre and video for a journey back in time to the origins of the thought of the key figure of Scottish Enlightenment.
In Adam Smith, Le Grand Tour, Compagnie Les Labyrinthes takes us on a journey through Adam Smith’s thought and work. Incorporating economics, philosophy and theatre, this original creation is an invitation to go back to the founding principles of liberalism, the context of the Scottish Enlightenment and the influence of Adam Smith’s thought on our modern society.
Through the eyes of the two protagonists Marie (Vanessa Oltra) and Fred (Fréderic Kneip) who have embarked on a journey through Scotland to complete their own ‘Grand Tour’, “Adam Smith, Le Grand Tour” is a sharply written, humorous and caustic homage to the legacy of the philosopher.  Neither an economic nor a philosophical treaty, it makes us wonder: what remains of Adam Smith today? And what have we done with his thought?
Coming to Scotland in summer 2012, Compagnie Les Labyrinthes followed in the footsteps of Adam Smith and visited the places in Edinburgh and around related to his life and work. They brought back from this trip the videos that would become fully part of their multimedia production. World premiering at this year’s Fringe in its English version, Adam Smith, Le Grand Tour will then be touring in France in a French version.
Based in Aquitaine, in south-western France, Compagnie Les Labyrinthes was founded in 1995 by Gérard David, teacher at the Merignac Conservatory. Compagnie Les Labyrinthes has so far produced about thirty classic and contemporary theatre projects. In addition to the creation of theatre shows, the company is actively working on programmes of artistic education intended to schools.
Author of the show and performer Vanessa Oltra holds a PhD in Economics and is a senior lecturer at the University of Bordeaux IV. Former student at the Merignac Conservatory, she has been working with Gérard David for several years. Adam Smith, Le Grand Tour is her first theatre project involving both her researcher’s and author’s skills.
Frédéric Kneip is a performer and director. Former student at the Rennes Conservatory for Dramatic Arts and and the Merignac Conservatory, he regularly plays with different companies, including Compagnie Les Labyrinthes. In parallel, he is working on artistic education in prison.
Interesting that an Adam Smith artistic theme participates in the Edinburgh Festival once again. Regular readers will recall I covered another play about Adam Smith that I enjoyed, presented some years ago by a well-informed and enthusiastic amateur group.  I looked for a repeat in subsequent years from the same group (most of them from a much younger generation that myself! - but a couple of people of my age). 
Last year, I reported on a play about Adam Smith dying and going to a sort of heaven, where he met and discoursed with David Hume, which was presented by a known Scottish professional author and played by some professional actors.  Artistically it was somewhat imaginative (poetic license I suppose!), but also very entertaining.  Hume was, well David as we know him, a serious moral philosopher, and Adam was played as an allegedly formerly repressed gay, exercising in the after life his new freedoms without the watchful and censorious eyes of his mother, Margaret Douglas Smith, who, I am sure, would have been relaxed by anything her son did as long as he remained a Calvinist in good standing.
Unfortunately, I am unable to attend this year’s Adam Smith play from my absence in France (in Aquitaine, near Bordeaux, as it happens, from where the joint authors come from, and where Adam Smith visited in 1764 on his visit to France, 1764-65, though if perchance I could squeeze it in next week before I go I may very well might.
Visitors to Scotland who attend this year’s Edinburgh Festival, a cultural festival to suit all tastes, in the beautiful capital of Scotland, have a wide variety of events both in the official festival and in the lively Fringe Festival with its scores of shows and events to choose from.  The Fringe is now bigger than the official Festival.  It is deeply international in scope.

[NB: Should I return from France earlier at the end of July, my “Adam Smith Tour of Edinburgh” will also re-commence.  Should any reader be interested in a personal guided 2-hour tour from his statue, opposite where he worked at the Customs House, to where he lived and discoursed with other luminaries of the Scottish Enlightenment from 1778-90, including a visit to his grave at the Canongate Parish Church and where he lived almost next door at Panmure House.   Ending at a well known coffee house diagonally opposite Canongate Church.  (There is no charge for this tour).
Readers who are interested in the "Adam Smith Tour" can drop me a line at the address at the head of Lost Legacy.]


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