une maison hantée

Just in time for Halloween, Paris is suffering a brand new scare: the haunted house. Part living museum and amusement park attraction, Le Manoir de Paris is luring lurid visitors to witness 13 reenactments of haunting Parisian legends. Housed on the rue de Paradis in the 10th arrondissement, two floors of a historic monument have been transformed into a showcase for some of France’s most notorious tales of terror – that’s terror, not terroir – including Quasimodo and Notre-Dame, the Phantom of the Opera, as well as mysteries surrounding Père Lachaise, the Catacombs, and a host of gruesome murders and puzzling deaths that still remain unsolved. Inspired by the classic American haunted house, creator Adil Houti, a Belgian-native, is mindful of the once-ubiquitous Halloween tradition – going so far as to source his menacing robotic figures stateside. Even more faithful, all 20 actors speak English – so you can enjoy the fright fest without having to suffer the scariest phrase of all:  comprenez-vous?

 

 

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at the theatre: king lear

While I might have initially scoffed at the obscene ticket prices for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s recent six-week residency at the Park Avenue Armory, I nevertheless gave in and did the unthinkable: I paid. Full price, no less. With a mandatory 20% donation to the RSC on top of the advertised ticket price, the total came to a quasi-operatic $300 – plus service charges, natch – for a pair of second-best seats in the house. (Prime seating could be had for the offensive price of $250 a seat.) And yet, perhaps the blogger doth protest too much. This is, after all, an historic event: the opportunity to witness the most famous Shakespearean company on the planet perform a half-dozen of the master’s plays in repertory inside a full-scale replica of its Stratford-upon-Avon home. And despite not caring for Greg Hicks’ interpretation of the title role there is no denying that in the three-plus hours of King Lear I got my money’s worth of family betrayal, infidelity, fratricide, banishment, madness, murder, and a particularly visceral removal of one character’s set of eyes. (Plus, no matter how well I think I know the play, the image of Lear carrying the corpse of his innocent daughter, Cordelia, is as emotionally shocking as it is cruel.) It’s enough to make me wish I had purchased my tickets earlier in the run, so I could see these actors in The Winter’s Tale, too, or Julius Caesar – not that I could afford it, mind you. All of which makes me wonder: at these prices, who’s filling the stalls at the Armory? Or perhaps the more significant question is, who isn’t?

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