A breath-taking display of passion and heartache, Camille Claudel is a one-woman show based on the real-life love affair between Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel.
As the audience enters the theatre, Claudel is seated in a chair staring at each person individually, manically smiling and laughing. The play is set in two different eras: the first is during the passionate love affair between the two sculptors, while the second is during Claudel’s incarceration in a psychiatric hospital. Through the use of lighting, the drama switches back and forth between the two eras, juxtaposing her love and happiness with her paranoia and hysteria. She enlists help from the front row of the audience, selecting one person to give a voice to Rodin and one Englishman to share a glass of ‘absinthe’ with her, in an attempt to settle the dispute between the English and the French.
The play captures the relationship between love and art, showing how something as beautiful as a Rodin sculpture can be the product of pain and heartbreak. We see a different side to the great artist, focusing not just the beauty he created, but also the life he tore apart. Claudel was a sculptor in her own right, but she destroyed much of her work in a manic rage. The show is presented in a small venue; in combination with the single performer, this created a very intimate performance. The acting is terrific, expertly capturing Claudel’s passion, allowing the audience to experience her turbulent emotions with her in what is a passionate display of the darker side of art.