“Louise and Renée”
Yesterday I went to Piccolo Teatro Grassi in Milan to see the play “Louise e Renée”.
It is a free adaptation from “Memoirs of two young brides” , the only epistolary novel by the French writer Honoré de Balzac, author of “The Human Comedy”
The story is about two young women, Louise and Renée, linked by a deep friendship that has its roots in childhood, spent together in the Carmelite convent of Blois
When they leave the convent, their lives follow two very different paths, and the passing of time marks the distance between their antithetical personalities. However, their friendship continues through a long epistolary dialogue.
Louise, who was expected to sacrifice herself for her two brothers and take the veil, refuses and settles in Paris living a life of romance, which in reality is just loneliness disguised as transgression
Renée, who moved to Provence, marries an older man of little wealth, without loving him. has two children, and devotes herself to the happiness of her family. Gradually she also starts to love her husband and get surer and surer that true happiness for a woman lies in motherhood and devotion to her family.
She seems to disapprove of the behaviour of Louise, considered selfish and self-indulgent.
Meanwhile, Louise falls in love with a younger man who, after some time, starts to betray her, and once again, confides her feelings of despair to Renée and announces her determination to commit suicide
The play is a lucid analysis on feminine condition, The two protagonists have to face the multifaceted aspects of love: family, children, and projects, for Renée; passion isolation and fall, for Louise. What is tested is love as a utopia, affection, dedication, cancellation or deep passion.
In the beginning Louise said they were the same person under different names. “You will be the wife, I will be the spinster”
In the end, their dialogue and their duality has slowly made up the image of one woman in which reason and feeling finally coexist.