March 30, 2020
Dear Friend and Audience Member,
Hershey Felder here, and I’m writing to you the morning of March 30th from Paris.
Like everyone, we too here in Paris are on lockdown. For one hour a day, we are permitted to go out for a brief walk alone, not going more than half a mile from our doorstep to collect our groceries, to take in a little fresh air, and as we go at it alone, we are grateful that our neighbors are all showing incredible responsibility and doing the same.
Our upcoming production at San Diego REP is A Paris Love Story, featuring the music of the great French composer, Claude Debussy. I was to bring you my beloved city of Paris and the story of its music this May, but in order to protect us all, we must postpone our Paris Love Story at San Diego REP to the upcoming November, when we will be able to share in the magic of this city and its music in a safe and healthy environment. If you have your seats already, those seats will be waiting for you in November; you'll be getting an email from San Diego REP with your new date and time soon. If you don’t, I hope to see you join us. In the meantime - here’s a bit from Paris today.
On my one hour permitted venture out into the world around my home, I "selfied" on the Pont Des Arts, the Bridge of Arts, which I can see from my living room window, just beyond the Louvre Museum, which is directly across from me. The spot where I "selfied" is exactly the spot where Claude Debussy got word from a friend that he had been awarded the Prix de Rome - the most prestigious award in Europe for creative arts. The play A Paris Love Story is set on this spot - on the bridge. To one side, I am able to see old Paris: Ile de La Cite, the towers of Notre Dame Cathedral, the Pont Neuf, and if I turn the other way - the "newer" Paris: The Eiffel Tower, The Orsay Museum, The Grand Palais, and so much more.
As I stood on the bridge, with just a passerby or two, it felt as if with all the busy day-to-day traffic gone, the ghosts of time past felt safe to emerge from beyond. Suddenly there is Chopin on his way to the Hotel Lambert to play for the Princess Czartoryska; Claude Debussy on his way to a cafe rendez-vous; George Sand peering out from her window on the Quai Malaquais; Picasso clutching his baguette as he makes his way into his studio where he painted Guernica, on the Rue des Grands Augustins; The Emperor Napoleon being fussed over and feared as he enters the courtyard of the Louvre, and so many more…to be in Paris without daily life as we know it, somehow, I felt plunged into the fantasy of a time passed, a time that I hope to bring back for just a moment when we see each other for A Paris Love Story as the next season begins.
In the meantime, here are a few photos taken today, some on the Pont des Arts when I was out on my walk, where the story of Debussy takes place, and a few from my own window…with only one vehicle on the Rue de Rivoli, usually one of the busiest central Paris thoroughfares. I’ve also added a shot of myself as Debussy on our theatrical bridge taken at the last production this past season.
I miss you, and I am looking forward to seeing you soon and looking forward to health, life and happiness for all!