Théâtre de Neptune

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Théâtre de Neptune was performed at Port Royal as the first theatrical production in North America. Marc Lescarbot (c. 15701641) wrote the play and is best known for his Histoire de la Nouvelle-France (1609), based on his expedition to Acadia (1606–1607) and research into French exploration.

Marc Lescarbot French writer

Marc Lescarbot was a French author, poet and lawyer. He is best known for his Histoire de la Nouvelle-France (1609), based on his expedition to Acadia (1606–1607) and research into French exploration in North America. Considered one of the first great books in the history of Canada, it was printed in three editions, and was translated into German. Lescarbot also wrote numerous poems. His dramatic poem Théâtre de Neptune was performed at Port Royal as what the French claim was the first European theatrical production in North America outside of New Spain. Bernardino de Sahagún, and other 16th-century Spanish friars in Mexico, created several theatrical productions, such as Autos Sacramentales.

New France area colonized by France in North America

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Le Theatre de Neptune was performed in the harbor outside the French settlement of Port Royal on November 14, 1606. He published the play in 1609. The script attempts to prove the promise of New France. The play is a series of four welcoming speeches by Mi'kmaq chiefs. Each accepts the sovereignty of the French, unmistakably and unreservedly. These natives proclaim allegiance to the French monarch in their own territory, and that fact presses a question of the authenticity of the scripted representation. There are also welcoming remarks by Neptune and his court of six Tritons, followed by a banquet. [1]

Hal Theriault performed The Landing, A Pageant, a staged reading at “The Re-enactment of de Mons Landing at Port Royal,” July 16, 2005. In 2006, on the 400th anniversary of the first performance, a revival was planned by the Atlantic Fringe, but the performance was cancelled due to lack of CAC funding, as well as controversy over the perceived imperialist messages of the play. A "radical deconstruction" entitled Sinking Neptune" was performed as part of the 2006 Montreal Infringement Festival, despite cancellation of the event it protested.

The play is the namesake of Neptune Theatre (Halifax)

Neptune Theatre (Halifax) theatre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

The Neptune Theatre is the largest professional theatre company in Atlantic Canada with a capacity of 458 and is located in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. It performs a mixture of new and classical plays. It is named after the play Théâtre de Neptune, which was performed at Port Royal, Nova Scotia as the first theatrical production in North America.

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References

Endnotes

  1. Kathleen Lynch. Staging New Worlds: Place and “Le Theatre de Neptune” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 38:2, Spring 2008, p. 317

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