Tessa, At The Comedie Français

in the loge

Mary Cassatt, In The Loge (1878)

Oh what a soap opera. That woman’s
bipolar, probably a charlatan.
She’s pretending to be a psychic
telling lies at a seance.
Iris looked so shell-shocked,
paralyzed even. You’re making
a blunder, can’t you see?
Look into the future indeed!

There’s Charmaine looking
through the opera glasses.
What a strong presence she has,
berating with pleasure–
Don’t think she’s gullible nor
docile. Eleanor, don’t look
but she’s leaning forward
pooh poohing and all.

Oh Greg, here we are in the flesh.
The play’s an albatross. Really
all sound and fury signifying
nothing. Everything will go to
pot before the sweet ending.
But to grace our presence amongst
the gold and mosaics and grand
sweeping staircase–good God!


Prompt: The play’s the spectacle, but so are the spectators in the Comedie Français, a theater in Paris. In the painting, art critics have noted on the female spectator who is herself the object of the gaze by a male spectator in another theater box. It’s all a culture of looking, y’all. A chance to see and be seen. So Mary Cassatt’s painting on people in theater boxes– and many artists have dealt with this subject–is thus interesting. Weirdly I’m thinking about Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Windows, in which much looking and spying take place. A story  “about” spectacle exploring “the fascination with looking and the attraction of that which is being looked at.”


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