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Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “The Great Nadar”

THE GREAT NADAR – The Man Behind the Camera

by Adam Begley

“The most astonishing expression of vitality.”  Baudelaire

Exuberant, agitated, impetuous, horrified by tedium and relentlessly and infectiously gregarious. – The Great Nadar by Adam Begley

A recent French biography begins, Who doesn’t know Nadar? In France, that’s a rhetorical question. Of all of the legendary figures who thrived in mid-19th-century Paris—a cohort that includes Victor Hugo, Baudelaire, Gustave Courbet, and Alexandre DumasNadar was perhaps the most innovative, the most restless, the most modern.

The first great portrait photographer, a pioneering balloonist, the first person to take an aerial photograph, and the prime mover behind the first airmail service, Nadar was one of the original celebrity artist-entrepreneurs. A kind of 19th-century Andy Warhol, he knew everyone worth knowing and photographed them all, conferring on posterity psychologically compelling portraits of Manet, Sarah Bernhardt, Delacroix, Daumier and countless others—a priceless panorama of Parisian celebrity.

Born Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, he adopted the pseudonym Nadar as a young bohemian, when he was a budding writer and cartoonist. Later he affixed the name Nadar to the façade of his opulent photographic studio in giant script, the illuminated letters ten feet tall, the whole sign fifty feet long, a garish red beacon on the boulevard. Nadar became known to all of Europe and even across the Atlantic when he launched “The Giant,” a gas balloon the size of a twelve-story building, the largest of its time. With his daring exploits aboard his humongous balloon (including a catastrophic crash that made headlines around the world), he gave his friend Jules Verne the model for one of his most dynamic heroes.

The Great Nadar is a brilliant, lavishly illustrated biography of a larger-than-life figure, a visionary whose outsized talent and canny self-promotion put him way ahead of his time.

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Vaudevisuals Interview with Director Jon Stancato and Actor Dave Droxler

The current production of The Stolen Chair Theatre Company is an adaptation of Victor Hugo's THE MAN WHO LAUGHS. The production is running from Jan 31st to Feb 24th at the Urban Stages. I interviewed the director Jon Stancato and the lead actor Dave Droxler after the show. Jon talks about the inspiration for and process of directing this play and Dave discusses some of his training for the show and a few of the people that were instrumental in inspiring him to delve into silent films and silent acting.
The play is staged as a 'silent film' with live piano and title projections. No words are spoken during the performance but it is a delightful experience due to the talent of the actors, director and the ensemble that made it all happen. The adaptation is by Kiran Rikhye. The original score was by Eugene Ma.
Interview originally appeared @ https://vaudevisuals.com
For information about this show/company go to: http://stolenchair.org