Hôtel des deux mondes

“Un lieu entre la Terre et le ciel, où nous attendrions que notre sort se décide ?
Vivre ou mourir? Par l’ascenseur ? Un hôtel entre deux mondes !?! “
(A place between heaven and Earth, where we wait for our fate to be decided?
Living or dying? By the elevator? A hotel between two worlds!?!)
Last night, we had the pleasure of attending HOTEL DES DEUX MONDES, a play written by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt.

The play takes place in a “hotel”, a waiting area for people who haven’t died yet but whose physical bodies are in a coma. At the end of their stay, they get in the elevator and find out when the doors close if they are returning to their bodies (going down) or are journeying on to the unknown that is death (going up).

In the opening scenes, we meet Julien, who arrives at the hotel via the elevator. He doesn’t know how he got there or what he’s doing there. He meets the other hotel guests, who reveal to him the truth of his situation… which he has great difficulty accepting.

As the story unfolds, we learn more about the lives and mindsets of those who spend time at the hotel between worlds: a simple-minded cleaning lady, a judgmental business president, an enthusiastic and sarcastic fortune teller, a happy-go-lucky blond, and, of course, Julien. Personality conflicts, true love, heroism, and sacrifice all find their place amidst the relationships that form in this waiting area.

Doctor S also plays a big role, accompanied by two assistants who choose to communicate without words for the duration of the play. Dr. S’s job is to keep everyone informed on the status of their physical bodies and to serve as a kind of guide to them. Encounters with those at the hotel end up transforming her.

This play really makes you think about the purpose and meaning of life, what comes after death, the role of God or destiny, equality and justice, the power of love, and the suffering of the world.

Not only were the messages of this play deep, complex, and wonderfully integrated, but the acting was superb! The fact that I personally knew the actors didn’t deter from the story in the slightest. In fact, when I looked on stage, I didn’t see my friends at all.

Hands down the most moving performance I’ve seen in years.

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