The Heroine’s Journey of Caroline Darnay

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

I was a student in an acting workshop once and at the end, the teacher told me “Your problem (!!!) is that you can’t seem to decide whether you are a dancer or an actress.” Same thing happened in university where it was frowned upon to be a scholar AND an artist. That’s the best thing that I love about my work: I don’t have to choose, I don’t have to lie. Everything that I am, every knowledge that I gathered, every specialty that I mastered is barely enough to make me half of a decent artist and all of them are essential to what I do. The great actress Sarah Bernhardt said “Even in Art, there is everything to gain not to be an imbecile.

What is my idea of happiness?

To be able to mentally settle, and stop running as if I was standing on a carpet someone had set on fire. I’m working on it: I just adopted a dog.

What is my greatest fear?

Now that the Church doesn’t excommunicate actresses anymore you mean? Well, the usual: starving, ending under a bridge, not being able to help the people I love… everything people threaten you with when you enter show business.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

I’m so lazy I could kick myself. If I had enough moral backbone.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire?

Kenneth Branagh, Alexandre Astier, Susan Stroman, Lin Manuel Miranda, Tom Di Cillo, Daniel Day Lewis, Helen Mirren, … there are so many I admire I don’t know where to start!

What is my greatest extravagance?

Choosing this line of work.

On what occasion would I lie?

On any occasion that includes a stage, a camera or a notebook.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

Insecurity

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

Every time I am in a rehearsal studio, with people I love, working on a great show. Ok, also the time when we were at the Molières Award Ceremony and Alexis Moncorgé won the Best Theater Revelation Award, in the play Amok that I had directed. I’m usually super cool and collected but when we heard the result, my heart went literally out of my chest and circled several times the ceiling of the Folies Bergères before landing back in it’s place.

Photo credit: Colette Masazza

If I could, what would I change about myself?

If I could, I would change everything and become Tilda Swinton.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

Still working on it but it’s coming and it is going to be epic!

Where would I most like to live?

In a Swiss chalet in the mountains, in an apartment with a fireplace in the center of Paris, in Amsterdam overlooking a canal, in a New York brownstone on 55th Street… did I mention I was a Gemini?

What is my most treasured possession?

I can’t say I treasure possessions. What I treasure I don’t possess: I treasure nature, love, the lives of the humans and animals dear to me… I’m sounding so Woodstocky now…

What is my most marked characteristic?

I’m a Gemini and suffer from a mild case of personality dissociation, so there are always several of us in my head at the same time. It’s less socially frightening than it sounds: there’s always one of me that looks reasonable and can take charge while the others are bouncing off the walls, considering suicide or dancing wildly in the moonlight.

Photo Credit: Colette Masazza

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

The rivers: the bords de Seine, the bords de Marne, anywhere near a pound or a lake. And La Sainte-Chapelle, in my opinion the most stunning monument in Paris.

What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city?

The brasserie Zimmer, next to the Theatre du Châtelet. The deco is incredible.

What books influenced my life and how?

I am very obsessive, so when I discover an author I like, I read everything he did. So The Three Musketeers and everything by Dumas, The Pickwick Papers and everything by Dickens, The Moonstone and everything by Wilkie Collins, of course Tartuffe and everything by Molière, etc. Books influence my life. Period.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

Sing Sing Sing, the Benny Goodman Live at Carnegie Hall 1938 version with the incredible solos by Harry James, Gene Krupa and Jess Stacy. It makes me think of my mum. And Bob Fosse.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

Sydney Carton

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

My mentor Jean-Laurent Cochet was my hero because he literally saved my life. I signed on his acting class in my early thirties when I felt I was an old injured dancer whose better years were in the past. He showed me I could act, and direct and write. He never gave me any part in his projects but gave me the strength and confidence to try anything I wanted by myself. He gave me a future. What greatest gift can you give someone? I am very honored to be teaching acting in his class, now.

My heroine is my sister: she is the bravest, funniest, most intelligent person I know and my favorite person in the world.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime?

Les Enfants du Paradis, or when History, Poetry and Theater meet. But you can also see it several times.

What role play stories in my life and work?

Stories ARE my life and work. I’m nothing but a storyteller, wether in writing, directing or acting. As a playwright, I tell the stories that find me; as an actress or a director I tell other people’s stories that become more familiar to me than my own. Telling stories unites mankind since the invention of language, from the prehistorical bonfires to the Shakespearian Globe to Netflix.

What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me?

It makes me think that now would be a good time to produce a great first draft.

Photo credit: Colette Masazza

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

My best friend Stephanie who is a great actress turned producer. She sees everything I do, reads everything I write. She is benevolently pitiless and will always tell me the truth. I trust her blindly because I know she has a very good eye and will never let me crash into a wall for fear of hurting my feelings. And yes, I ask her advice on love affairs too.

Which people or companies would I like to work with in 2022?

Please please please tell Kenneth Branagh to read my plays!!!

What project, in 2022, am I looking forward to work on?

My two latest plays: Ouest End, about one of the greatest Shakespearian actors of the XIXth Century. It was getting produced before Covid, the stars we aligned, I had the producer, the cast, the team, the TV partnership, but everything crashed and I have to start again from scratch.

I wrote my latest play Majola during Covid last year. It is a suspenseful psychological thriller set in the early 80s, that depicts an interview of the widow of Amon Göth, the Nazi Commandant seen in Schindler’s List. We are doing our best to have it soon on the road.

I’m also getting asked to write for TV and cinema, so I’m looking forward to new adventures.

Where can you see me or my work in 2022?

I don’t want to jinx it, so let’s say I’ll keep you posted.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

Well, in my line of work, I won’t get any retirement pension, so Passion had better not retire or I will have to start looking for a real job.

Which creative professionals should Peter invite to tell their story?

Stephanie Gesnel, Florence Camoin, Michèle André, Nathalie Mann, Laurence Lustyk, Monika Mucha, Chrystelle Arcelin, Virginie Stevenoot, Marie Ollier, Hélène Zidi.

How can you contact me?

I’m on Facebook and Instagram. Those are public accounts where I post only work related infos and pictures of my pets.

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