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Upstaged

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  49 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews

A stranger takes over a role in a play, leaving the rest of the cast to ponder his motives.

Two minutes into the second act, there is a knock on Nicolas Boehlmer’s dressing-room door, just as he’s smoking his last cigarette before having to go back on stage . . . and, without thinking, he says,“Come in,” still in character. He quickly finds himself bound, gagged, and stri
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Paperback, 96 pages
Published June 14th 2011 by Dalkey Archive Press
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MJ Nicholls
Jouet is a prodigious and lesser-known Oulipian emerging into English via Dalkey translations of his shorter works. This 64-page “novel” (Jouet insists) concerns an actor whose identity is usurped (by The Usurper, who delivers a better performance than the gagged original) for the first half of a tiresome play on the French Republic (Jouet is working on a modern version of Balzac’s Comédie humaine). His earlier Dalkey title Mountain R was a satire with some disagreeable nastiness in its depths, ...more
Igor S
Apr 12, 2014 Igor S rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know what Jouet's constraint when writing this was but I do know mine - I need an extra star. A perfect book to quickly get a smile back on your face when feeling blue; reading it will be way less effort than jogging for an hour to get that runner's high.
jeremy
May 30, 2011 jeremy rated it really liked it
Shelves: translation, fiction
jacques jouet, french novelist, poet, playwright, and essayist, is rather prolific, yet seemingly little-known to english readers despite having authored some 50 books. a member of the illustrious oulipo group since 1983, jouet is "intensely interested" in the incorporation of literary constraints in his writing.

upstaged is a slim work concerning the production of a political play and a unique disruption that affects those involved in its staging. when the usurper forces his way into the perform
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David
Jul 17, 2011 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2011
I'm sure I'll read this again. It was entertaining, funny, but I think there were depths to the story that I moved too quickly to fully appreciate.

Since it only takes about an hour or so to read, I'll enjoy it again sometime soon.

Jouet's very cool, especially _Mountain R_.
Monica Carter
Sep 01, 2011 Monica Carter rated it really liked it
Shelves: btba
The Usurper, however, did not allow his character to slide down the slippery slope of outraged stoicism, as is called for in Flavy's play (a development very much in accord with what we know of the historical Soufissis). He kept to his lines, and yet at the same time began to rebel against it. At first this was done almost imperceptibly. Only gradually did his undermining of the text become clear. The Usurper succeeded thereby in slowly unsettling the usually effortless assurance of Jean-Franco
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Heather
"The show must go on" - ah, theatre cliché. But Upstaged takes a "the show must go on" moment and explores it in a funny and interesting way. It's the eighth night of the run of a play, and one of the actors answers a knock on his dressing room door, only to be bound and gagged by a man dressed like his double, in costume and in character. This man, who comes to be thought of as "the Usurper" by the troupe, goes onstage on cue, and knows "his" character's lines and blocking, though he doesn't, a ...more
Jason
Sep 23, 2016 Jason rated it really liked it
Well, it would be tempting to call Jouet's Upstaged a novella, if not for the fact that the man himself insists that he writes only novels, be they short or long. Upstaged is very short. There is a precision to it, and a sense of gainful mischief. It is clearly a comedy. An unknown usurper bounds and gags an actor in his dressing room after the first act and takes his place in the second, to decidedly anarchic effect. Clearly this is a comedy. However, it is so dry and matter-of-fact - only vagu ...more
Aaron (Typographical Era)
Apr 24, 2012 Aaron (Typographical Era) rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011, nook
Jacques Jouet’s Upstaged is a short novel (regardless of the length of the project the author refuses to label any of his works as being a novella) that documents the events surrounding the performance of a play that goes wrong, but in the process becomes something far superior in quality when compared to its original form.

Moments before the second act of Marcel Flavy’s Going out to the People an unknown male referred to only as “the Usurper” enters the dressing room of one Nicolas Boehlmer, tie
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Lori
Mar 01, 2015 Lori rated it really liked it
Intriguing short story about a theatre troupe and what happens when the role of one of the actors is taken over for one night by the mysterious Usurper. Jouet is a member of the Oulipo and this is an example of 'constraint' fiction. It is not known what the constraint is for this book but it packs a lot of action into its 73 pages and is well worth a read.
Will E
Apr 28, 2012 Will E rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary, french
I read this quickly in two sittings on my lunch break at work... It's pretty funny but it didn't blow me away. I would not seed this very highly on my Best Translated Book Award bracket myself but it's a fun quick little read. Perhaps I just didn't get the political implications?
Adam
Apr 24, 2012 Adam rated it liked it
Great scenario for a novella, but I wanted more somehow, a payoff. I needed a punchline to this artful joke.
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Jacques Jouet is a French writer and has been a participating member of the Oulipo literary project since 1983.

He is a poet, novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist, and plasticine artist specializing in collages. As a member of l'Oulipo, Jouet became its focus in June 2009 when he began publicly writing a serialized novel in five days. He first became involved with Oulipo in 1978, stem
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