(Michael Billington’s article appeared in the Guardian, 8/24.)

Since the work of the legendary French director Ariane Mnouchkine is virtually unknown in Britain[http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2012/aug/10/ariane-mnouchkine-life-in-theatre], one is grateful to Edinburgh for bringing us this epic example. Based on a little-known Jules Verne novel and "half-written by Helene Cixous" with the aid of the Théâtre du Soleil company, it is many things at once: a tribute to silent movies, an adventure story, an illustration of the creative process, an account of the perennial tension between visionary dreams and private greed. Even if I found its four-hour length a little energy-sapping, it explains why Mnouchkine is a theatrical phenomenon.


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