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Sunday, October 14, 2012

From Paris With Laughs

The Eiffel Tower
This is the view out of the window of the apartment in Paris where I was staying with some dear friends (both BU alums from the School of Theatre) who happened to be celebrating their wedding anniversary. It was…uh…okay. And even better (should that be possible) was meeting their friend Robert Hoehn, also a BU alum from the School of Theatre, who is living and working in that beautiful city, taking care of his son, acting, writing, doing voiceovers, and producing the hilarious, provocative French Fried TV. Rob is, by his own definition, an ex-pat, and he has embraced the French mode of transportation. When I lost my passport – Yes, I lost my passport in a taxicab outside the Palais Garnier (see the picture) through nobody’s fault but my own – he offered to pick me up at the American Embassy on his motorcycle.  At the thought of riding the streets of Paris on a motorcycle comme un 1970s film Francais (Diva came to mind), I decided to walk. 

Palais Garnier
However, we’ll always have Paris because I can find him on YouTube whenever I want (and so can you) on French Fried TV through Frog Berger Entertainment (see the link below). If you speak a little French (and even if you don’t), you’ll get a huge kick out of Rob’s point of view. I’m particularly fond of the one entitled “Vote Expat Vote!” No matter what your political leaning, the message is clear – VOTE! Now, if only I could talk him into writing a play…

KS: What do you remember most about your BU experience?
RH: Too many great experiences. Other than the great things? The hard parts are a little difficult to describe by mail. Other than bringing a child into this world, I can’t think of anything more testing than being judged by people that you trust. The BU theatre program, the cut process, the stress therein coated me with my first layer of tough skin. Warren Towers. “I had a dream and in this dream...”

KS: What brought you to Paris?
RH: I justified coming to Paris with a love story and to continue my theater training by studying comedie del arte at a dream school, after arriving with more dreams then planning life quickly planted me here by blessing me with a child.

KS: What keeps you in Paris?
RH: I stay in Paris for my boy and for my boy and for my boy. It is Paris, I mean I’m not in Bosnia during a war, but sometimes I wish there was an IHOP, a Fatburger, and a 24-hour Whole Foods around. But with the invasion of Starbucks and Subway I'm not too detached from home. Speaking to my grandma often helps as well. ;)

KS: Your videos are so funny, and they have a “dramatic structure.”  Have you thought about writing plays?
RH: Writing plays? I learned a little dramatic structure thanks to the good teachers at BU, but I’m not a writer in any sense of the term. I think of my videos more like slices of life. I don’t know that there is structure in all then chaos of life. I think of French Fried TV in terms of one crazy feeling or story after another. I can tell a story, or a joke, but I’m waiting to have my life story interpreted by a real playwright like Raul Castillo before I’ll throw down any money to see a play about my stories. I’m lazy that way. I prefer to interpret. 

Kate Snodgrass 

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