Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Monsieur Fauchery, theatrical reviewer for a Paris paper, is attending the premiere of The Blonde Venus at the Variety Theatre because he had heard rumors of Nana, the Venus of the new play. Paris’s smart set is well represented at the theater that night, and Fauchery and his cousin Hector de la Faloise note a few of the more interesting people. In the audience are Steiner, a crooked but very rich banker who is the current lover of Rose Mignon, an actor in The Blonde Venus; Mignon, who serves as procurer for his own wife; Daguenet, a reckless spender reputed to be Nana’s lover for the moment; Count Xavier de Vandeuvres; Count Muffat de Beuville and his wife; and several of the city’s well-known courtesans.
The play, a vulgar travesty on the life of the Olympian gods, is becoming boring until Nana finally appears; with beautiful golden hair floating over her shoulders, she walks confidently toward the footlights for her feature song. When she begins to sing, she seems such a crude amateur that murmurs and hisses begin to sound. Suddenly a young student exclaims loudly that Nana is stunning. Everyone laughs, including Nana. It was as though she frankly admitted that she had nothing except her voluptuous self to offer. Nana, however, knew this was sufficient for her audience. As she ends her song, she retires to the back of the stage amid a roar of applause. In the last act, Nana’s body is veiled only by her golden locks and a...
(The entire section is 1253 words.)
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