Monday, 23 April 2007

A night at the Theatre part the first.



Mme Grognonne and I have spent all day chatting to people visiting new blogs and catching up with the housework and have hardly had a chance to think , let alone blog ourselves, and if Mme Grognonne doesn’t blog soon I shall have to dig the syrup of figs out of the medicine chest again to avoid a nasty accident.

Its been an awfully busy weekend here at "la vache violette", what with the early start to the green duck hunting season, the unexpected onslaught of Swiss Haus Fraus hurling cuckoo clocks in our general direction and Matron hitting the gin we quite forgot to tell you about Chief Patissier’s performance in the village play !

Its an annual event put on by the school PTA or as it is called here the "Amicale la├»que" – which means incidentally, friendly non secular people. I know that France is terribly keen to separate Religion from Education but I really think that someone could have come up with a snappier name don’t you ? I strongly suspect that Chief Patissier had to sign a pledge in blood to say he had never nor met spoken to God concerning the school syllabus or other related matters and had no intention of doing so in future. As long as they continue to confine their conversations to email he should be alright I hope.

Anyway back to the play, Excuse me a minute will you please ? "Mme Grognonne I meant that metaphorically speaking , take your hat off and get on with cleaning the brass immediately or we shall have words!" Good lord sometimes I do wonder if it would be fairer to all of us if we had her committed you know.

The first night of the play was Friday and Chief Patissier trotted off all freshly showered and smart, which is a pity really as he plays the character of a rather grubby mechanic of some sort so might just as well have saved water and not bothered to ablute .

Since the internal workings of the motor combustion engine are, and sadly always will be, a closed book to him it was an extremely challenging part and we were all most grateful he didn’t have to dismantle an engine on stage otherwise we might have had to call upon Mme Grognonne to reassemble it afterwards, she having like the dear Queen, worked with lorries during the war. Mme Grognonne’s particular field of expertise lies in the blowing up of German convoys but nonetheless she is quite the dab hand with a monkey wrench.

No dear, not Mr World, I meant Elizabeth Regina of England not Juan Carlos of Malaga, I’m pretty certain he would not know how to tinker with an engine, although he might be able to help in a cross stitch emergency should one arise.

It being a warm night the children and I walked the 30 minutes to the theatre in the village, my intention being to exhaust them before we arrived in order that they would sleep all through the performance. I left the dogs at home to look after the cats and Mme Grognonne.

Ordinarily , I would have course have included her in the outing ,but sadly, with alcohol being available during the intermission, it was not something I was willing to risk. Last year she spent so much time at the bar trying to teach Claude to crack walnuts with his biceps that the takings for the evening were 300 Euro higher than expected. This, although in itself was gratifying as it meant that the children could all have a trip to the mountains . meant it took Mme Grognonne six months to pay off her bar tab and left quite a dent in the family coffers.

As Mme Grognonne was not of our party I was compelled to have all three of the children sit with me in the audience. It may come as a surprise that French rural theatres do not run to "boxes" so we had to sit in the middle of a row of farmers and their wives.. I think this will give you a fair indication of just how rural it is here! I was very relieved that I remembered to bring my Palma violets.

I gave the boys strict instructions that they were to sit as rigid as little Englishmen and remain in their places in silence until the interval. This caused a lot of sulky looks on their parts but I can not be having with the way the French allow their children to run screaming through the auditorium and slide along the floors on their bottoms during a performance.

What if one of them had distracted Chief Patissier during an intricate piece of method acting and he had dropped a spanner? His hands are his livelihood , if anything happened to them I dread to think what we would do for biscuits. Afterwards I discovered we had been sitting behind the chief patissier’s big boss so I was extremely relieved that I hadn’t been forced to get the restraint out and tie the children to their chairs as I had feared.

The play was naturally a French farce, and was a great success as it was set in a small Breton farming village and so true to life it was almost surreal. There was even an alcoholic postmistress called Clothilde just like our very own!

I shall leave you with the image of Clothilde, played by Antoine our village butcher( the group is rather short of female members sadly) explaining to the village priest that the mayor has just run off with the mole catchers wife and taken the sacristy wine with him. Try not to be distracted by Antoine’s moustache. It would have seemed rather cruel to ask him to shave it off when there were only 4 performance and it has taken him 45 years to grow it this long . It has rather become his trademark, and since our own postmistress has one similar the audience merely took it for part of his stage makeup.

Tomorrow , providing I can sober Mme Grognonne up long enough to collect the children from school, I shall tell you a little more about the play and the party afterwards.
Until then my petitte pois I wish you all a bonne nuit!
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The painting above is "The Woman's Club," by the artist, David Robinson, dated 1927.It is interesting to see that the same fashion in hats seems to be in favour in our village today, which is why I was reminded of some of the women in the audience on Friday and hence posted it by way of illustration.



9 comments:

Frances said...

Hello to Brittany from New York, and many thanks for the welcome.
Your site just continues to amaze with its style!
Cheers,
Frances

muddyboots said...

bonsoir mon ameee,ca va? so you too have been playing computers all day as well, l think today has been the fusing of great minds in cyber world, if we think hard enough through the keyboards pouring energy down the tlephone lines we can take over the world! Yesterday, or was it the day B4, it was only CL, now we are the purple coos, ?does this sound a bit Dr Who'ish? where's my sonic screwdriver? aurevoir & salut & cafe creme etc etc oh & what was it ah yes have a pastis! ps: what time is set on your world clock?

Suffolkmum said...

Bonsoir, superbe comme d'habitude. Loved the sound of the play.

lixtroll said...

Un Pue, quelle are you like? Absolument sans price, ma chere. I have been rire-ing ma tete off encore une fois a vos blogs hilarieuses! Mon Dieux, now I have to go and pee, keep up the entente cordiale! Love to Mme Grognonne xx

countrymousie said...

You are such a stylish blogger, your site, your blog - I am very envious. Loved the ref to cuckoo clock - I laughed out loud. They are still chucking their toys out of the pram on the other side.
Keep up the entertainment!

muddyboots said...

do you know as a child l spent a lot of time locked in wardrobes?..perhaps that explains a great many things? time: is of the essence..no. look on your customise button & check the settings tabs, 1 of the tabs has time zone settings, hmm can't remember Narnia though, l think disney got there 1st.

Blossomcottage said...

Hey this is awfully grown up this Blog Page, and I none to good a the French stuff, will go and find the Frenc Diccy and try and make sense of some of the comments. Looks lovely.
Blossom

sally's chateau said...

Dear Girl, You just get better and better x

Pondside said...

Lovely laughter from me and annoyed harrumphing from the people in the next room. Am away on business, in a hotel, up late reading blogs!