Tuesday, 24 April 2007

A visit to the Theatre part the second



Ah my little chou-fleurs here we are again , how delightful you all look today, may I say, absolument ravissant , all except for you dear, well yes I know you like that scarf but do you really think that green duck motifs say anything positive about you? Well if it was a present from Claire then all I can say is it wasn’t very kind of her and you should consider whether she was just might have been trying to make you to look foolish? You do feel foolish ? Well there you go dear. That’s right dear, take it off and I shall give it to Mme Grognonne to polish her rifle with. I will not have sulking, that’s quite enough. Didn’t anyone ever tell you have a striking resemblance to a ferrets hind quarters when you make that face and it is not at all attractive.. No? Well perhaps they should have. If the wind changes you will be stuck like that.

Now I shall continue with my description of the Chief patissier’s theatrical foray in front of the French footlights. Where was I ? Ah yes I left Clothilde explaining in dramatic terms to the village priest how the mayor, the bakers wife and the altar wine had all disappeared along with Madame Putains perambulator.

The play is a French farce set entirely in a farmhouse kitchen and naturally, as the genre demands, relies heavily upon a great deal of mistaken identity, exposed under garments , numerous bottles of vin ordinaire and , if I remember rightly, several raw eggs.

At one point in the proceedings Chief patissier’s character is called upon to struggle with and overcome two buxom young women who are intent on disembowelling an uninvited guest, who, for reasons known only to the author, has chosen to polish his muddy shoes with Grandfathers underpants which had previously been drying in front of the kitchen range.

This scene, and a later one (where Clothilde the postmistress grapples with the uninvited shoe polisher, thrusts him backwards on to the kitchen table and gallantly attempts to perform, what appears to be, an emergency tonsillectomy with nothing but her tongue and her quick wits to aid her) took several intense hours of rehearsals alone. Apparently Clothilde’s moustache kept getting caught in Jean Claudes earring.

The Audiences here , unschooled as they are in the appropriate way to comport oneself at the Theatre, have a strange habit of clapping and cheering each time someone they know enters the stage. Since the entire cast ,bar of course chief patissier, were born here in the village the audience is almost entirely made up of friends and relatives .As you may imagine it is hardly surprising therefore that what should have been a short two act play in fact took 7 hours.
The proceedings were extended even further as one of the cast, Jean Jacque Le Bete, who is a bit of a local celebrity, was called upon by the audience to lead the cast in an impromptu rendition of well known Breton folk tunes. This occurred midway between the scene where the uninvited visitor is discovered by Father under the table with the youngest daughter during the midday repas, wearing only grandmothers string vest and a feather boa ,and the scene where the parish priest administers the last rights to the family aardvark.

Sadly these interruption did make the whole thing rather difficult to follow for someone who, like myself is a non native speaker and whose home life is , happily, very far removed from what appears to pass as normal here in the depths of the French countryside.

After the play cast and friends, myself happily included, were invited backstage for a small aperitif. Plates of pate and cold meats were passed around, together with hunks of bread and fresh butter, a thoughtful gift from one of the farmers in the audience. Several hearty toasts were made to each member of the band of players and a great deal of wine was consumed. Afterwards we were treated to an animated display of ancient Breton drinking rituals and my language has been wonderfully enriched with several new phrases in the language.

Happily a thoughtful villager had brought his wheel barrow with him and we all merrily took turns to trundle those unable to walk, back to the safety of their own homes.
We were the last to leave, living , as we do, the furthest from the village and, as I and the children pushed their father home up the hill, watching the lights in the village below being extinguished one by one ,I pondered on how lucky we are and how very pleasant it is to be made to feel we are truly accepted as part of this community.

It reminded me so much of all my dear dear new friends at the purple cow.
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The photograph is of little Gilles, captured on camera happily pushing his mother (Marie-Yvonne Le Ivrogne) home after the performance. Marie Yvonne played the youngest daughter in the play.

15 comments:

Brownmouse said...

Oh crikey. I've only just realised why you've been rabbitting on about green ducks so much. Duh, tres slow on the uptake!!

play sounds completely bonkers...

Which reminds me - when I put "un peu Loufoque" into my coputer's translater, it came up with "A small mild nutter". Love it, love it. love it!!

xx

UN PEU LOUFOQUE said...

yep thats me a little crazy !Now try grognonne..

sally's chateau said...

Heavens darling I thought it was from CP's family snapshots, would have been a real faux pas ! (back to painting toenails)

Woozle1967 said...

Madness and mayhem! Wonderful. And as only the French..........xx

KittyB said...

Glad to have found the real you - I wondered what had gone awry. Small mild nutter indeed. You do make me smile, which is so welcome at the moment, thanks x

Milla said...

You're getting worse! (or better!) But, I'm sorry, Susy (damn fool spelling: with a z if with a y, or with an s if with ie, not an s and a y, we should have been warned) was right. Her decision is further vindicated by this one blog alone. alywilks and harmonie, with their wit and invention and, er, brief appearances, did prove themselves as standing head and shoulders above the likes of you! How she must revel in her judgement.

toady said...

Tres amusant. Oooh la vache elle blog en francais? Zut alors, comme elle est fou. Sorry about that. Just trying to see what I could remember, great blog. Toady

Blossomcottage said...

"un peu Loufoque" is it at all possible this play might go on tour, I think it would be wonderul to put it on in Purplecoombe this Autumn, I think if we make a special effort Andrew Lloyd Webber might take it to the West End or at least to the Bottom of the Garden and then Broadway the possiblities are endless.
Blossom

Pondside said...

I think a Canadian run is entirely possble -we are after all, bilangue and could be trusted to get all the nuances of the language right. I'll be le chef's North Amercan Agent.

muddyboots said...

you haven't been visiting the little green fairies have you? Mon dieu les archers does seem somewhat dull.why aren't village plays that much fun? normally l end up sitting behind the old dear with problems in the pelvic floor regions. arrgh mais oui mon amie je suis un rock star et la plume de ma tante, aurevoir old fruit.

jackofall said...

In my own defence, I must say that I walked half way home before they had to push me - unfortunately for them, I walked the downhill half.

Tattie Weasle said...

You're not allowed ot make me larf as I've now spilt Calpol down my front...i'll wash it off with some red wine and no one on the school run will notice - wonderful stuff far far better than Emmerdale which because of this and other blogs I've missed!

muddyboots said...

hopefully not mon amie, there will have been organised & spread the slurry during the winter! now this comment will confuse the next comment poster.

muddyboots said...

umm, yes it happens here too, improves the organic matter in the soil, keeps those earth worms happy, there are a few chicken farms in the area & THAT has to be the worse poo smell ever, even worse than pigs, but human waste was giving a good run for its money mind you,

Suffolkmum said...

Do love you, you small mild nutter. Milla is spot on - what a loss to the publishing world.