Wednesday 24th to Saturday 27th November 2010
(Read about the play or the author by clicking on the above underlined words)
Directed by Ann Aplin
Gabriel Chevallier's famous comic novel was first published in English in 1936 and was set in provincial France in the 1920's. Republicanism and modernity were ranged against the traditional forces of the Church and the local aristocracy when an ambitious Mayor had the idea of building an urinal.
The novel was enormously successful in its native land and was made into a film there in the 1950's. It became a best seller in English as well and in the 1970's was made into a successful BBC television series, which many people remember with great affection, but which I never saw.
It has been described as 'Rebelaisian' and ' A fine satire, filled with humorous incidents and subtle philosophy', but when it crossed my mind as a possible source for a large cast play, that might appeal to a village, I couldn't find a published version in the catalogue of plays. In the end an account of another production caught my eye in Amateur Stage and I was able to get in touch with Julian Sluggett whose play is the official English translation and he sent me his script which landed on my desk and caused me to think "Now how do we do that?"
It could have been played with a small cast all playing a multitude of parts, but with an excellent response from our members I felt it was better to direct it as a community company reflecting life in another community across the Channel - ninety years ago.
This production is how the Actonians have coped with its challenges on our small stage - and as winter draws in we hope it gives you a taste of a warm wine-scented area of France.
Rough sketches of the set... (They don't get any better than this, folks..!)
Baroness de Courtebiche
Housekeeper to Cure
Housekeeper to Abbe
Aide to Minister Luvelat
Eugene Fadet/Capt Tardiveaux
Oscar de St Choul/Nicholas
Set & publicity design
Box Office & Programme
The play is principally set in the main square of Clochemerle, a small town in the Beaujolais area of France, but the action also moves through the offices of the lawyer, the confessional, the Town Hall, the Chateau, the interior of the church, the Archbishop's Palace and the Ministry of the Interior.
Chris P Taylor