2011 – Literary Follies
With Follies 2011, illustrestage presents unusual tales of seduction, with a fairy, and a final surprise. These stories have been in my stack of “candidates” for several years but I never thought of presenting Le Petit Chaperon Rouge and Dom Juan in the same spectacle. I really wanted to do Dom Juan because I had a great song to include in it (you’ll see!)… but showcasing some fairies in the show was irresistible! After rereading many fairy tales I had to conclude that I might have aimed too high. How do you turn a couple of cute mice into dashing horses on our little stage? How do you have a character spit out frogs and snakes or pearls and rubies? At Dreamworks or on Broadway, sure. But this is just illustrestage at the Gallery Theater on our kind of budget, so let’s rethink this. Let’s have just one fairy, but it’ll be a singing one; and a prince, and maybe a princes…or not. And to avoid using special effects because we can’t afford them, they will all be out of work! And I started writing. It was a lot less painful than I had thought, and my first audience (Nathalie) actually laughed a lot. Encouraging. The cast was slowly emerging from my classes and the French club mainly. Based on the number of guys and girls that came forward, I was able to start casting and finish the script accordingly. By mid April we started looking into costumes… Follies 2011 was definitely on its way.
We rehearsed one evening a week in a classroom at NRG until the end of the Spring semester, then on May 25, we started weekly rehearsals in this lovely Gallery theater. Et voilà.
Adriana Ray – ACC Student, French 3
Amelia Boldrick – ACC/TX State, French 4
Ash-Blaize – ACC Student, French 4
Carolina Davila – ACC Student, French 1
Coulter Woodson – ACC Student, French 1
Holly Carrico – ACC Student, French 2
Julio Chacón – Former ACC Student, French 3
Kayleigh Etie – ACC Student, French 1
Marla Rosner – U.T. French Major
Morgan Oliver Trigg – ACC/UT Student, French 4
Nathalie Szostak – ACC Student, French 4
Raphaël Colantonio – francophone
Troy Carrico – Bowie High School, 12th grade
Molly Lynch – Former ACC Student, French 4
Ash Blaize – music editor
Created and Directed by Véronique Mazet
“This was my second time performing with IllustreStage, and my experiences just keep getting better! Having a real stage to rehearse on made all the difference in the world. Also, I know that having an actual budget available for costumes and set pieces added more visual interest to our performance this year. I can only imagine that the next production will be even better, both for the performers and the audience. I loved being a part of presenting French culture to a wider audience. As a student in Texas State’s International Studies department, I’m fascinated by cultural exchange, and I passionately believe in the importance of mutual respect and understanding in an increasingly interconnected world.”
“From first reading the skeleton script in March to watching our cast make the stories come alive onstage, our play has simply been one of the most rewarding experiences for me. At the beginning, most of us know maybe one or two people in the cast, but after rehearsing the same scenes together countless times (with some frustration and a lot of laughter), we became a very close knit cast. And that is the magic in illustre-stage. Rehearsing in a classroom for the first several weeks was adequate, but moving to the real stage gave us a much clearer picture of how things would look, not to mention the huge advantage of being able to leave props and costumes in the dressing rooms. In the seven years I have been studying French, I never thought that French and living in Texas could be so compatible! I hope to one day inspire the same sort of drive in students. This project is something else I can add to my French activities, but more than that it is a memory I will keep forever and I can’t wait for next year.”
“I took French just to avoid reading subtitles on French movies, but never thought that it would lead me to participate on a French/English play. I have to admit that in the beginning I was doubting that the play would succeed since most of us participating were not actors. Now, I can say that persistence and help from Dr. Mazet (coach) to non-actors like myself can bring out a good quality production. Being able to practice on the performing stage was a big plus as it helped me get used to the lights and the space I had to move around. I want to thank my fellow actors and coach for the fantastic experience I had in this production.”
“For me it was a great experience. My first acting experience in fact. And it totally made me want to do more acting in the future. Sign me up for next year.”
“I had a wonderful time being a part of this production. The cast and crew were great to work with. I learned so many things about the people involved and their love for the French culture. Working in this bilingual production was not as easy as it may seem. I was a French 1 student and had a lot of trouble with the pronunciations but I came through with the help of Mme Mazet. Enfin!”
“I had such a great time being a part of literary follies 2011. I am so greatful to have been included. I really feel like the whole experience was benificial to my area of study. I gained a lot more performance experience from this opportunity. Not only that but working with everyone I met through the play was the biggest highlight. I can’t wait to do it again!”
—Kayleigh – la fée
“One of the great pleasures of my academic year is Veronique Mazet’s annual production of her French Literary Follies. It brings me such great pleasure to see first semester French students and fourth semester students and friends from the community all coming together to celebrate the French language and culture in Veronique’s inventive combinations of literature and song. These productions are a gift to our students and to the community.”
—Lyman Grant, Dean of Arts and Humanities, Austin Community College
“I want to let you know that I really enjoyed the show this year. I have seen them all each year except one, and I think they get better and better. The mixture of French literature with elements from modern life and music was really well done. The use of both French and English also worked well so that everyone could understand. I was entertained from beginning to end, and my twelve-year-old son who accompanied me really enjoyed it too. Congratulations to you for having having created and directed it, and to the actors for their excellent performances.”
—John McMinn, professor of French and Spanish
“Beau spectacle! Félicitations et bravo!! My husband and I attended your show on Friday and truly enjoyed it. The music and dance numbers were fun and lighthearted. The dialogue was witty and well-performed. The actors had a wonderful, playful vibe to them and put the audience at ease from the start. It was really a room full of people coming together to have fun, and smart way to sneak some real French history and literature into our brains, too!”
—Heather Bonikowski, French professor, ACC
“Salut, Veronique! Thanks so much for inviting me to this year’s production. I was really impressed with the writing and acting, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn it also included singing and dancing! What a wonderful experience. I was especially glad to see that Amelia Boldrick, one of my former students, was part of the production. Bravo!”
—Betty Clough, French teacher
“I had the privilege of seeing the Literary Follies, which is no doubt to me the best production that Veronique Mazet has brought to the Gallery Theatre at the Rio Grande campus of Austin Community College.
Véronique wrote the entire script using a fairy out of work to transition the production from the real story of Little Red Riding Hood (Petit chaperon rouge) by Charles Perrault, beloved storyteller from the Sun King, Louis XIV, era, and the Moliere play Dom Juan. This was quite a tour de force, and the scene between the fairy and Scanarelle/Prince Charming was new and exciting for me, who has read Perrault and loved his work, and studied the work of Jean Baptiste Poquelin, Moliere.
The addition of new lyrics to former popular songs was a surprising and fresh addition to the well-thought-out background music.
The hit of the evening, however, was the chorus line of the women in all the roles. They came to the stage with a “Guys and Dolls” look, complete with hats, short shorts, and stacked heels. The theme, ‘he (any Don Juan) gets his in the end (Dom Juan dies in the flames of Hell)’ was sung in French and English. What a wow.
Of course, the attraction to any production of Véronique’s is the weaving of French and English, so any audience can easily understand the meaning behind the acting.”
—Helen Gant Guillory, Adjunct Professor, ACC, Retired.
“Hello Mme Mazet,
I wanted to let you and the cast know that you all did a great job with Literary Follies! I had a lot of fun at the play on Saturday. I found it interesting and very funny, especially the scenes and songs from the Fairy and Prince Charming. The costumes were beautiful, and they really represented the period well.
Thank you for letting me know the show times! I have been having French withdraws since May 15th because my work schedule did not permit me to take French over the Summer, and I had to resort to taking Spanish I to try and fill the niche. It is not working. Spanish doesn’t come close to the aesthetic sounds of French.
My love of the French language began in 1989. I am from Northern Vermont, my elementary school made it mandatory to learn Québécois from 3rd Grade through 6th Grade. I continued on in high school taking French I-V under Melissa Warner at U-32 High School. Now, 12 years later, I took French I and II here at ACC. Unfortunately, I will not be able to continue onto French III this fall. I am transferring to Trinidad State Junior College in Alamosa, CO to finish my AAS degree in Manufacturing Technology. Trinidad State Junior College does not offer French courses, so I will have to wait until I move back to Vermont to complete my BA degree in French.”
“Literary Follies was a fantastically done! Just as promised, the play did a great job of incorporating French and English so that non-French speakers and fluent French speakers alike understood and enjoyed the play. I liked that the script didn’t simply repeat the same thing in the two languages, but creatively rephrased or re-summarized what was said so that the whole audience would understand. Jokes in both French and English were incredibly witty and the French accents and acting were both done really well. Looking forward to the next production! Great job and keep up the good work.”
Le spectacle était spectaculaire! Catherine et moi, nous nous sommes biens amusés. Bravo! J’éspere que vous allez nous inviter à le prochain spectacle.”
—Votre ancienne étudiente, Anne Gentry
“My niece (13), nephew (11), mom and I can’t stop raving about how wonderful the play was. My niece, Anna, said it was the best play she’d ever seen. My nephew would like Veronique to move to his town and run the drama department at his middle school in Blanco. My mom said she now loves plays, and that the music, dialogue and acting were excellent. I loved the singing, dancing and acting, too, especially because I was there at the beginning. Everyone was superb! Veronique is a genius at bringing Moliere and Perrault to life in a funny, entertaining, dramatic and extremely memorable way through wonderful actors, dancers and singers. Molly did a splendid job of costuming everyone.”
“So fun! Still laughing.”
“Thank you for the performance. Somehow Dom Juan and Red Riding Hood made a good combination (with some tap dancing in between). I enjoyed the music and the costumes were great, as always.”
“Thanks for a great evening.”
“I loved it! Definitely a wonderful surprise!”
“What wonderful songs and performances.”
“it’s da bomb!”
“Funny fairy. Excellent Don Juan. Spendid Red Hood. Bravo to all.”
“I enjoyed it very much. Lots of creative twists and turns. Congratulations.”
“Great performances! Best show I’ve ever seen from students.”
“The show was very clever and funny. Loved it. Great job all!!!”
“Haven’t had such a great laugh in a long while. Thank you.”
“Great show. The fairy was awesome and the guy who works for Don Juan = awesome. Songs = great choices too.”
“I can’t wait for the next!”
“Amazing singing. I give it a 10 out of 10.”