France is often associated with love, poetry, wine, and cafés. So I started out trying to weave together all those elements in an entertaining way that would not be a mere recital of poetry, and that would have some music, if possible. The choice of a bistro (familiar for “café”) for the set of this first Illustre-stage production became obvious pretty early on. Writing the narrative could have been challenging since the pieces of poetry are so different, but the theme of the bistro brought it all together nicely. From a Fernand Raynaud comedy routine (“Les croissants”), in which a customer argues with the waiter, to the rantings of a Baudelairian drunk (“Enivrez-vous”), or the sad complaint of an abandoned woman (Prévert’s “Déjeuner du matin”) and the provocative article of faith of a prostitute (Prévert’s “Je suis comme je suis”), students and professors of the French department, and a few others, came together to deliver a very lively and successful spectacle that staged French poetry in a neighborhood café.


Students: Brandon Backlund, Akasha Banks, Nathan Brown, Amber Dupuy, Amy Floca, Adam Nichols, Chelsea Thompson, Adrienne Van Tol

Faculty: Lori Belk, Raquel Gavia, Helen Guillory, Michael Hydak, Véronique Mazet, John McMinn, Todd Phillips, Marc Prévost, Charles (Carlos) Rand, Stuart Smith



Half the cast was French faculty (Gavia, Smith, Prévost, McMinn, Phillips, Hydak, Belk, Guillory, Rand) and the other half was made up of French students of French 1 through 4.

Brandon Backlund acts in French spectacles to support his career as a struggling electrical engineer.

Akasha Banks is a French 3 student and is considering a major in French with a minor in theatre. She appeared in “The seven wonders of the world plus one” at the Vortex theatre.

Lori Belk has been an Instructor at ACC since 1993. She has an undergraduate degree in French from UT, but has had so few opportunities for practice that she thought she would enjoy working in this production. And she has!

Nathan Brown is a French 1 student. He has been operating light switches for years and is pleased to move up to the big leagues.

Amber Dupuy is a former ACC student of French.

Amy Floca is a French 3 student who appreciates the language, but has no previous acting history. She hopes this will be not be too apparent in her performance this evening.

Raquel Gavia who teaches French and Spanish at ACC is pleased to be participating in this spectacle français. She thanks the cast and crew and especially Véronique for her perseverance and dedication to this project.

Helen Guillory has taught beginning French at the collegiate level in Austin since 1992.

Michael Hydak is the foreign language coordinator for the Austin Independent School District; he teaches French and Spanish for ACC.

Véronique Mazet studied theatre at the conservatoire d’art dramatique in Lyon, France. She has been teaching French at ACC since the summer of 2001. She wishes to thank all her volunteers who made this possible and in particular her volunteer students who are not getting any course credit for this.

John McMinn has taught French and Spanish at ACC since1985. He has really enjoyed participating with students and colleagues in this production, and he hopes that activities such as this will make more students want to study French and learn about Francophone culture.

Adam Nichols is in French 2.

Todd Phillips is Professor of Spanish and French at ACC. He has always been very interested in French literature and drama and is glad for this opportunity to work with both.

Marc Prévost is a professor of French at ACC. He also taught French for seven years at the University of Texas.

Charles (Carlos) Rand is a current Instructor of Spanish at ACC. He has appeared in local productions of several plays.

Stuart Smith teaches French at the NRG campus. She has been a member of the ACC French faculty since 1981.

Chelsea Thompson is in French 4.

Adrienne Van Tol is a junior in the UT High School Diploma Program, and a French 2 student at ACC.