2003 – FEMMES, FEMMES, FEMMES
Femmes, femmes, femmes is the second illustre-stage production. It is an original show featuring five female icons of the French culture, real and fictitious. Each scene is preceded by a carefully composed musical slide show that illustrates the theme.
ACTE 1 – “Jeanne D’Arc: Rebelle et Sainte” (1412-1431)
With the music of Mozart: Le Requiem
Our act is loosely based on the 1953 play by Jean Anouilh “L’Alouette“, and includes translated pieces of Jeanne’s actual sorcery trial. You will follow Jeanne’s short voyage from her village where she first hears the voices of the angels, to Chinon where she meets the embattled and scared dauphin Charles VII. After a mysterious secret conversation with Jeanne, the future king of France, declares that he will grant her permission to ride into battle against the English, at the head of his army. The whole act is a flashback of Jeanne’s life and ends in the prison when she is taken away by guards to be burnt at the stakes.
ACTE 2 – “Edith Piaf. The show must go on.”
With the songs: Mon Dieu, Padam, La vie en rose, Hymne a l’amour, Je ne regrette rien, performed by Akasha and Meredith.
I wrote this act specifically for Akasha and Meredith. I had those two extraordinary singers on board and I wanted to highlight their talent by giving them as many songs as possible. One challenge was to create a story that would allow me to pack those songs in a rather short act, while maintaining the natural flow of the story I was going to tell. The other challenge was for the actresses who had to memorize those French songs, music, lyrics, and pronunciation. And I have to say, I was completely impressed by how professionally they rehearsed. Akasha even managed to get some of Piaf’s scene gestures by working from a videotape. The story I chose is a short moment in the life of Edith Piaf, yet one that had enormous consequences for her: While on tour in America, she lost the love of her life, the boxer Marcel Cerdan, in a plane crash. His death changed her forever. The date was October 27, 1949. This is when the curtain rises on Edith and her coach happily rehearsing…until a fateful telegram is brought in.
ACTE 3 – “Les Liaisons Dangereuses”
With the music of Bach: Concerto pour 4 clavecins en la mineur.
The famous 1782 epistolary novel by Choderlos de Laclos reveals the wicked mind games between two evil aristocrats in pre-revolutionary France. The novel presents 175 letters, and to underscore the prominence of those, the set was to be Madame de Merteuil’s writing cabinet. Sitting at her desk, quill in hand, the marquise “talks” to Valmont in French. From the shadows, Valmont reads and responds to the missives in English as she writes them.
ACTE 4 – “Notre-Dame de Paris”
With the songs from the musical of the same name: Belle, Fatalité, Danse mon Esméralda, Le temps des cathédrales and Bohémienne are performed by Akasha and Kacy.
The place is Paris, the time is 1482, the age of the cathedrals. Written by Victor Hugo in 1821, the huge novel “Notre-Dame de Paris” (“The hunchback of Notre-Dame”) tells a tragic tale of love and fate. In the shadow of the cathedral a story of betrayal, desire and death is about to unfold. Quasimodo the deformed bell ringer falls in love with Esméralda the beautiful and wild gypsy girl. Frollo the demonic priest of Notre-Dame watches her too. In the end, rejected by Esméralda Frollo delivers her to the hangman and disbands the gypsies, in spite of their sacred right of asylum. When Quasimodo discovers what has been done, he kills his master Frollo and collapses over Esmeralda’s body, to die with her.
ACTE 5 – “Coco Chanel: séance d’essayage”
For anyone interested in fashion, Mademoiselle Chanel (1883-1971) stands for French “chic”. “La petite robe noire” (the little black dress)? That’s her. Marilyn Monroe’s “N°5”? That’s her. More than that, she changed the way women dressed and thought of clothes forever. At a time when women were adorned with long, heavy garments, she looked for inspiration in men’s wardrobe for shapes and textures. Her comfortable and loose-fitting clothes scandalized, then seduced “Tout-Paris”. The rest is History.
“With a black pullover and ten rows of pearls she revolutionized fashion” (Christian Dior on Chanel)
Students: Akasha Banks, Shelley Doggett, Ghida El Hajj Sleiman, Ilana Federman, Meredith Fraser, Christian R. Garner, Paul Mason, Wayo Ramirez, Blake Thomas
Faculty: Lori Belk, Marc Prévost
Friends: Charlette Beillon, Kacy Crowley, Joe Foy