Sunday, June 23, 2013

Off-Off-Off Broadway, But Just As Entertaining

'Barbie,' Queen of the Gypsies
We went to back-to-back musical events this evening, both featuring local talent having a great deal of fun for our enjoyment.

The first was the "Tronches de Vies," an original revue-style production directed by Alain Martin (who has a tremendous voice) and his music students, mostly adults. The performance was actually part of their course and final exam, so to speak, and they all did a marvelous job.

"Little People" ... Les Miserables
The songs were mostly in French, so I didn't necessarily understand the words, though a couple of them were in English - such as our friend Barbara's "Memories" solo in which she transforms from a grocery cart-pushing vagrant into the Queen of the Gypsies, resplendent in a bright red dress, fishnet stockings, and a garter belt with a large heart.

I certainly also recognized "If I were a rich man ..." from Fiddler on the Roof, "I want to be in America ..." from West Side Story, and the "Little People" tune from Les Miserables, well familiar from watching my grandson play Gavroche last year in Texas.

Directeur Alain Martin, wooing one of the women
There were more than 20 musical numbers, some solos, a few duets with Alain as the suitor of a series of women, several choral numbers and choreographed dancing.

Among the more memorable - aside from Barbara throwing off her hooded shawl to reveal her dance hall saloon attire - were the robot girl from the confectionery shop, who had to be re-wound a couple of times before she could complete all her stanzas, and the "black widow" who sang a lament to all four of the husbands she had buried and then laid a bouquet of flowers on each of their gravestones.

Geant Jean
Later, after a leftovers soup-and-sandwich dinner, we wandered down to the Fête de la saint-Jean, which was originally a celebration of the summer solstice but for Catholics the past few hundred years honoring John the Baptist.

There were choirs with children dressed in the Catalan colors or red and yellow, adults in traditional native dress, and a couple of geant statues of Jean with robes and a crown.

We didn't stay for the bonfire. It was getting too cold. Hard to believe on the 2nd day of summer we were wearing jackets and sweaters.

A couple nights ago we went to another village to listen to a very good band from the region (there's a video on D-L's blog: and last night an Indian dinner and an English-language movie with a couple of American friends.

Such as life in Argeles-sur-mer in the summer: plenty to choose, eclectic variety, colorful and enthusiastic.

We're about socialized out for a few days, though. Time to get some work done this week before we get ready to head to Geneva in early July ... for the Montreaux Jazz Festival.

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