IMG_2766Little French villages are special in a general way, with their beautiful stone houses and flowers and fountains, and they each have something unique, too. Recently, one of the little villages around here put on the most astonishing performance. Young mixed with old and creativity flowed in a way that almost brought tears to my eyes.

It was a moving performance in all senses of the term. Yes, there were emotional moments, but the scenes were scattered around the village, and the spectators walked from one to another. Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 9.10.01 PMIt started at the football (soccer) field. A couple of children kicked a ball, then a flood of kids invaded the field, all while music played on loudspeakers. Then referees–adults–ran in and kicked the ball just to each other as the kids surged from one to another of the refs. A loud boom send the players all to the ground. Sirens started, and some guys dressed in white ran onto the field with a stretcher. They loaded up one of the refs, who seemed to have a ball under his shirt. Then the kids all ran off and the audience moved on…not having the slightest clue.

We climbed one of those passageways you find in old villages, made by and for pedestrians centuries ago. Dancers writhed against the walls. Then we came out at a space where a grange or garage or house had been torn down, leaving a gap like a lost tooth in the otherwise complete row of attached stone houses. It was set up like an operating room.IMG_2730The ref was on the table. The surgeon shouted orders. “Pump!” And the ambulanciers loudly worked a bicycle foot pump. “Pump! Pump! Pump!” the surgeon shouted, and the guys, the surgeon and the nurse all jumped up and down. “Knife!” the surgeon yelled. The nurse grabbed two–a butcher cleaver and  machete, holding them in the air. “That one!” the surgeon yelled, pointing at the machete. It got more and more hysterical. Finally they delivered the ball, which was tossed to a waiting soccer kid, who led us to the next scene.IMG_2737In the middle of a street, a bunch of residents, wearing long work cloaks that blue-collar workers used to wear here (one of my kid’s teachers, an older guy, would don a cloak while teaching). They were in a huddle and scooted up and down and back and forth along the street as small children ran to a wall and picked off messages that were tacked there, handing the messages to people in the audience.

We migrated up the street, where a big pot of artificial flowers was in front of a house. A very tiny, very ancient lady stood in the doorway, laughing that so many people were behaving so strangely in this little village. Children came and plucked the flowers, handing some to her and some to the audience. Across the street, somebody’s legs dangled and kicked out of an upper-story window. IMG_2741As we climbed the narrow street, sweet notes of a cello slipped out of an acoustically lovely old stone garage, played by a very handsome young man, maybe late teens or early 20s. Everybody held their breath as he let the music float out to embrace us. It was magical.IMG_2745Around the corner, some people wearing rain coats and hats were seated in a line of chairs, reading the newspaper, as if they were on a train. They took turns reading random headlines out loud, like some kind of Dada poetry slam.

Adding to the train impression was a big white sheet stretched across the street (which was only barely wide enough for a person to lie down in cross-wise). Some bright lights blared at us from behind the sheet, almost like a train coming through a tunnel. We advanced to the sheet, and then music started. Dancers were behind the sheet, casting shadows on it. It got silly and funny and was all improvised. IMG_2753We moved to a village square, where some older residents and young girls playing cards around a big table. They were clearly cheating, getting more and more outrageous. The girls crawled under the table and walked on top of it, throwing cards. All this was to music. Finally the cards got more maniacally tossed in the air, a boom rang out and we were off to the next thing.

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Brilliant costume. Everything was so cleverly low-budget.

The nurse and surgeon were back, this time with an improvised tale that was completely nonsensical, with lots of double-entendres and puns that would be way too complicated to explain in translation. Between the slapstick and the coy jokes, young and old were cracking up. IMG_2700Under the trees in a cool spot by the park, a young woman perched on a stool. She exuded calm and poise. She had two instruments, a large drum filled with pebbles, and a finger harp. She asked us to close our eyes, and she took us to the sea. She spoke about the beauty of the sea, the importance of the sea, while the waves swirled audibly around us. She added a few notes from the harp, which seemed to me to be in my ears what the sun does when it glints off the water. Again, everyone held their breath. Mesmerized.

In the park, a final scene brought all the cast, starting with dancers who scampered among the trees. An adult in a rabbit costume walked a tightrope stretched between two trees. Every talent had a place! The football players arrived, and finally everybody took a bow. Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 9.09.04 PMTwo food trucks were in the park, and tables were set up for the shared moment to continue.

Have you ever seen such a thing? I was so impressed by the wide variety of people who participated and the many talents of such a little village. If anything, it was a bit like Dr. Seuss’s Whoville, and after this special night, the village’s heart got even bigger.IMG_2768

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TACOS!!! They were good, too, though mine are better…cough, cough.

I don’t have the kind of WordPress account to allow for videos, so I’ll try to put some clips on Instagram. A couple of the acts I have only videos of–the cellist and the wave-maker.

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35 thoughts on “Village Theatrics

  1. Utterly baffling! Sometimes you just need to leave your brain at the door for a change and roll with it all, I guess. It sounds all so wonderfully French!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good grief! I am gobsmacked at the number of participants and the organization it must’ve taken to pull this off, all in a small village. It sounds like a WONDERFUL place to live! Thanks for sharing with us….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much for sharing what a wonderful experience it must have been. I am in awe of what it took to manage such a thing. Only in France!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello, I am an email subscriber and I love your beautiful blog! However, I just felt like I should pass this along – whatever ad agency you are using to support your emails (is it “power inbox”?) seems to think I would be interested in this story with this disgusting worm floating in liquid. It shows up on every single email. I don’t know if you see it below, or if you see something different, so I’ve pasted below a copy of what I see — It’s gross! And I’m always taken aback until I realize that it’s just a link to your blog, with an icky ad below it. Now maybe it’s just me who gets this ad (I subscribe to a few science related websites) but wow – maybe it would be better for your blog if you used a different service, LOL!!

    It’s all good – I’m not unsubscribing or anything – I just know if it were my blog and my emails going out – I’d want to know that this was happening!

    Best regards – Jean

    This post is ad-supported ​ francetaste | July 19, 2019 at 10:58 am | Tags: French street art , French village , Village life | Categories: Culture , Life | URL: https://wp.me/p6IoPH-63V

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I use the free version of WordPress, which means they pick out the ads. I have no control over it, and I suspect they don’t either–I think they leave it up to mysterious algorithms. If somebody wonderful contacted me to sponsor my blog (highly unlikely! it has a very small, though highly intelligent and cultured, following) or if I win the lottery, then I’ll shell out for the ad-free version. I just have too many other pressing priorities on my expenses list ahead of that right now. So all I can do is apologize for the the disgusting ads. Maybe they pick really gross ones to motivate bloggers to switch to the for-pay version?

      Like

      1. I also find these ads very distracting and sometimes creepy, like that awful worm!
        My husband has a blog and this appeared on his also. I told him how distracting these ads were as well. The price to delete them is not very much and especially worth it if you have a big readership.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Our village of 1000 population is staging an original performance tomorrow night. There is 50 people actively performing plus a professional lighting engineer and a costumier have volunteered their services. We are hoping for a big turn out, and good weather. It’s a fundraiser for a historic building in town. Several local villages stage ‘nocturnes’ in the summer too, where the audience moves from place to place for each part of the performance. They are very popular, with several hundred in the audience. (PS. got your email, will respond later.)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much for this post, I am proud to be able to learn more of my own country through you, you know how to tell, how to appeal, how to show.
    And, again, you are never judgemental.
    Thank you again.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It does sound so wonderfully French as your first poster said. I don’t always understand the French humor, but the creativity of it all and the way it brings people together is wonderful. Thanks for sharing. xoxox, Brenda

    Liked by 1 person

  8. How peculiar…but lovely. A few years ago there was a series on TV here in UK where a dancer came up to London and did similar in a number of Yorkshire towns – including York. The preparation was incredible and the final results made you cry. So many people all coming together to produce something that exists only in that time. You have reminded me to see if I can find it to watch again.

    Liked by 1 person

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