Monday 31 March 2014

Un Chapeau de Paille d'Italie at the UEA Drama Studio

On the evening of Friday 28th March 2014 I attended the Sacre Theatre performance of Eugene Labiche's Un Chapeau de Paille d'Italie at the Norwich UEA Drama Studio. Sacre Theatre is the UK’s longest-running permanent French language theatre company.

Written in 1851, Eugene Labiche's vaudeville, Un Chapeau de Paille d'Italie, was immediately successful and has been revived many times, often adapted to a more modern era. Largely intended as entertainment, it also depicts the petite bourgeoisie of its day, and much of this (concerns over money and moral hypocrisy, for example) remains relevant. However, the plot consists of a string of misunderstandings and breathless chases verging on the absurd.

This is Fadinard's wedding day. He is to marry Helene, the pretty daughter of Nonancourt, a country nurseryman (pepinieriste), a class somewhat below his own. Early that morning, as Fadinard was riding through a wood, his horse ate a straw hat belonging to Anais (married to Beauperthuis) who was secretly meeting her lover, Emile. The consequences of the horse's greed are about to unfold.

I had a fantastic time at the Norwich UEA Drama Studio as the Sacre Theatre told us the story about the horse that ate an Italian straw hat with all the hilarious consequences. The Sacre Theatre perform every year at the Norwich UEA Drama Studio, often at the end of the spring semester.

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