The second production of A Noise Within (ANW)’s 26th season is The Madwoman of Chaillot by Jean Giraudoux, translated by Maurice Valency. Directed by Stephanie Shroyer, the poetic, surreal and comic fable features Deborah Strang as Countess Aurelia, the Madwoman herself, performing through Nov. 11, 2017.
Oil is discovered under Paris, and Countess Aurelia and her kooky bunch are determined to drive away the evil corporate profiteers lying in wait. Written in 1943, The Madwoman of Chaillot (La Folle de Chaillot) focuses on three businessmen in Paris as they plot to destroy the City of Light, the center of culture, in order to unearth oil (located by The Prospector’s sense of smell) in the neighborhood. These grandiose plans come to the attention of the Countess, The Madwoman of Chaillot, whose eccentricity masks practical goodness and common sense. She enlists the help of her fellow outcasts: The Ragpicker, The Street Singer, The Sewer Man, The Flower Girl, The Sergeant, and various other oddballs and dreamers. These include her fellow madwomen: Constance (Susan Angelo), Gabrielle (Jill Hill), and Josephine (Veralyn Jones). At the end, Countess Aurelia sends the trouble makers, one by one, into a bottomless pit that opens out of her cellar.
The stage for The Madwoman of Chaillot is gorgeous. It looks like a lovely French café. But in this place funny things happen. Strang, Angelo, and Hill, in particular, are really entertaining during their exchanges (and hilarious when talking about their –invisible- dog). Aside from the humor, though, this play touches on the importance of human kindness, and in how our real value comes from being of service to others. With accessible language, this play is fun for everyone.
Tickets for The Madwoman of Chaillot, starting at $25, are available online at www.anoisewithin.org and by phone by calling 626-356-3100. A Noise Within is located on the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Sierra Madre Villa Avenue at 3352 East Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107, just north of the Madre Street exit off the 210.
Photo: Deborah Strang in A Noise Within’s The Madwoman of Chaillot. Credit: Craig Schwartz / used with permission.
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