[Phoenix-eNews] PHOENIX THEATRE: BackstagePASS > The Madwoman of Chaillot

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@UVic Newsletter
Phoenix Theatre: BackstagePASS
	Nov. 2017 • Act 11 Scene 3

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      eNews: Life imitating art... unfortunately

Art can sometimes be quite prescient. Be it sci-fi or political satire, 
in an effort to comment on current happenings in society, the analogy or 
metaphor can be a welcome tool for many artists. But what happens when, 
70 years later, that far-fetched idea becomes closer to reality then the 
original event? Learn more about how Jean Giraudoux's play */The 
Madwoman of Chaillot/* has been revisited by many theatre companies 
lately, and how time has brought new relevance to the play.

Watch the video for /*The Madwoman of Chaillot*/ now. 
<https://youtu.be/VIkVGLm2QP0>(We recommend turning up your volume!)


      Behind the Scenes: *When pipelines and protests are no longer just
      a metaphor*

There is much to be learned from /*The Madwoman of Chaillot*/, the 
comedic fable about good and evil written over 70 years ago.

Jean Giraudoux wrote /La Folle de Chaillot/ during WWII when Paris was 
under siege by German Nazi forces.  Unable to address the political 
situation directly, he used metaphors as a way to protest the violent 
incursion of his beloved city. Unfortunately, he was in ill health when 
he wrote the play and did not live to see its premiere and success after 
the war in 1945. It was understood by audiences at the time that the 
evil and corrupt businessmen who were trying to profit from supposed oil 
underneath Paris were stand-ins for the Nazis, whose occupation of the 
City of Light and much of France caused humiliation, hardship, and 
tragedy for in the French Resistance, and especially for French-born 
Jewish people and those who had fled to France prior to the outbreak of 

Giraudoux presents us with a protagonist to work against these 
representatives of evil: Countess Aurelia, an eccentric holdover from a 
less cynical time. When she learns that her cherished neighbourhood of 
Chaillot is in peril because of the businessmen’s plans, she bands 
together with a rag-tag group of artists, vagabonds and dreamers to 
fight back.

Fast-track to 2017, when oil pipelines are being driven through our 
communities jeopardizing wildlife and our environment, and suddenly 
Giraudoux’s artistic metaphors are no longer a far-fetched threat.

//Director Conrad Alexandrowicz, a professor in the Department of 
Theatre, remains fascinated by how this play’s context has become so 
literal for today’s audiences.

/“We live in the era of climate crisis—something Giraudoux may not have 
been able to even imagine! With the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion set 
to begin, we are forced to take the figures of evil in the play, bent on 
profit making regardless of the costs, at their face value; for us their 
status as metaphor has disappeared,”/ said Alexandrowicz.

/“But even as a fable, Countess Aurelia presents a highly questionable 
solution to the problem of human evil! “/ laughed Alexandrowicz about 
the character’s protest methods that, even by today’s standards, would 
be considered extreme.

/“I tried to make it as theatrical as possible and as funny as 
possible,"/ said Alexandrowicz in an interview with the Oak Bay News 
/"But it is about something very serious at heart – what is acceptable 
to do to save yourself from a destructive force...?”/

Jean Giraudoux was a French essayist and dramatist who wrote 15 plays. 
He also served France as a diplomat, a government official, and as a 
soldier in World War I.  He was the first writer ever to be awarded the 
wartime Legion of Honor. His writings often temper tragic themes with 
rueful comedy, using allusive prose, allegory, fantasy, and political 
and psychological perceptions. The English translation by Maurice 
Valency from 1947 holds to this day and the play has seen a resurgence 
of interest in the last few years.

The sets, designed by recently appointed faculty member,Patrick Du Wors 
<https://finearts.uvic.ca/theatre/faculty/bios/duwors.html>, allude to 
the nostalgic café-lined streets of Paris, even though they are only 
flat, massive representations of 19th century engravings.Costumes, 
designed by MFA student Michelle Ning Lo, have WWII-era references for 
the businessmen, and vibrant and flamboyant Edwardian-era frills for the 
“madwomen”. Lighting design by fourth-year student Matthew Wilkerson 
captures the streets of Chaillot and helps heighten the moments of 
comedic absurdity, as does the sound design by third-year student Logan 
Swain, featuring classic Parisian music that is slightly off-kilter.

/“The designers and I have taken a meta-theatrical approach to the 
production, eschewing realism completely for a play that operates in the 
realm of the fantastic, in the genre of post-modern performance as much 
as in comedy,”/ said Alexandrowicz.

The audience is encouraged to watch for elements of creative anachronism 
that help to make comparisons to 2017 even more apparent.


      Phoenix Phacts: Alumni stories from around town and around the

/Onegin <http://www.belfry.bc.ca/onegin/#sp_copy>/ co-created by *Amiel 
(BFA ’94*) is running at the Belfry until November 12. The play features 
the talent of actor*Meg Roe 
’04)*, who was recently back at the Phoenix, teaching workshops as part 
of our 50th anniversary celebrations, and assistant stage manager 
*Sandra Drag (BFA ’14).* While the show is now sold out, it can still be 
seen over the next few months at venues such as Arts Club Theatre in 
Vancouver and the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre in Duncan. *Amiel 
Gladstone* is also directing the new opera /Rattenbury/ 
<https://www.pov.bc.ca/rattenbury.html> about the life, sorted 
relationships, and murder of architect Francis Rattenbury, written by 
UVic Music alumnus Tobin Stokes. The opera, produced byPacific Opera 
Victoria <https://www.pov.bc.ca>, is sold out for its run until November 12.

*Krista Wallace (BFA ’89)* has recently had her short story, “To Serve 
and Protect” published in/49th Parallels,/ 
<http://www.bundoranpress.com/product/2/49th-Parallels>// an anthology 
of short stories about alternative Canadian histories. Wallace also 
performed alongside her husband and two children, (including current 
UVic theatre student Maggie Lees) at the Victoria Fringe festival this 
year in a play the four of them created, /All These People Watching/.

Catch *Ingrid Hansen 
(BFA ’09)* of SNAFU Dance Theatre <http://www.snafudance.com> at the 
Metro Studio Theatre on December 13th in /The Merkin Sisters. 
<http://intrepidtheatre.com/shows/the-merkin-sisters/>/Hansen co-wrote 
the show and will be performing alongside her co-creator in this absurd 

*Carleigh Baker <https://carleighbaker.com> (BFA '11)*‘s book /Bad 
Endings/ won the 2017 Vancouver Book Award. The prize recognizes authors 
who evoke an appreciation and understanding of Vancouver’s history and 
people. Baker was recently named one of CBC Books’ writers to watch this 
year and /Bad Endings/ has also been nominated for the $50,000 Rogers’ 
Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize.

Fourth year Applied Theatre students *Bridget Roberts *and *Jasmine Li* 
produced a YOUShow for Intrepid Theatre Club that ran in early November. 
/Are We Clear? <http://intrepidtheatre.com/shows/are-we-clear/>/ is a 
play devised by ten theatre students that explores invisible 
disabilities. *Bridget *and*Jasmine* are also part of the fourth year 
Applied Theatre presentation, with *Molly McDowell-Powlowski, Natasha 
Guerra *and*Fiona Donnelly-Rheaume*, at the Art Gallery of Greater 
Victoria <https://aggv.ca> on November 16. Theatre in the Gallery 
<https://aggv.ca/events/theatre-in-the-gallery/> is the interpretatoin 
of four exhibitions through movement, monologue and more.

Students both past and present are featured in the Canadian classic /Les 
Belles Souers/ 
<http://www.langhamtheatre.ca/boxoffice/plays/lesbellessoeurs/>, playing 
at Langham Court Theatre from November 15 to December 2. The cast 
includes current theatre student *Hilary Wheeler*, and alumna and UVic's 
Associate Professor in Drama Education *Monica Prendergast (PhD '06, MA 

Current theatre student *Lindsay Robinson* was recently profiled by the 
UVic website 
where he talked about the difference that UVic donors and student 
bursaries have made to his education. After twelve years of professional 
acting experience, Robinson decided to return to school to complete an 
undergraduate degree, with the goal of applying to medical school and 
becoming a doctor. He is currently studying theatre history and science.

/Life on Repeat, 
and performed by *Kholby Wardell (BFA ’08)* is being workshopped for the 
first time as a YOUShow at Intrepid Theatre Club on November 23, 2017. 
Wardell starred in the Off-Broadway production of the Victoria-born 
/Ride the Cyclone/ in 2016, a show that received incredible reviews 
after a nearly sold-out run.

/Cornwall’s All-Inclusive Cancun Christmas, 
written by *Nicolle Nattrass (BFA ’91)* runs November 17 to December 31 
at the Chemainus Theatre Festival. Nattrass is a writer and performer 
known for her critically acclaimed show, /Mamahood: Bursting Into Light 
<http://www.nicollenattrass.com/mamahood-bursting-into-light/>,/ which 
is being produced at Vancouver Island University as part of a fundraiser 
for the Nanaimo Women’s Resources Society in January, 2018.

*Want more alumni stories?* Check out the Alumni Profiles 
<http://finearts.uvic.ca/theatre/alumni/> area of our website. Recognize 
anyone? If you're alumni, please tell us what you've been up to. Submit 
<https://finearts.uvic.ca/forms/phoenixalumnisurvey/biography//> your 
<http://finearts.uvic.ca/theatre/alumni/> bio online 
<http://finearts.uvic.ca/theatre/alumni/> and we will add your profile 
to the website!


      Upcoming Phoenix Events:

*Previews: Nov. 7 & 8 at 8pm*
*November 9 – 25, 2017**// 
By Jean Giraudoux
Adapted by Maurice Valency
Directed by Conrad Alexandrowicz

Welcome to Chaillot, a neighbourhood in Paris and the whimsical world of 
Countess Aurelia. A holdover from a less cynical time, the Countess 
shares her joie de vivre and cryptic wisdom with everyone. When corrupt 
businessmen discover oil beneath her Paris neighbourhood she bands 
together with a rag-tag group of local artists, vagabonds, and dreamers 
to fight back! This poetic and comic fable of good and evil was 
originally written in 1943 during the Nazi occupation of Paris, but the 
play has a whole new relevance in our current era of pipelines and protests.

*Sign language interpretation* 
is offered for the November 18, 2pm matinee, with Nigel Howard, Mary 
Butterfield, and Keith Brougham.

*BOX OFFICE* is now open. Tickets 
<https://finearts.uvic.ca/theatre/phoenix/tickets/> are $15-$26 (Preview 
tickets are $8 and available after 5pm on preview nights).Subscription 
for 3 shows are $39.00.

*Friday, November 17**// 
*at 12:45m*
**Marie Clements*

Join us for a conversation with Marie Clements, an award-winning Métis 
playwright, writer, director and producer whose independent story-making 
is presented in a variety of mediums including film, TV radio, new media 
and live performance. Clements has written the libretto for */Missing, 
/*a new chamber opera co-production between City Opera Vancouver & 
Pacific Opera, premiering November 17-26 in Victoria. Her musical 
documentary, */The Road Forward, /*connects the beginnings of Indian 
Nationalism in the 1930s with the powerful momentum of First Nations 
activism today. The film is being screened Saturday, November 18 at The 
Vic Theatre. She is also speaking at Open Space on Wednesday, November 15.


the most recent Phoenixi stories by liking us on*Facebook* 
or following us on *Twitter <https://twitter.com/UVicPhoenix>*. Use 
*#phoenixalumni* to stream on our alumni website or tag *@UVicPhoenix* 
for us to retweet your event!


      Sponsor Kudos:

Thank you to the Phoenix Theatre's many individual donors 
<http://finearts.uvic.ca/theatre/donations/> and corporate sponsors for 
their support of our programs and talented 

Thank you to our new/Production Resource Partner /*Production Canada* 
<http://productioncanada.com>, a company dedicated to helping our 
student designers realize their creative ideas on stage.

Thanks also to our /Community Partners /from the *Cadboro Bay Village* 
<http://www.cadborobayvillage.com> including: *For Good Measure 
<http://www.forgoodmeasure.ca/>, Pepper's Foods 
<http://peppers-foods.com/>, Smugglers' Cove Pub, 
<http://www.smugglerscovepub.com/> Caddy Bay Liquor Store 
<http://www.caddybayliquor.com>, and* *Heart Pharmacy 

Find out how your company can reach our 10,000 audience members and UVic 
community of over 25,000.Contact us <mailto:aholierh at uvic.ca> to discuss 
a customized sponsorship package to meet your goals.


Phoenix eNews is a regular email magazine for those interested in the 
Phoenix Theatre, the not-for-profit productions at the University of 
Victoria's Department of Theatre, PO Box 1700, STN CSC, Victoria, BC, 
V8W 2Y2 Canada. The University of Victoria is a Registered Charity. 
Charitable Registration No. 10816 2470 RR0001

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	© University of Victoria 2015 	

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