January Scholars in France








OdyseesZazouLe MisanthropeLa Chauve-SourisLe DindonLes Etourdis

Le Dindon

By Georges Feydeau. Produced by Lukas Hemleb.

Richelieu hall of La Comédie-Française is located in the heart of Paris, on rue Richelieu, close to the Louvre and the Palais-Royal. It was a rainy day, and we arrived at the theater well into the first act due to a mix-up involving tickets, starting times, and 24-hour clocks. For a play with Feydeau's characteristic plot twists and tortuous storyline, we se débrouille'd remarkably well. And the vaudeville humor was not lost on us either.

This was our second faunal exploration after La Chauve-Souris - Le Dindon means 'The Turkey' - and was another comedy. The story revolves around a M. Pontignac, who endeavors to seduce his friend Soldignac's faithful wife by proving her husband's infidelity. Add a British businessman (with his toujours pressé leitmotif) emigrated from Marseille and his wife who speaks broken French, a libidinous if obese army doctor with a stone-deaf wife, and a restaurant garçon in the throes of puberty - to name but a few - and we have a cast to rival any modern television comedy with its sheer force of absurdity. The unfortunate M. Pontignac, looking forward to a night with his beloved, instead gets two nights in the police lock-up, two black eyes, and public humiliation before his friends. It is he, then, who becomes 'le dindon de la farce' (the butt of the joke).

For me, the crowning moment of the play was when an indignant Pontignac, returned from his first night in jail, recounts to Mme. Soldignac how he was indicted for a crime he had not committed, in a hotel room he had not booked, with a woman he did not know!