The Golden Ass

Apuleius.

Programming / to stage.

The Frenchwoman that I am was shocked by your title in English: The Golden Ass ! – we speak of the donkey and we say: donkey and not ass. Asinus Aureus is the original Latin title – asinus=âne=donkey, so the Golden Donkey sounds more ? – well – it doesn’t matter – this time, we are closer to the text than you.

You may have heard of this not so short story, which is just right and simply delicious.
Ancient authors have a huge advantage over us: they don’t have complexes – they’re not afraid to shock people – they talk to you about sexuality like I can talk to you about a recipe for quiche lorraine – and they laugh with a magnificent joy of living at all the nonsense that goes through our heads.

So it’s a completely crazy story, with magic (a lot), terrible adventures (even more), robbers, thieves, witches, lovers, … censored, goddesses, donkeys of course, and paths full of rocks, mountain trails, crevasses – in short, a great setting for a necessarily exciting show.

The Golden Ass is the story of a young man – Lucius – a little stupid – who, by magic as well as by accident, is transformed into a donkey. It is his girlfriend who made a mistake – okay, it can happen, frankly, there is no reason to eat roses.
Besides, to become a fabulous man again, he will have to eat roses.

It was almost easy: he slept in the stable and the next day, a batch of roses.
Alas, thieves appear during the night – and as they are lazy, what do they do, these bastards?

They steal the donkey, to make him carry the booty.
Here is our Lucius on the roads, loaded like a donkey and treated — like a donkey too. He is simply beaten, nobody lets him eat his thistles quietly on the road – so much so that he will try to flee: but of course, he doesn’t succeed.

working, working, all day, all night… Hydra (Greece)

Condemned to death for his insolent stupidity – he will be saved, will believe in his new-found good star – and failed again. At this point, the tale is no longer for children, we are catapulted into the Roman orgies without filters – yes for Altair, there will be filters
And this poor fool will only be saved on the day of the procession in honor of the goddess of the earth: there are roses!
It’s amazing how hard it is to find what you need – yet roses? it didn’t seem so hard.

Okay – this is not theatre.
Okay ? hmmm… it can fit very very well – no ? yes, of course !
And besides… when I tell you that you only have to bend down to find funny, terrible and exciting adventures? That’s a whole lot of fun.
And … as our brave little donkey wanders through bad roads, finds himself in unbelievable cut-throats, surrounded by enemies as wild as they are unpredictable…
& add that we are in full in the theme of the Fool :

then, with a theatre/circus/dance adaptation – we also have so much to invent an adventure on all our virtual reality levels, from the most tender to the worst – and the worst… there is.

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Featured Image : path of donkeys and stubborn walkers that we find in Greece

16 Thoughts

    1. 🙂 so I’m happy – I think it depends mostly on the quality of the translation – the one I have in French is very good, there is no dead time, no incomprehensible passages, no censorship either (which kills the old texts)

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        1. So…. we don’t have the same division either – the story of donkey Lucien is not interspersed with other little stories.
          It’s a question of establishing the text there for the moment.
          We have in French “Les Métamorphoses” on one side and in “pure” our fabulous Golden Ass. This makes the reading much more pleasant, easy and modern.

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  1. I’m fascinated by the title of this. There is an Ass Lane just outside London, UK nearby where I live. It sits between two golf courses and counties. It is about to lose it’s postal code as no one has lived there for eons. It also happens to sit right bang in the middle of an ancient earth work which used to spread across north London at the time of the Roman invasion. The propaganda says the Romans brought the donkey here but I can’t see that as there is an older name for the donkey in Cornish which is similar. I cannot find any record of it but I swear I read somewhere that the saying ‘the law is an ass’ is a nod to the use of a donkey to settle matters of law via a strange tug of war using donkeys. I’ve downloaded the full version of The Golden Ass and look forward to getting through it! Thanks.

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