Do I still need to say that I have a big weakness for stories made for children?
Tournicotte – I don’t know how to translate this, it’s beyond my abilities / does this word even sound good in English? the name is about what you twist, what you play with and in the end, what you knit –
Tournicotte is a wire doll – and would fit so, so easily on a stage –
Here is her story :
It takes place in a kingdom, lost really far away, much further than you could ever go.
But it’s a realm almost like any other realm – even if it’s lost deep in the unknown worlds.
You find a king, a queen, princes and princesses, a city, a castle, a prison in the castle, children, people of all professions – and more.
So there was a toy maker. He made everything himself. His toys surpassed all others, they were so beautiful, so perfect, that they looked like the real thing.
A naughty little girl – but whose parents were very rich – demanded to always have the most beautiful toys from this manufacturer. And she did. Her room was filled with breathtakingly beautiful dolls.
But the manufacturer was a little sad. Nobody loved him, all the women thought he was a bit of a fool, this man, with his toys. And besides, is it serious for a man? to make toys. Not at all.
Some came to him because he was rich – he spent everything and every time the beautiful one left with the last gold coin.
So one evening when he was sad, his hands made, without him even thinking about it, a kind of ugly doll, a doll made of wire, that his hands had twisted, twisted: a twist for one leg, a twist and here is the other leg, you fold it a little, well you roll it up, here is the bust and then the arms and finally a kind of nonsense that represented the head.
He looked at her, a little stunned to have created such an ugly thing.
But she had a little trick, he did not know what.
He sighed – he was sad that night, remember?
And now the wire doll had climbed onto his arm, and into his ear she put a big crystal laugh.
She fell on the table, she was a little stunned – she said hello – he said hello.
She yawned, because she was tired, he made a little bed for her out of a matchbox and he immediately thought of the name she would have: Goodnight Tournicotte – and there she was, he was no longer alone.
So it’s true: it wasn’t a pretty doll. He made her clothes just right, she was tearing them up anyway, she was doing anything this doll there.
Sometimes she even tired him, hanging on his arm, slipping into his shoes, hiding his tools.
But every time he was sad, she would climb up to his chest, rest on his heart – and as she had to be a little bit magic, she had this incredible power to erase all the sorrows, all the worries, all the sadnesses of his friend’s heart.
All she had to do was put her ugly wire head right there, on his heart.
Since she was not a very pretty doll at all, he was not suspicious and Tournicotte got into the habit of playing with him in the store. Everyone started to love Tournicotte, who was a clown all day long.
So the naughty girl learned about Tournicotte.
She demanded to buy him.
He replied that Tournicotte was a friend, his friend, and surely not for sale.
Nothing to be done. The mean little girl wanted Tournicotte.
So one morning, before the sun came up, policemen knocked on the door. Without saying a word, they took the manufacturer away.
Tournicotte didn’t understand what was going on.
An old and ugly lady came, took Tournicotte, stuffed her in a bag and the iron doll found herself in a room bigger than the sea, filled to the top with the most beautiful toys, all broken, the pretty dolls had no arms, or head, or hair.
Tournicotte was very, very frightened – the little girl arrived, took her with her and demanded that she dance.
And so … Tournicotte became a wire again. There’s no point in living for that.
The little girl tried to animate Tournicotte – and thought she had been played a bad joke.
She unraveled the thread, rolled it up and threw it into a corner of her room.
In his prison, the maker didn’t know what to do. He didn’t feel sorry for himself, but for his girlfriend, who didn’t look like anything at all.
If only she had been near him: he would have untwisted her, retwisted her, he would have opened the lock and they would have gone far, far away together.
But she was not near him.
In the little girl’s room, Tournicotte heard words – the horrible voice of that wicked child – Tournicotte heard the name of her friend: it brought her back to life. She listened and learned that he was in the basement of the prison and that he was going to stay there, that would teach him to make toys that didn’t work.
Tournicotte waited until everyone was asleep. She wriggled around in one direction. Then she wiggled another way – and again and again, until she was an almost presentable Tournicotte.
She got out of the house – it’s easy when you’re a wire.
Spent some time finding the prison.
But she found it.
She passed under the guards’ noses.
Found her friend. He was sleeping and having so many bad dreams. She lay there on his heart, just as she used to – and he woke up, because everything that hurt was gone, and only Tournicotte could do that.
He was so happy.
But she had learned to be careful – they would wait until the next night to run away.
And so they did.
They disappeared far, far away, far away from that despicable and tyrannical little girl, far away from the people who were surprised to see a man with an ugly little wire doll.
For once – it’s a simple story – with a nice happy end – and would be so well, created with puppets
As for the workshop: making ugly wire dolls, of course, it has to take place after each performance.
And each child, naughty or not, leaves with his or her own wire doll
Featured Image : Tournicotte , by Magali Bonniol