To stage / Play or Dance
It is a very simple story, told by Madame George Sand – who had taken a man’s name in order to write and publish.
This story has absolutely everything that builds a story that touches the heart: no chic, no emphasis, no overly sentimental, no heroic façade.
No, this is a simple story of people who care in life about being gently happy.
The man is a young widower, he does what he can not to be too unhappy and help his young son to grow up.
The girl is far too young, exactly between the age of the father and the age of the son.
They are not supposed to fall in love.
But one day, all three of them have to take the road together and travel, on the back of a single horse, through the great swampy forest that separated the villages from each other.
Obviously, this forest cannot exist just anywhere. It is located in the Morvan, a great place of swampy forests. In its center, a city named Avallon.
Yes, Avallon, almost like yours – Avalon, the lost island of your legends…
Around Avallon, the legends have taken on body and soul
The road is long and rough.
The child is hungry – obviously. It is necessary to stop, to eat. He has to be enchanted by the girl and wants to have her as his new mother.
And it is necessary that the night begins to fall, in this immense forest where the grounds are always soaked.
So when it gets too dark, they have to stop their journey and stop.
The smells of rotting wood, the smells of mushrooms under the ferns, the creaking of all the night beasts, the strange cries – all this is nothing. Because in front of them, dancing in the misty swamps, there are the will-o’-the-wisps people, disturbed by these intruders.
The little boy is afraid, he holds on to the girl – who is also afraid but does not dare to say anything, what would she look like?
And between the reeds, threatening, the will-o’-the-wisps escape, while the sounds of the forest do not cease to rise.
They had to go through a whole night, surrounded by these strange lights, surrounded by the howling of wolves, frightened by the hooting of owls, a whole night so that in the morning…
Ah, yes, in the morning, they will have changed.
I won’t spoil the story too much by telling you that the young widower knew that his heart was beating again – and that he was ashamed of himself, because he felt old. That the girl felt her heart awaken, and was ashamed, because she was too poor, too young, and surely unable to take care of him.
It will take a whole story for them to dare to face their shames and to dare to confess to each other that a little too strange feeling that can be born on the shores of the devil’s pond.
They will go through it again, next to this swamp, they will be afraid for each other after having been afraid of each other.
As for the little boy, my faith, it is his obstinacy to have happy people to surround him that will allow these two “ancestors” according to him to stop acting like children – he has a very very nice role – it is that of the child who observes without having yet a filter, a grid of comprehension and who understands at once where things should go.
Thanks to this pond, to these demons of the forests, the story takes a real scale and allows to show without suffocating us under kilotons of demonstration how the fear, the shame and the fear evolve in this so complex feeling called the love.
As a result, this is obviously an excessively visual story, excessively based on ambience, sounds, sceneries – and which requires actors of great class – very great class: at the slightest slip, it’s the end of the perfect accuracy of their character.
Moreover, as it is a story that is not very well known, it seems to me, that it is of a limpid purity and that it is based on this evolution of fear – fear of me to fear for you – it would be masterly to create in the form of a ballet, with a musical composition and a choreography to invent.
And, yes I insist heavily, I add that this theme of loneliness, of the forest, of the swamps, of the fear and of the care to have for the others is … yes, also a huge theme in many video games. With great composers who have already composed music on these themes – and equally great set designers.
Featured Image : Night of the fireflies, Morvan forest