The little match girl

Tales / to stage

A tale for this January the first – a tale of/for/from this first day of the year.

It’s a real tale, written by a real storyteller – I mean, it’s a terrible tale.

Nothing cute, nothing fake, nothing mushy feelings that you never come across in real life – no no, none of that sweet stuff that spoils feelings like candy spoils teeth.

So it’s a horrible tale, because it’s very human. What else can you expect from a fairy tale, when it was written by Mr. Andersen?

It’s a very little girl who will be the heroine – she will remain anonymous – she’s just a little girl.

She is in Copenhagen, it is New Year’s Eve. The streets are snowy, frozen, people wrapped up in their big coats, their big boots, their big gloves and their huge hats.

And she is poor – she walks barefoot in the frozen streets – she has a mission: to sell her matches to come back home with a little money – and to make the household “work”.

But on New Year’s Eve, people have other things to do, other worries to think about: it’s time to party! You have to be well dressed – well coiffed – you have to have something to eat, something to drink, something to seat your guests, and what music will you play? And have you forgotten anyone?

So a kid selling matches? impossible to worry about that night.

Another night, of course – but this night is an important night, a night of celebration.

So she can’t sell any, not even one.

Afraid of her parents’ reaction, she doesn’t dare go home.

The cold becomes piercing, she is cold, the little girl and no look comes to warm her up.

So … as she hasn’t sold anything – so she strikes a match, to get a little warm.

It is at this moment that the tale becomes fantastic :

The first match makes a big hot stove appear and the heat floods it – but it dies with the match unfortunately.

The second one is more wonderful, here is the table set, the beautiful tablecloth, and the huge, delicious, fragrant turkey… which leaks and dies with the match.

She will burn them all, her matches, each time a vision will give her what she can only dream of – until the last one, which will give her back the only loving person – her grandmother, deceased.

The next morning, on the first of January of that year, haggard passers-by from the previous day’s party will find an inanimate little girl in the alleyway – dead, yes, but with such a pretty smile that you’d swear her death is sweeter than her life.

I told you: the ending is not happy and the whole thing is terrifying with such selfish humanity.

It’s true – but we have to meet this humanity – in ourselves first – to civilize it a bit, right?

And then what an incredible story to put on a stage – the visual and sound work from the ephemeral visions can just be monumental – and give the young children there a show they won’t forget.

And that’s the best a show can offer. No ?

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