“THE WALTZ OF THE TOREADORS” by JEAN Marie Lucien Pierre ANOUILH – Cancelled

## We’re sorry, but due to an unexpected illness, this play is canceled ##
To open its 47 th Season and in its effort to introduce its audience to
plays by exceptional French playwrights of the 20 th Century, INDEPENDENT
PLAYERS will present Jean Anouilh’s The Waltz of the Toreadors by Jean
Anouilh. Audiences may be familiar with Anouilh’s Antigone, Eurydice and
Romeo and Juliet, which are the author’s best known and most often-
produced plays. Toreadors is one of his most humorous plays and represents
the later part of his writing career (1952) when his plays are more seriously
humorous because he employs clever word play for a more serious tone. He
is one of France’s most esteemed playwrights, and (this play) “deals with
themes of maintaining integrity in a world of moral compromise.”

Written in the 1950s, this play is one which features middle age
characters who view life more practically than many of his earlier idealistic
heroes (Romeo, Antigone and Eurydice for example) do. This is an
extraordinary work, claimed T.C. Worsley in The New Statesman: “ It is at
the same time wildly comical and savagely cruel. It moves with a virtuoso’s
freedom up and down the emotional scale from pure farce at one extreme to
real pathos at the other. There are scenes of pure horror and there are
scenes of pure comedy, and M. Anouilh modulates between them with an
absolute sure touch.”

General Leon Saint-Pe is a character in the author’s earlier play Ardele,
but interestingly, in Toreadors, he has become more cynical than before
because he has aged significantly. In The Waltz of the Toreadors, he
attempts a reunion with a woman who crossed his path seventeen years
earlier. During the years following, he has had several more close
encounters with Ghislaine, but has thus far resisted the temptation to leave
his wife Amelie. When she arrives at long last to claim the General as her
own, Ghislaine confronts him with purported evidence of his wife’s infidelity.
After much slapstick and stage business, the charges turn out to be true, but
by that time, Ghislaine has fallen irretrievably in love with Gaston, the
General’s painfully shy male secretary.

By the final curtain, four of the
characters have threatened or “attempted” suicide, yet all remain alive to
contemplate a future fraught with compromise and disillusionment.
As he does in Ardele , in Waltz of the Toreadors , Anouilh avoids bathos
(anticlimax; sentimentality) through the judicious use of caricature; here,
however, both the General and his ostensibly insane wife emerge as more
fully rounded and therefore credible characters. The General, a very much
weathered version of Anouilh’s post Romantic heroes, elicits the spectator’s
sympathy as he wonders precisely what has gone wrong in his life, where and when.

His wife, Emily, equally credible, has chosen to express her love
through jealousy, feigning invalidism for more than a decade in order to keep
her basically compassionate husband from deserting her. Grim and
unrelenting in its satire of contemporary marriage and morals, The Waltz of
the Toreadors is, nevertheless, highly delightful.

The INDEPENDENT PLAYERS production of The Waltz of the Toreadors
opens on March 1, 2024 and runs weekends March 1-3, 8-10, 15-17. 2024.
Fridays and Saturdays: 7:30 PM; Sundays: 2:00 PM. Tickets: $20.00; Senior
Citizens & Students: $15.00. Tickets at the door: Cash/Check only; Phone
Reservations: (847) 697-7374. Online: The
production is being directed by Don Haefliger, Artistic Director of IP. The
cast consists of many of the actors who have graced the IP stage in recent
years and gave us many wonderful productions.