Odyssey of a Prostitute

An adaptation from a short story by Guy de Maupassant written in 1984. This slender but poignant piece of writing has been expanded greatly, because Hiberd felt that its condensation concealed a number of layers below, and concentric circles of unspoken life.

The style is French Gothic and the structures Brechtian. Again there are lots of songs. Yvette’s life is full of grotesqueries and a chamber of comic horrors. She encounters such choice characters as August Morbide, Count Coolgardie, Ray le Sting, Henri Suave, and Zeek. At the end Yvette seems set for some happiness, but an elliptical threat soon intervenes.

LOUIS: You guessed it. The setting is Paris.
Paris, the manger of civilization,
the cradle of the croissant, revolution, onion soup,
mooning love, the guillotine,
the Enlightenment, the bidet, and faaarce!

Throughout the play we see the phases of the moon on back projections

CELERITE: (sings)
The moon in its cycles turns,
sometimes pink, sometimes green:
summer freezes, winter burns,
as widows orphans wean.
The moon in its raptures twists,
sometimes thin, sometimes huge,
autumn cyclones, springtime mists,
as virgins lovers lose.
The moon in its phases prowls,
sometimes sharp, sometimes blunt:
sullen cuckoos, festive owls,
as spinsters roués hunt.

N.B.  Jack Hibberd has adapted and/or translated other works; Aristophanes’s The Ecclesiazusae, Arrabel’s The Architect and the Emperor of Assyria, and Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich (see below).

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