From left to right: Alice Militon, Marie-Helene Cremer, Lila Girod, and Isabelle Johnson. Photo: Ange Costes
Et Pendant ce Temps Simone Veille! (Simone Says)
Written by Corinne Berron, Hélène Serres, Vanina Sicurani, Bonbon & Trinidad
Directed by Thomas Smith
Presented by Brisbane French Theatre
The show runs until November 30. Bookings can be made at bft.org.au This play is performed in French, with English subtitles.
Last night was the second time I had the pleasure of witnessing a Brisbane French Theatre production. Nestled on the outskirts of the city at Metro Arts, accompanied by petit fours and good wine, the almost full house settled in for the night in anticipation.
Et Pendant Ce Temps Simone Veille! or Simone Says is French feminist theatre at its most hilarious. Written by a team of women, this hit play from Paris is an homage to the women past and present who have aided and abetted in pushing women’s rights and equality into the future.
Beginning with a trio of women from the 1950s the story follows Jeanne, played by Isabelle Johnson, France, portrayed by Marie-Hélène Cremer and Marcelle as depicted by Alice Militon. These ladies are mediated throughout the production by the representative for all women, Simone, as portrayed by Lila Girod. The play then follows their descendants through to the 21st century in the 2010s.
These children and subsequent generations all look to their foremothers and as the play progresses, and attempt to, in their own way, embody the message of what it is to be a woman in their era and decry the lack of equality between man and woman.
Accompanied by some amusing and relatable musical numbers, some original and some seemingly appropriated French classics as well as the quick-fire interjections from Simone, the play moved quickly through the decades to the sound of laughter from the audience as the antics of the women on stage become more outrageous and relatable.
Whether you’re young or young-at-heart, this play has something for you. The didactic messages this play holds for women and men reflect the efforts of the esteemed Simone Veil, the real French feminist of the 20th and 21st centuries and advocate of many feminist ideals in France.
The message the audience took away at the end of the night was empowerment, equality and the emancipation of women through the ages. But work still needs to be done.
With this play, the playwrights have created something funny, touching and relatable. The message to take away at the end of the night is simply that equality should be a right women are born with, not one to acquire along the course of their life.
`At least, this was my interpretation of Simone Says. So if you’re looking for a fun night out that empowers and inspires, look no further than the Brisbane French Theatre.