Paris Plays is part autobiography and part anthology of the Paris Years of the American playwright Jack Fitzgerald. Going to Paris in 1971, he founded The Paris English Theater and presented the premiere productions of nine of his plays.
Fitzgerald carries you along to France with him and relates how he founded his theater group in Paris, who and what inspired him to write each of his plays, and what life was like for a budding playwright in Paris during the 70’s. You will meet a cast of unforgettable people, some extremely famous and others unknown but all remarkable and unique.
Fitzgerald’s plays are humorous but dark in tone and filled with wit that wounds, delicious irony and dialogue that skewers the vapid beliefs of everyday society. He punctures the hollow pretensions of the middle class and their smug prejudices, coating his criticism with ingenious and irreverent wit from a social, literary and theatrical standpoint.
Especially fascinating are the frank and detailed foreshadowing of Fitzgerald’s own life that caused him to write each of his plays. You will have the unique opportunity to become acquainted with the real-life people who are the inhabitants of these distinctive plays.
Time: The recent present. About 6 p.m. on a rainy evening.
The ratty lobby of the Hotel Virginia, a brothel located in an isolated town in rural Guatemala. The lobby has an airy tropical look of total disorder. There are several potted palms scattered about and some mismatched tables and chairs. The focal point upstage is the entrance to the bar that serves as the hub of the hotel’s activities. Above the portal is a sign that says Bar Romance. Around it is a string of Christmas tree lights.
Throughout the area are Mayan designs, among them a cutout rooster, crescents and stars. A littered reception desk off to the side is where business transactions concerning pleasure are formalized. There are three entrances/exits: the main entrance, the kitchen and the steps leading to the rooms upstairs. There is an old record player and some records on a table. Empty beer bottles and other litter are everywhere. CARMEN, the housemaid, is on stage cleaning up. She is very much an Indian peasant. Her appearance is simple, native and unassuming. She is working very slowly and is by no means doing a thorough job. Her efforts are directed toward sustaining the status quo aspect of the place. She goes about her work humming an unwritten tune and occasionally hitting at a fly with her cleaning rag. She sees a small pool of beer on the floor and goes over to clean it up. She stoops down on her knees and is wiping it up when CHUCHA walks in from the main entrance. CHUCHA is fetchingly heavy and is wearing a tight white brocade dress with a big bow on the side. The dress is undeniably covering more territory than it was intended to cover and, therefore, gives her a truly hour glass figure. She is heavily made up. She has a purse in one hand while the other hand is playing with a big metal heart on a chain that is hanging around her neck. She stops and gives the place a disdainful visual inspection. CARMEN looks up and stops working. She recognizes CHUCHA with enthusiasm.
CARMEN: Well, well, well. Look who’s here. It’s been a long time, Chucha.
CHUCHA: (looking at her distantly) Who believes in calendars anymore?
CARMEN: (getting up and coming over) What are you doing back in Los Moches?
CHUCHA: (strolling on in) Oh, sightseeing, I guess.
CARMEN: (following and looking her over) The last I heard, you had become a grand lady in the capital. Living with a general.
CHUCHA: (laughing as though it pains her) I’m afraid it wasn’t a general, Carmen. You have your information wrong.
CARMEN: But it was your own mother who told me. I met her in the market several months ago and she said, “My daughter Chucha today sent me money from the capital. She has made a good match there with a general.” We all talked about it for days here.
CHUCHA: (laughing lightly) My poor mother. She doesn’t know the difference between a sergeant and a general. To her a uniform is a general. I only told her I was engaged to a military man.
CARMEN: He must be very good to you, Chucha. You have been eating well, I see.