France celebrates this year the 150th anniversary of the end of slavery in the French colonies. Many cultural events are organised around the topic. Among them is La Fiancee du Vent (The Fiancee of The Wind), a one-woman-show directed by Philippe Adrien (who recently directed the critically acclaimed French premiere of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia) and starring Martinique-born performer Lisette Malidor.
Lisette Malidor is mostly remembered for being a leading lady in Parisian music-halls like the Moulin Rouge, the Folies Bergere or the Casino de Paris. Everyone in France should be familiar with her long black silhouette and her shaved head. More recently, Malidor has performed in classic plays by Racine or Moliere. In La Fiancee du Vent, Malidor flaunts her acting, dancing and vocal skills.
In La Fiancee du Vent, Malidor takes the audience on a musical journey through memory and through the history of slavery. Malidor will portray several different characters from pirate or slave to exotic sensation, clad in outrageously glamourous gowns designed by Arthur Aballain. Malidor sings original songs with lyrics by Jean Bescos and music by Michael Larcange, as well as vintage songs such as "Voulez-Vous De La Canne A Sucre?" ("Do You Want Some Sugar Cane?") made famous by Josephine Baker. Malidor's funny and ironical renditions of some period songs point out at how derogatory the lyrics could be in an era where political correctness was definitely not a major concern.
For tickets and information on La Fiancee du Vent at la Grande Halle de la Villette - Salle Boris Vian, call 331 40 03 93 95. Runs until May 17.
-- By Stephane Ly-Cuong