Ladies of the Camellias
A Divertissement for Craig Noel

by
Lillian Groag



Victoria Carroll and Melinda Peterson

Director
Scenic Design
Lighting Design
Sound Design
Costume Design
Properties Design
Hair & Wig Design
Assistant to the Director
Marketing/Public Relations
Production Stage Manager
Technical Dir//Master Electrician
Set Construction
Production Crew




Fight Choreography
Dramaturg
Rigging
Assistant to the Prop Master
Production Intern
Production Photography
Original Production Artwork
House Managers



Lighting Operator
Sound Operator
Back Stage Crew

 

Lillian Groag
Tom Buderwitz
Jeremy Pivnick
Jeff Folschinsky
A. Jeffrey Schoenberg
Chuck Olsen
Joni Rudesill
Ashley Bell
David Elzer/Demand PR
Vernon Willet
Red Colegrove

Pro Sets West, Inc.
Anthony Bradshaw
Jeremy Bryden
Richard Lewis
Dan Watson
Ashley Bell
Michael Bell
Dan Nowack
Court Alexander
Richard Lewis
Michael Lamont
Adam S. Doyle
Nora Frankovich
Marja Harmon
Abbie Bundy
Elizabeth Saryan
Sara Painter
Johnathan Henning
Kate Motzenbacker
Spencer Howard
Vanessa Van-Zerr

CHARACTERS

A Girl
Benoit
Alexander Dumas, Fils
Sarah Bernhardt
Eleonora Duse
Flavio Andb
Gustave-Hippolite Worms
Ivan
Constant Coquelin


Julia Coffey
Tony Abatemarco
Mark Bramhall
Victoria Carroll
Melinda Peterson
Marcelo Tubert
Louis Lotorto
Triney Sandoval
Chip Heller 


TIME & PLACE: 

Paris, June 1897
The stage of the Theatre de la Renaissance


Notes on the Play

In June, 1897, Eleonora Duse arrived in Paris on her first French professional tour. On a fiercely competitive impulse (which makes Miss Le Gallienne's touching claims to her "mysticism" wildly amusing) she chose a repertoire consisting of almost exactly the same roles that Sarah Bernhardt was famous for, not least "The Lady of the Camellias," which both ladies used as their faithful "war-horse" all over Europe. To add to the excitement of the occasion, there was some confusion as to where Duse would play, as, at the last minute, there seemed to be no theatres available. Whether this emergency was fortuitous, or a carefully planned publicity stunt by their agent (yes, they had agents in those days!), a M. Schurmann, who represented both women, we will never know for certain. We do know that Bernhardt offered the Italian company her own Théâtre de la Renaissance for their use, free of charge. Duse accepted, and the tension within and without the theatre can only be imagined, since the two were by now arch rivals in the minds of the theatre-going public and critics alike.

At the same time, the anarchist movement in Europe had flourished during the last decade of the 19th century, the precursor to terrorism as we, unfortunately, know it today. Several major political assassinations culminated with the murder of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Habsburg in Sarajevo, in 1914, marking the beginning of World War I and the end of an era. The theatre was carefully watched by the authorities not so much to protect the performers, but in order to avoid incidents which might involve attending government officials. 

The play is not an attempt at history or biography - those are best represented by the printed word - but a "divertissement," a fancy, a theatre masque, a light-hearted, late-at-night chat about "what if," about something that might have happened in a world that expresses an alarmingly ebbing need for the theatre. The incident is pure fantasy, the circumstances as well as the thoughts and ideas expressed by the ladies in question, are not. They have been carefully researched through memoirs, diaries, letters, and reviews by their contemporaries. Bernhardt and Duse were among the last of the great actor-managers, and they were both star performers. Their names were household words around the world, in an era with no electronic media. The play attempts to be a smiling salute at the centenary of a meeting which Robert de Montesquiou (Proust's Charlus and Sarah's "Quiou-Quiou") described as "more of a collision than an embrace."

---Lillian Groag



For More Background

See our Bonus Materials


This production was made possible by the kindness and generosity of:

Ray Adams, Buyers’ Home Warranty, Bardwell's on the Boulevard, Douglas Bashaw, Derek Bjornsen, A Noise Within, Brad Brown, Michael Cabler, The City of Burbank The Colony Board of Trustees, Laura Dwan, Chris Garr, Dan Gates, Janee Hoffman, Demetrio James, Shelby Jiggetts-Tivony, Paul Marius, Robert E. Moore III, Salvador Palacios, Bill Shaw, San Gabriel Civic Auditorium, Clayton Stang, Wadler Data Systems, Lee Wochner, CounterIntuity

and

Amanda Diamond
Kris Hernandez