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The Umbrellas of Cherbourg Review

Essay by   •  November 15, 2010  •  Essay  •  692 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,094 Views

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The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, which is being performed by the Two Rivers Theatre Company, is a remake of a 1964 bittersweet French musical romance originally directed by Jacques Demy. The only way I can describe this play is as a sugary, jazz pop opera with an unexpected ending. There is no spoken dialogue in this play; the actor sings every word you hear. Surprisingly, the sung dialogue was not as intolerable as I first imagined it to be. I was conscious to the constant singing in the beginning. But as the play progressed, I adapted to it. As unnecessary as I thought it was, halfway into the play it wasn't even an issue to me.

The play revolves around the lives of two young lovers in the town of Cherbourg in France. Genevieve is a 17-year-old girl who works in her mother's umbrella shop, and Guy, a 21- year-old mechanic at a garage. Though it is unclear how they met, they are madly in love. Their relationship is abruptly interrupted when Guy is drafted to the war in Algeria for 2 years of service. A more serious issue arises when Genevieve discovers she is pregnant with Guy's child. She must choose to wait for her first love Guy to return home or marry a rich gem dealer who has promised to help raise her child.

The most defining aspects of this production are by far the scenery, wardrobe, and props. The scenery emphasizes the contrast of dark and bright. The stage itself is very dark with a black and gray backdrop of a waterway lined with boats and houses. In the middle of the stage there is a large, clouded glass window panel with dark black frames. The darkness of the stage and scenery helps emphasize the bright, pastel colors of the wardrobe and props. Brightly colored raincoats and umbrellas create a great visual effect against the dark background. The set featured a revolving platform that seemed efficient. With the platform, pieces that represented each part of the town could be easily brought in and out of view. One scene that the revolving platform was really useful in was the train station scene. As Guy is leaving to catch his train to the war, Genevieve runs towards him. The platform she is on starts to revolve counter-clockwise and pulls her back. No matter how fast she tries to run, she never gets any closer to him. This is very symbolic of how far away they will be from each other in the next couple of years.

The actors of the play performed all their parts perfectly. Heather Spore, who played Genevieve,

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