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<  Announcements  ~  4/9 - 4/25/04: Grand Guignol in Lexington, KY

Daniel Zilber
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2004 12:42 pm Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 16 Sep 2003 Posts: 35 Location: Alameda, CA
The University of Kentucky Theatre Department will be presenting "The Grand Guignol: Tales of Horror and Ecstasy," April 9-10, 15-17, 22-24, 25 at 8 p.m. (and 2 p.m. April 25), Guignol Theatre, $12 - general admission, $10 - UK faculty/staff, and $8 - students and senior citizens.

A combination of five individual plays, bringing to life themes of horror, violence, and sexually explicit comedy. Originating from the Guignol Theatre in Paris during the 1800s, this theatre was described as Paris' "dirty little secret." Tickets, (859) 257-4929.

On the program:
"Chop-Chop! or The Guillotine" by Eugene Heros and Leon Abric
"Orgy in the Lighthouse" by Leopold Marchand
"Tics, or Doing the Deed" by Rene Berton
"The Three Masques" by Charles Mere
"The System of Doctor Goudron and Professor Plume" by Andre De Lorde

If anyone gets a chance to see it, feel free to post a review.
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Russell Blackwood
Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2004 11:15 am Reply with quote
Moderator Joined: 18 Sep 2003 Posts: 125
I exchanged emails about this production with John Holloway, a faculty member of the University of Kentucky, Lexington drama department and scene designer of The Grand Guignol: Tales of Horror and Ecstasy. Holloway was involved in this project from the outset and shared with me his own short report just after opening night.

This production was the UKL drama department?s first foray into Grand Guignol repertoire and yet nearly eighty years have past since Le Theatre du Grand Guignol became the notorious namesake of the UKL campus auditorium.

Actually, when the theatre first opened it had an altogether different name. Until 1927 that is when, the story has it, a theatre professor vacationing in Paris paid a visit to Le Theatre du Grand Guignol. Whatever he saw on stage that night, it apparently effected him profoundly. On his return to Kentucky, the prof promptly changed auditorium?s name to The Guignol Theatre.

That?s probably the closest the gory professor ever got to working in a Grand Guignol theatre himself, but now students and faculty are at last paying homage to Le Theatre du Grand Guignol and the lasting connection it has to their own theatre.

With the gusto of a cheerleading squad, the sordid details from the theatres? shocking past are truly on parade. Under the banner, The Grand Guignol: Tales of Horror and Ecstasy, the production included five English adaptations of Grand Guignol plays. The Three Masques was adapted in conjunction with the University?s French Department. The script for Orgy in the Lighthouse was developed by the company through improv workshops, based on the synopsis from Mel Gordon?s book. The other three he plays, Chop-Chop! or The Guillotine, Tics, or Doing the Deed, The System of Doctor Goudron and Professor Plume were, Holloway said, were ?from the old scripts? (meaning, I suppose published versions of English adaptations of the ?old? scripts.


?We made a ?theatre in a theatre? by making a small intimate venue all on the stage of the regular auditorium,? said Holloway ?using church pews for audience seating, along with some wooden folding chairs in the back. The proscenium arch we built for our Grand Guignol stage is an enlarged version of the arched doorway and columns seen on the front of the Rue de Chaptal building. There is a red curtain that flies in and out for the various acts. The show begins in the lobby with some cabaret singing and can-can dancing. Unfortunately, a drunken lover shows up and one of the singers meets an untimely end. The piano player tells the crowd not to worry, that everything will be OK, just go into the theatre and watch the show. Of course there is the obligatory fainting audience member helped out by a doctor in attendance. After the show, the audience can stop to watch a Guignol puppet performance in the lobby. So we are trying to cover all of the Guignol bases. It has been a ton-o-fun.?

The name Guignol might still occasionally be mispronounced on the UKL campus, but this production sure clarifies all that the name Guignol implies. This may even be the start of a new tradition, a fall semester festival of the Grand Guignol.
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vellina
Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:05 pm Reply with quote
Guignoler Joined: 10 Feb 2019 Posts: 295530
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vellina
Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:25 am Reply with quote
Guignoler Joined: 10 Feb 2019 Posts: 295530
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