Le Chandelier, 1978

A real feather in our cap with this show – an English translation of the story performed for the first time in England.


This story is based upon the fable of a candlestick that burned the fingers of those who lit it. The notary master André is angered by his wife, the young and beautiful Jacqueline, because one of his clerks saw a man climb the balcony to her bedroom. Infuriated, André enters his wife’s bedroom where she is sleeping or pretending to sleep. Threatened with the contents of the chamber pot, she wakes and becomes so enraged of her husband’s accusations that André falls to his knees; he asks forgiveness for his insults and hurriedly leaves.
Almost immediately Jacqueline quickly opens a cupboard to release the dishevelled Captain Clavaroche, her lover. He suggests that Jacqueline, to deflect the suspicions of her husband, should choose “a candlestick” – that is, a young man for whom she will pretend a certain attachment and who will subsequently be monitored, while the true lover will enjoy, in peace, his conquest!
Agreeing to this plan Jacqueline chooses, Fortunio, third clerk of her husband. But it just so happens that Fortunio, also admires Jacqueline and, while Clavaroche laughs at her naiveté, he unwisely announces the fact to master André. When a surprise conversation accidentally reveals to André that Clavaroche is the true lover of Jacqueline, despair overcomes the young Fortunio.
The suspicious notary hides overnight in the study and Clavaroche, who realizes that Jacqueline was beginning to fall in love with the young cleric, advises her to write to Fortunio to meet him at midnight in her garden. Jacqueline sends the letter but, moved by the devotion of Fortunio, fears that her husband will become violent – and indeed he does, bringing Fortunio to her room. Fortunio professes utter devotion and says he would die for her. Affected, Jacqueline cannot resist this outpouring of love and throws herself into the arms of the cleric who, triumphant, turns to the sheepish officer: “Sing, Mr Clavaroche!”