Eugène Labiche and Georges Feydeau by Leonard Pronko

By Leonard Pronko


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The baroness believes he is the tenor who is coming to entertain the company at her dinner party, and the wedding guests believe they have arrived at a restaurant and devour the baroness's banquet. Discovering that the baroness has given the hat to her godchild, Fadinard rushes off again. The godchild is, of course, Anals, and Fadinard erupts into her husband's apartment, where poor Beauperthuis is nursing a headache by soaking his feet in hot water. The wedding party believes it has finally reached Fadinard's home and they settle down for the night in Beauperthuis's various bedrooms.

Having learned to lie outright, Chiffonet sings as the curtain closes: By painting for your deep discerning pleasure Manners and morals of a modern kind, Our charming authors show gifts without measure, And bring Moliere's and Regnard's skills to mind. 43 Eugene Labiche and Georges Feydeau It is another classic that is evoked by Labiche's next important play, La Chasse aux corbeaux (The Blackbird Hunt, 1853). The dark picture of the world of finance during the Second Empire reminds us of Lesage's Turcaret.

Scribe, supreme 25 Eugene Labiche and Georges Feydeau craftsman, possessed what Monnier lacked. It was Labiche who possessed both Monnier's keen eye for realistic detail, and Scribe's understanding of the theatre. It was Labiche who took the bourgeois, so pungently evoked by Monnier, and the vaudeviile, so carefully shaped by Scribe, and created theatrical artefacts that were as lifelike and real as the one, as fast-moving and engrossing as the other, and more joyously droll than either. It is clear that Labiche learned his craft from Scribe, who was the major popular author when Labiche first turned to the theatre in the 1830s.

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