Where to start?
We are working hard during the holidays to ensure that Polycolor will be finally ready for the end of January where we will be performing at two of the Immersion program in Portland.
Polycolor will be opening our Second Annual French Theatre Festival in March.
I loved working on Séraphine
, our first show. Polycolor is a complete different adventure and it's so exciting.
There is so much more work ahead of us.
The last few months were busy with Summer camps and preparation to this new school year. New projects, finishing old projects, adapting to changes:
- Carine has accepted a full time position at L'Etoile Immersion School
- Carole went back to France - She is in a Master program in Artistic direction in Poitiers
- Jane had her second child this Summer - Welcome Maceo! and continue to work with the Alliance Française as the Children Program Coordinator & Teacher
We started our Fall classes a month ago already and it is exciting to be able to be present in all the French Immersion programs of the Portland Area. It was wonderful seeing old faces and meeting new students and Families. We could not be everywhere without our new teachers! Their bio and pictures will be soon added to our website but if you sign up for our newsletter, we are sending it this week!
What took us so long to write a new blog entry and sending our newsletter!?
Updating our website and being on top of writing this blog and our monthly newsletter are often last on our to-do list. Some administrative tasks, class preparation and moving some projects forward (New Show, performing > Rehearsing, Francophonie Theatre Festival) have to come first because we value professionalism and the quality of our programs. We value our relationships to our students and Families and with every Schools and team we work with. We are making a difference and that is what's important to us. However, to continue, we need support and help. Money is great, we all know this but everything else is more valuable.
If you have experience, are interested or simply enjoy proofreading, writing, Social Networking management, talk to people about us, have a couple hours to spare this month or every month for projects, consider writing us a quick email :
"Hey, how can I help? I can help with ...."
That will help us continuing to concentrate on what matters : bringing theatre, French, entertainment, education to the community!
After weeks of classes, intensive session of French drama exercises and pronunciation drills, long rehearsals, and... a lot of fun, the Spring term has come to an end. And I can’t help but agree with one of my younger student who said to me "There is only one thing I did not like about that class: it was over too soon".
It has been a really busy term for Fabulations, with more class offered and, as a result, more students. We had kids from 5 to 11 years old, hailing from all over Portland, going to different schools, fluent or not, sometimes even beginners! Shy, confident or true drama queens, they all have been working actively to discover the French theater world. Through games, improvisations, songs and texts, our students have developed new ways of expressing themselves! As Jane says "Theater is just such a great way for them to practice all aspects of French in a non-competitive atmosphere!".
On Wednesday May 30th, the eight girls of the Wednesday's class "Charivari dans les contes de Perrault" (Topsy-Turvy in Perrault's Tales) have given a great performance right on the main stage of the Northwest Children's Theater and School. They had been preparing the show for nine weeks and were more than excited to perform! Costumes, makeup, props, set, “crêpes”, family and friends in the audience...et que le spectacle commence. What an experience!
On Thursday, the drama students of the French American International School gave their parents a lovely theatrical time. While reproducing an improvisation-based “coffee shop” story, they demonstrated their acting skills and talents. They were very concentrated - both on their acting and on their croissants! And what is more satisfying than a Mom thanking you for having turned her reserved daughter into “a lively somptuous butterfly”?
On Friday, we took the way to L’Etoile French Immersion School where two classes of drama students were waiting for us, over-excited to show parents and classmates what is a French Theater class about. Together they gave a 30 minutes demonstration including exercises, games and rehearsed-improvisations (situations we have been working on but have never written a script or guidelines about them). A nice way to conclude a year long program!
Finally, on June 2nd, the Saturday’s “Charivari dans les contes de Perrault” cast had its dress rehearsal! One last chance to practice the play, to rehearse the songs and to make sure everybody knows when and what they have to do on stage. Sunday, at 5:00 p.m., was show-time! After a hair style / makeup / face paint session (for our Oger, Wolf and Witch), the eight girls got ready into costumes backstage. Curtains up and hasta la vista!
For all the kids, not only have they learned how to act, exaggerate or improvise when confronted to an unexpected situation; but they also have discovered new French structures & vocabulary, new group games and new friendships. They had fun performing and that is, for me the most important.
Please, take a look below at some amazing pictures of our Spring Term 2012...
A couple weeks ago, Fabulations was happy to perform "Séraphine" for children and families of "Atlas Immersion Academy" and "La petite école/Le Monde" School.
A little more than 100 people attended and the show was followed by some delicious refreshments offered by the schools and Saint Cupcake.
The performance went well but to us it was quite different from our last performance back in March. Here are some insights / behind the scene information.
We spent less time rehearsing in our basement than in March because the whole show was relatively fresh in our mind and body. We felt more confident with the text, the play, the timing.
However, it all changed as soon as we realized that we could not set-up our set as usual. On Friday morning, less than a week before the show, we came to Atlas to assess how much different it was going to be and talked about options and what it was going to take. Some purchases were made over the weekend to allow some changes to the set.
Part of me was actually excited about the challenge because that is part of what we do, we come to schools and do whatever it takes to make it work. So Monday morning was spent setting up the new adapted set. We then realized that we needed another few hours on Wednesday to finish a few things that were not working and also have a rehearsal, at least "une allemande" (when you go through the whole show but not in real time necessarily, just doing movements and text to know where you have to go, when, etc...) because we had to adapt the way we were performing too!
I was pretty happy with the set, it was different but quite "sleek," and after some more rehearsing we felt pretty good and were ready for the show the day after.
THE BIG DAY
Because all props and the set were already on location, set up was quick, we had time to relax and warm up.
With children in the audience, you never know what the reactions are going to be like. When performing for children, especially young children, you have to expect interactions, and we are actually looking for them, instigating them sometimes.
Our last two performances of the same show were very different in that matter. The March one for example was pretty quiet, children and parents did not interact too much, maybe because it was a smaller audience and it was more intimate. The most reactions we had was during the lion scene because it gets a little scary and funny at the same time.
During our last performance, we had all sorts of reactions. That often made us have to adapt the text or deal with mistakes we were more likely to make. One of the main thing that happens is that you can't ignore for too long that a child is showing you where a puppet went or appeared. If they also scream the name of what's appearing behind you, it's hard to pretend you are not seeing it or that you did not hear. It's not TV! The best is that kids do it in French, because why would they warn in English the main character who speaks French?!
That's what I love about live performance and why I was never interested in working in movies or television: to experience first hand the reactions of the audience and feed from it.
Dear Friends of the Fabulations French Language Theater,
First, we would like to express our sincere appreciation for all of you
who joined us during the French Theater Festival of Portland festivities. It was our pleasure to be able to put a smile on your face. We were delighted to see so many of you together, spending time and sharing laughter with your family and friends.
You have heavily contributed to the success of our event! While contributing to make this year festival an incredible event, you are also helping us accomplish our goal, to introduce a new form of theater in the Portland Metro Area, to create a new type of French Language educational tool.
We would like to thank all of the Donors
which generous donations go a long way in helping the Fabulations development, more particularly our season’s donor Saint Honoré Bakery
. Our thanks also go to the Petite Provence Bakery
, La Brasserie Montmartre
, the Alliance Française de Portland
, and to the Northwest Children’s Theater and School
for letting us using their spaces for the various performances.
We thank our Local Media Organizations
as well, for helping us advertise and promote the festival. Your coverage of Fabulations events helped bring folks to the Festival from all over Oregon.
Please forward our appreciations to your family and friends
not on this mailing list who also spent the First French Theater Festival of Portland with us. We hope to see you again! Please write to us should you have any inquiries. We are always delighted to meet new friends! If you are interested in our organization, please visit our website www.fabulations.org
All of this would not be possible without you - thank you
Jane Fabulet-Roberts & Carine Zimber
Co-directors of Fabulations
Yuko Hardy, one of our great Fabulations' supporter gave the writing contest "le concours international des 10 mots de la francophonie" a try. Thank you Yuko for your participation.
Enjoy her lovely story!
Depuis décembre 2011, nous avons deux chats, dont les noms sont Milk et Kuro, une poule et un hamster. Nous avons accueilli un chaton de S.P.A. (Société Protectrice des Animaux), comme cadeau d’anniversaire pour notre fils. Il fallut attendre plus de douze mois pour l’adopter, par conséquence, son visage s’est épanoui quand Kuro, qui était tout à fait calme pendant les transports, est arrivé chez nous. En fait, toute ma famille a un penchant pour les chats, donc c’est vraiment naturel pour lui de demander un chat. J’ai songé que notre vieille chatte Milk aurait pris soin de Kuro, mais ce fȗt le cas contraire. Autrement dit, je n’ai pas bien cerné son caractère, bien que nous l’ayons eu pendant trois ans. Nous ne pouvons pas confier le chaton à Milk. L’ouistiti, comme nous l’appelons de temps en temps, et Milk, ils ne sont, malheureusement, pas des amis de palier. Kuro a l’âme en peine parce qu’il n’est pas l’ami de Milk. Cette situation est unsupportable. Si la méfiante changeait d’attitude pour lui, l’ouistiti écouterait une histoire stupéfiant, épanouie ou à la noix de Milk.
The official International French Week has started last week. We kicked off the First French Theatre Festival with "Séraphine" on Saturday at the Northwest Children Theatre. It was attended by 35 people who had heard from us through the Oregonian, the schools where we teach, the Alliance Française... and we had refreshments (Chouquettes by St Honoré Bakery).
Then, Carole presented a Storytime at the Provence Bakery which was attended by about 15 persons. We drove back to the Brasserie Montmartre to get set up for our two performances ("Lulu" and "Bassinette") which were attended by about 25-30 people. We are very pleased with how everything went so far. But as the audience, all you see is a result. It almost seems effortless...
"Séraphine" was last performed in 2009 and so we had to rehearse a few times to remember the lines, but also our movements, our reactions, finding the right tempo and emotions, fixing props, ironing clothes and backgrounds. "La leçon de Lulu" has been performed every year at Bastille day but I had to re-adapt it because this was taking place in a restaurant setting, not in the street. Being mostly improvised, it is very different approach but still need preparation. Finally "Bassinette"...We last performed it in February, so it was not too far. My only problem was to get the lines back in my brain. I started to come down with a cold on Sunday. Carole, prepared her storytime by herself mostly and even though it seems like it's nothing, a 45 minutes storytime needs to be well prepared and rehearsed.
Rehearsing used to be one of my favorite part of creating a show and bringing it up to life. The creation process is so interesting. It's where you can improve your craft as an artist, working on your voice, your body, your emotions... I still love it of course because of all of those things. My only problem is finding the time and the energy. Rehearsals are the most important but that's usually where you don't get paid. Not that I do that for money or I would have given up a long time ago! But if you don't get paid, that means, that you rehearsed after hours, on week ends or you take days off because obviously, you need another job. It's hours, and hours of work and actors all over the world do it for free because they believe in a project. I did not have a problem working 3 jobs back in France and finding time and energy to rehearse for free when I believed in a project. My problem now is still not the money (not that I don't need it) but is that logistics is getting harder now: I juggle family life (one 3 years old child and one in the womb, a very supportive husband), my job at the Alliance Française (which I love) and all the things that need to be done at Fabulations. I also somehow try to stay involve with other things too...
Rehearsing then, is the most time consuming and nevertheless completely necessary thing you have to do!
So performing 3 shows this week, was 3 times more time finding time....time, time, time... especially, when you have to find a new costume because the second baby on the way wants to fully participate and can't be fully hidden...
We have two more events this week, the open house at l'étoile where Carole will show the work that her class has done during the afterschool classes and the Storytime "L'heure du conte" at the Alliance. But our work is not done, we have a new show to rehearse and more that we want to do. We can still do free rehearsals but we need support for materials and support to help us grow (it's not only money, well it helps but it's also just coming to see us, liking us on Facebook, getting involved by contacting us and see how you can help)
Thank you to all our team, Carine, Carole and Marc for giving their time and energy.
AND THANK YOU for all of you who came and supported us! We appreciating it and that's why we want to continue to bring French Theatre to Portland and around because we believe in our mission.
Next week, our family minus dad will be embarking aboard an Air France plane, destination Montpellier, France. That means that for the 15-hour trip, I will be managing and entertaining a thankfully rather mellow 4 year-old and a chatty 20-month-old “lap” toddler.
I’ve rehearsed the scenario many times in my head and pray that things will go according to plan. Here’s my vision:
-Portland-Atlanta, 4 ½ hour flight: After a last diaper change and forced bathroom break despite my son’s vehement “I don’t need to, my body tells me so,” we embark during what normally would be our naptime. After takeoff when Oliver gets to chew on a piece of gum and Clarisse nurses contently, they both manage to fall asleep and I too, squeeze-in a catnap. When they wake up, happy and rested, I have delicious, nutritious and out of the ordinary snacks for them. Oliver keeps himself busy with a simple game on my computer while I read to Clarisse. We land.
-Atlanta-Paris, 8 ½ hour flight: We have time to run around, get our blood flowing and grab some dinner during our short layover. A last diaper change/pee-pee break (again with great protest) we embark on the second plane. We settle down, chew gum/nurse for takeoff. I pull out new games (a brand new travel puzzle for Ollie, a doodle pad for Clarisse) and keep happily busy until dinner is served. After a non-stressful, perfectly non-messy and delicious meal, we make ourselves comfortable for a short night sleep. The kids fall asleep immediately sharing a seat, and I even get to watch a newly released, barely edited rom-com before catching a snooze myself. Soon it is breakfast time and we’re almost ready to land in Paris.
-Paris-Montpellier, 1 ½ hour flight: We’re on French land. The airport signs are in French, I read kilometers and kilograms, home sweet home! We go through customs “rien à déclarer.” The children get to run around under the disapproving glance of some old French man. We buy a pain au chocolat and an espresso, make another round to the bathroom (for which I have to pay half a euro,) and it’s time to embark on the last leg of our trip. The kids are a little sluggish and the novelties I brought along are not so new and interesting anymore, but my wonderful little ones still manage to behave nicely and the hour trip flies by (no pun intended.) We land in Montpellier on a beautiful, warm sunny spring day in the South of France and grandma Mamita welcomes us with a teary happy smile and open arms. We made it!
Now, as I mentioned earlier, this is my well-rehearsed vision. Stay tuned for the reality of what will unfold, next week.
Two weeks ago, Carine mentioned a writing contest in celebration of the International Francophone Week. She first put pen to paper to produce a fantastic text about her childhood. The next week, Jane gave it a try too and transported us to the cosy romantic city of Venice. This week, my turn to give it a shot! Remember the rules? Narrate in less than 2000 characters a vacation memory, imperatively using these 10 words: autrement – âme – songe – transports – histoire – chez – confier – naturel – penchant – caractère. So here we go.
Tous les enfants n’ont pas la chance d’avoir grandi à deux pas de l’océan. Profiter de la plage et des embruns sans pour autant quitter le confort de son chez-soi. La beauté de la côte en été, le phare à la nuit tombée et le soleil rouge, penchant dangereusement au-dessus de la mer à chaque crépuscule.
Malgré ces satisfactions qui font l’âme de notre région, c’est toujours à cette saison que nous pliions bagages et partions pour nos vacances annuelles. Quitter la Vendée, le quotidien et la foule de parisiens descendus piquer une tête, histoire de s’oxygéner.
Bien sûr, avant d’arriver en terre promise, généralement un petit coin de France sélectionné selon le naturel de son environnement, de longues heures de route attendaient notre fratrie. Assis sur nos sièges inconfortables, cherchant tant bien que mal des occupations, ces temps de confinement dans l’habitacle du véhicule produisirent au final des souvenirs indélébiles.
Je donnais généralement le ton : mon imagination débordante requérait l’attention des autres. Commençaient alors des jeux où chaque situation ou question veillait à tromper l’ennui. Parfois, des chants appris à l’école envahissaient la voiture, plongeant mon père dans les songes profonds de son enfance. Par temps gris, les courses de gouttes sur les vitres trempées par la pluie avaient beaucoup de succès. Et quelques fois, en bravant avec patience les files interminables des transports coincés dans les embouteillages, des secrets venaient à être échangés: partager nos idées, confier nos rêves, nos projets.
Il était par instant difficile de supporter le caractère des autres. Des chamailleries éclataient tel l'orage, pouvant entraîner jusqu’à un arrêt soudain sur le bas-côté. « On se calme maintenant. Autrement… on rentre à la maison ! ». Des menaces en l’air qui savaient pourtant nous remettre à notre place.
Et bien que de retour au calme, nous bouillions intérieurement d'impatience. Conscients que nous nous apprêtions à vivre des instants de vies inoubliables.
In Carine's last posts she mentioned a writing contest in celebration of the International Francophone Week: narrate in less than 2000 characters a vacation memory, imperatively using these 10 words: autrement – âme – songe – transports – histoire – chez – confier – naturel – penchant – caractère.
As Carine, I don't fit the age requirement either to enter the contest but we decided that it would be fun if all our team was pretending entering the contest.
Je me sens comme un auteur devant sa page blanche à la différence seule que j'ai 10 mots devant moi. Je repense à l'histoire de Carine et j'ai beau chercher, aucun souvenir de mon enfance ne vient m'inspirer. Je relis cette première ligne et surprise, j'ai déjà utilisé un mot. Je relis les 10 mots à utiliser et il n'y a rien à faire aucun souvenir personnel ne vient à mon aide. En revanche, mon naturel penchant pour la Commedia dell'arte et certains de ces 10 mots me font alors voyager vers des personnages aux caractères stéréotypés mais si humains. Je me vois déjà chez Pantalone à écouter entre deux portes, j'aperçois Colombine confier à Arlequin le dernier songe de sa jeune maîtresse et Arlequin raconter les transports amoureux de Léandre pour Isabelle. Je me ballade dans le jardin de la maison du Dottore, et je vois Polichinelle, l'âme en peine, lire la lettre de refus que Colombine lui a écrite. Un bruit me fait sursauter, je sors de mes rêveries italiennes et je relis mon paragraphe. Je compte les mots: neuf! Encore un à utiliser mais autrement, j'ai fini! HA! Ca y est! J'ai fini! Finalement, en relisant encore une fois, je me rends compte que tout ce paragraphe me rappelle les deux voyages que j'ai eu la chance de faire en Italie. Je me souviens de me perdre délicieusement un matin très tôt dans les ruelles désertes de Venise à la recherche de la maison d'enfance de Carlo Goldoni.
Ecrit par Jane