Fabulations - French language Theater, since 2007
Fabulations was founded in 2007 by Jane Fabulet-Roberts and Carine Zimber in an effort to provide the growing Francophone and Francophile community in Portland, OR with an artistic endeavor that would also promote the language.
When Jane and Carine were working in a French immersion school, they noticed that, although students learned to speak, write, and read in French, their exposure to the language and culture was mostly limited to the school experience. All extracurricular interventions or field trips were most of the time in English and in consequence, communicating in French seemed limited to academic/curricular activities.
This realization led them to the creation of Séraphine, their first children production. It opened at the 2008 Bastille Day celebration in Portland's Pearl District and later was performed in front of both French speaking and non French speaking audiences, earning them enthusiastic and positive comments from both groups. It was considered a great success for Jane and Carine who hoped to not only set the language in a lively cultural context, but also bridge communities together.
Concurrently, they were hard at work developing classes that would on one hand teach French through Creative Dramatics and, on the other hand, introduce drama and theater techniques in an immersion context. Since 2007 Bonjour Monsieur Moustache! - an introduction to French for preschoolers, has successfully been offered in community centers around Portland, while after-school Theatre classes and summer camps continue to be provided in Portland French immersion schools.
In 2010, musician and composer Marc Bescond (who had created the original score for Séraphine) teamed up again with Fabulations, this time to bring to life a story he had written. Bassinette was born, a whimsical combination of music, mime and storytelling. Since its first performance at the 2011 Bastille Day Celebration the show has received great reviews from both Francophiles and music aficionados. Another bridge crossed, another success for Fabulations.
Building on these achievements, Fabulations is now hard at work, adapting to the stage Robert Neubecker's children book Courage of the Blue Boy. The expected opening date is set for April 2012.