French students from University of Adelaide are putting on a bilingual play, Monsieur Bunbury: A Tale of Two Men in Earnest at the Adelaide Fringe in 2019.
We spoke with Jden Redden, the director of the show, which is just one of 22 shows with a French theme at Adelaide Fringe in 2019.
Jden Redden, you’re bringing Monsieur Bunbury: A Tale of Two Men in Earnest to the Adelaide Fringe this February and March. Tell us about the show? The show came about off the back of the University of Adelaide French Club play which was entirely in French, n’est-ce pas?
Correct, the inception for this Fringe production occurred directly after the University of Adelaide French Club play in 2018 which was “The Importance of Being Earnest” in 3-acts. I was brought on board to direct the play to inject some new life into the French play after the same director 2 years in a row. I had such fun with the cast and I thought we put together a really decent show and we had so much more to do together, that in our after-show party I floated the idea of doing a Fringe show with this group. Unfortunately, for us the Fringe registrations were due in 7-days, swift decision making was necessary. Everyone was keen, even though half of our cast would be travelling to France during the December-January time period which would make a February 15 debut very difficult, we thought: “why not?”
What are the differences between the original play, the French version you directed last year and what we will see at the Adelaide Fringe?
We needed to make some changes to the play to transition it to the Adelaide Fringe. The first was cutting the show down to fit into an hour block, the original runs for about 2 and half hours, you can imagine the difficulty cutting it down to size. Working from previous cut down versions of Earnest, I drafted a version which should run for an hour in 1 act. We then needed to understand how we can keep out French roots, while also make the show palatable for the Adelaide Fringe audience. We ended up on a vision that splits the cast into two groups, an English-speaking group, and a French-speaking group. And theatrically that split is between the two families in the play, the Moncrief’s speak French, and the Worthing’s speak English. This allows for interesting interplay between the characters not just with dialogue but with language and nationality.
Who is Monsieur Bunbury: A Tale of Two Men in Earnest for?
The show is for the daring theatre goer willing to see something a little different, something that might be outside their comfort zone in that half of the play is in a different language. Those people who love the wit of Wilde and would love to see it at the Adelaide Fringe. French students or those who are inclined to French culture will also be at home for this show. Moreover, English literature fanatics and students will gain something by seeing this show on the stage.
Will the French be surtitled?
Both the French and English will be surtitled, i.e., the entire show.
Why should people come to see Monsieur Bunbury: A Tale of Two Men in Earnest?
We’re a bunch of broke university students who love Oscar Wilde and all things French. We do this because we love doing it and love collaborating with each other. People should come see this show to support independent amateur student led theatre. People should come to see the show because they enjoy the intersection of culture: this is an English playwright, performed part in French, by Australians, in the Institute of Aboriginal Culture — this is a hot bed of cross culture collaboration. People should see this show to see something really fun and off the beaten path of white male comedians that fill the Garden [of Unearthly Delights].
Monsieur Bunbury: A Tale of Two Men in Earnest is on from 16 and 17 February and from 27 February to 3 March. You can purchase your tickets here.
For 22 French themed shows at the Adelaide Fringe, click here.