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<  General  ~  Gaston Leroux and Grand Guignol

Oldphan
Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 9:40 am Reply with quote
New Member Joined: 22 Jul 2006 Posts: 2 Location: Chicago
Greetings! I am a life long fan of the work of Gatson Leroux, who was the original author of The Phantom of the Opera, and other great mystery novels like Mystery of The Yellow Room and The Perfume of The Lady in Black. The last time I went to see the Andrew Lloyd Webber, musical version of The Phantom of The Opera on Broadway, I was shocked to find this pasage in the program:

The story has not fared much better on the stage. In France, strangly, it has scarcely appealed to dramatists at all, and there have only been two notible productions in England. The first was a much abridged version performed as part of a 'Grand Guignol' season at the Little Theater in London in 1935...... (And it goes one to talk about the second production.)

Does anyone out there know anything at all about this mysterious little production of Phantom? I am particularly keen on information about it, not only because of how early this one was, but also because true horror versions of Phantom are not very easy to come by.

If anyone knows anything at all about this, please do share! I would also love to hear anything about any other Gaston Leroux stories that perhaps where made into Guignol productions... I think the nature of a lot of his writing woul have been pretty perfect for it.

Thanks so much in advance!

Oldphan
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Daniel Zilber
Posted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 8:57 pm Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 16 Sep 2003 Posts: 35 Location: Alameda, CA
Hello Oldphan - I'm not familiar with the London Guignol version of Phantom, but I do know that the London productions were very tame compared to the Paris Guignol productions, due to the British censors.

The one Grand Guignol play by Leroux that comes to mind is "L'homme qui a vu le diable" (The Man Who Saw the Devil) which was produced in Paris in 1912. The plot is summarized in Mel Gordon's Grand Guignol book:

Quote:
In the midst of the Juas mountains, four tourists find an abandoned manor. The owner of the dilapidated castle has sold his soul to the devil in exchange for the power to always win at cards. The devil appeared to the old man in the mirror hung on the inside of a closet. The secret lover of one of the female tourists opens the fatal wardrobe and asks the devil for the death of the woman's husband. He then breaks the mirror and faints.

The next day, he aims an unloaded gun at the husband and pretends to fire. The husband drops dead.


The play is published (in French) in Agnes Pierron's collection Le Grand Guignol.

Hope this helps.
dz
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