Une soirée Grand-Guignol
André de Lorde
# of characters:
10 (2 w / 8 m)*
Approx. 20 mins
Although performed as radio theatre - so no set - it could be done simply with desk, chair and a few props (knife, handcuffs)
No costumes for 2015 radio theatre version, but it could also be done with a few hats and lab coats.
* gender of roles easily adaptable
Le système du docteur Goudron & du professeur Plume
Adapted from a short story of the same name by Edgar Allen Poe, The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether (1845), this one-act stages the visit of two investigative journalists, Henri and Jean, to an asylum noted for its unusually enlightened and humane treatment of its inmates. They encounter a man who presents himself as the director and proceeds to regale them with an account of his “system of soothing,” which achieves miraculous results by encouraging the patient in his or her madness rather than trying to correct it. As the interview progresses, however, the journalists note the increasingly odd behavior of the director and his associates until a thunderstorm that has been brewing finally strikes, sending the director into a murderous frenzy. Henri and Jean are rescued in the nick of time by the asylum staff, who themselves have only managed to escape their cells. Prior to the journalists’ arrival, the patients, led by the fake director “Dr.” Goudron, the asylum’s most notorious inmate, had taken advantage of the relative freedom the “system of soothing” afforded them to revolt, imprisoning their custodians and exacting a “soothing” revenge on the real director, Dr. Maillard…
Script available for download is the radio theatre version working copy, complete with intro and mock radio commercial scripts.
Intro & radio commercials
Le laboratoire des hallucinations
Setting: an isolated sanatorium, where unorthodox scientific experiments are performed on unwilling patients by a violently cruel doctor in an unhappy marriage. Sonia Gorlitz, abetted by her cousin Tania, wants to escape this house of horrors by running away with her lover, M. de Mora. She has written him a letter telling him so and prepares to go on an outing alone with him to plan their flight. Her husband, the evil Dr. Gorlitz, suspects her betrayal but is obsessed with his surgical experiments, reluctantly aided by the unfortunate Mitchinn, his maimed assistant with a dark past. There is an auto accident: the car Sonia and her lover have borrowed from Dr. Gorlitz inexplicably veers off a treacherous road. M. de Mora suffers severe brain damage. In his delirium, he mentions Sonia’s letter, and a furious Dr. Gorlitz avenges himself by operating on M. de Mora, saving his life but deliberately turning him into something close to a zombie, condemned to live in perpetual pain and suffering from terrifying hallucinations. But he and Dr. Gorlitz’s other victims will exact, perhaps, their own revenge…
Originally a full three-act play, cut down here to a three-scene one-act and adapted. Script available for download is the radio theatre version working copy, complete with intro and mock radio commercial scripts.
# of characters:
9 (5 w / 4 m)*
Approx. 40 mins
Although performed as radio theatre in 2015 - so no set - in 2006 the Comédiens did a more reaslistic staging. First and third scenes were in a gothic living room (wicker canapé, chair, tables, gloomy window backdrop); second act in a laboratory (oper- ating table draped with white sheets, rudimentary x-ray machine, chair, grue- some surgical instruments).
No costumes required for 2015 radio theatre version. In 2016 students raided local thrift shops for period costume pieces, white lab coats, surgical caps, etc.
* gender of some roles easily adaptable
Both plays premiered at the Théâtre du Grand-Guignol - the Système in 1913 and the Laboratoire in 1916 – where André de Lorde (1869-1942) was something of a house playwright for the first four decades of the 20th century. The 2015 Comédiens Carolingiens troupe opted to perform them in an updated version of classic radio mystery theatre, incorporating sound effects, original and borrowed graphics, and dozens of original black & white silent clips filmed and edited over the course of a semester into an elaborate son et lumière that was both highly unusual and original. (Montages of stills from clips filmed and edited by cast member Kat LeeHong below.)