by David Nicholson ©
1 woman, 1 man
Approximate time: 35 minutes
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Vice Versa is a flirty two-hander translated and adapted from Henri Meilhac’s 1894 one-act play, Villégiature.
Lucie meets her friend’s husband Jacques in the garden of the Normandy inn where the two couples have been vacationing. She has been entrusted with the task of telling him that his wife has run away with another man – unaware that Jacques has been given a similar mission by Lucie’s husband. Knowing smiles and outright laughter will greet the ways Lucie and Jacques dance around each other . . . and where that dance leads them.
Many of Meilhac’s plays had long and prosperous lives, including his libretto for Bizet’s Carmen. Villégiature, however, doesn’t seem to have reappeared on any stage after 1894 . . . until 2011, when this adaptation was first produced at Alumnae Theatre’s New Ideas Festival (Toronto). A reviewer wrote:
“Both characters deliver monologues that move the story along at a great pace, and the actors often break the fourth wall which adds humour and intrigue to the plot. Packed with snappy dialogue and just the right amount of twists and turns, this piece is a sheer delight to watch . . . definitely a crowd pleaser.”
Vice Versa is one act of What the Heart Wants, my full-length trilogy of marital (in)fidelity.
What am I going to say? Maybe if I take it one step at a time, try to find out her real feelings for Henri … is she still madly in love, or are they more like pals? They could be – a lot of married couples are. If that’s the way it is, my job’s going to be a lot easier. She’ll be less likely to break down in tears – or throw something at me….
Oh, god, here she is.
(to the audience)
I think I have a plan. Jacques is … well, lets call him a romantic accountant. If I can get him to see that women aren’t perfect, that we all have our little faults and weaknesses … maybe it’ll make it easier for me to tell him about Adrienne’s particular little weakness….
Just the two of us.
For the whole afternoon. He’s a trusting man, my husband.
(to the audience)
Right. Her husband. Here we go….