Ready for the Pimpernel
Our good friends Max and Sharon Blair invited us to watch “The Scarlet Pimpernel” at Davis High School. Before any strenuous activity we need to eat so we went to the Little Orient Restaurant in Layton. After a great meal we sat down in the Davis High School Auditorium ready for the musical. We were three rows back from the stage with the first row unoccupied. So close I could have left my glasses at home.
With the help of Wikipedia, here is the plot: In 1792, during the French Revolution, Marguerite, the wife of Sir Percy Blakeney, had unintentionally caused a French aristocrat and his sons to be sent to the guillotine. When Percy found out, he became estranged from his wife.
The “League of the Scarlet Pimpernel”, made up of 19 English aristocrats, are rescuing their French counterparts from execution. The Scarlet Pimpernel, their leader, takes his nickname from the drawing of a small red flower with which he signs his messages.
At a ball attended by the Blakeneys, Percy’s verse about the Pimpernel amuses the other guests:
We seek him here, we seek him there,
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
Is he in heaven?—Is he in hell?
That demmed, elusive Pimpernel.
Meanwhile, Marguerite is blackmailed by Citizen Chauvelin. Chauvelin’s agents have stolen a letter incriminating her brother Armand, proving that he is in league with the Pimpernel. Chauvelin offers to trade Armand’s life for her help against the Pimpernel. Marguerite passes along information which enables Chauvelin to learn the Pimpernel’s true identity.
After Percy unexpectedly leaves for France, Marguerite discovers that he is the Pimpernel. Desperate to save him, she pursues Percy to France to try to warn him. Percy is reunited with his wife when they are both taken prisoner by Chauvelin but the couple manage to escape. With Marguerite’s love and courage amply proved, Percy’s ardor is rekindled.
The singing was magnificent and the orchestra played well. There was a lot of effort put into the costumes and the props and that made the play all the more enjoyable. The humorous lines were delivered well and the audience responded readily. Already knowing the story helped me a lot. When I attend a play I usually expend most of my attention on figuring out the plot that I don’t enjoy the show. Of the play, the director Andra L. Thorne said:
While “The Scarlet Pimpernel” holds many important themes and ideas, one of the most important is said by Percy in Act I. In reference to what is happening in France and Percy thinks his band of men should do, Percy says, “Then when is the time? Do you hear me? Neighbor denounces neighbor — oh, and no longer just aristocrats, but teachers, priests, poets! Off go the heads — blood soaks the stones of the streets! I tell you they’ve gone insane, and I ask you: what should we do?
The time to render help is seldom convenient and it sometimes takes courage. As Andra says, “Change, and making a difference somewhere in the world, is a process, not an event.”