I Know All Save Myself Alone comes to life on stage: review of the first production.
The opening night of the play took place on June 14th 2012 in the Marilyn Monroe Theatre in New York. This is the first production of “I Know All Save Myself Alone”. The cast including more than 20 talented actors did their best to create versatile and interesting characters living in the 15th century Paris.
Owing it to very hard work of the creative production crew we were able to originate a picturesque, captivating show with colorful Medieval costumes and meticulously designed set, which received the most complimentary reviews both from the audience, art critics and respectable professionals of theatre world. An original soundtrack, based on Francois Villon’s ballads, was composed for the production.
The leading role of the 15th century poet of Paris Francois Villon was performed by a young talented actor of French origin – Yohan Belmin. Due to his deep insight into the poetic heritage and historical outline of the poet’s life Yohan was able to create a contradictious image of a talented man, who has been on a journey to find himself throughout his whole life. “I Know All Save Myself Alone” – wrote Villon and this line reflects his life’s biggest challenge.
His tender relationship with parents – his foster father, the canon of Saint-Benoit Church, Guillaume de Villon (Karl Itzkowitz) and mother (Zdravka Katinic) shows one of the character’s good sides – him being a caring and loving son.
However his “unreliable friends” led him onto the dark side into the mire of thefts, burglaries and finally unpremeditated murder.
Against the background of all that’s going on one can discern a lyrical line – poet’s love affair with his beloved Isabel.
Wild and raucous life full of wanderings, freedom in contrast with numerous imprisonments led to a bitter end. Being banished from his beloved Paris City for the last time Villon disappeared in an unknown direction and vanished from History…
“I am beyond happy to see my play onstage (being performed on stage). It is an amazing feeling to direct your own show and watch the scenes written on paper come to life on stage in front of you! Composing the soundtrack for the production – for Villon’s ballads, I realized that I can’t choose a principal one, so after the production I continued my work on new musical material and in the nearest future a new CD consisting of 12 ballads will be released. So a plus tard, Maitre Villon! We’ll meet again very soon!"
To listen to "Princesse...", please click the PLAY button below.
Several years ago I became interested and fascinated by the creative work of Francois Villon, the poet of the 15th century France. However my actual acquaintance with his poetry happened, when I was offered to become the composer and lyricist for the new musical called “Francois Villon. Three Days in Paris.” I got carried away with the work so much, that I felt that studying his poetry was not enough and I needed to find and analyze some of the existing literary and historical sources, describing the life of this extraordinary man.
The musical “Francois Villon. Three days in Paris” premiered in 2009.
Francois Villon. Trois jours a Paris/ Francois Villon. Three days in Paris.
I had been lucky enough to play the part of Villon’s beloved – Isabelle Lavoisier.
The most part of the lyrics, that I had written for the show, especially those that were being performed by Villon and Isabelle, were based on the original texts of Villon’s poems. So for example I used some stanzas from the Great Testament and the Little Testament, also known as Le Lais, as well as Rondeau “Death…”, Ballade of the Women of Paris, Ballade of Good Doctrine to Those of a Naughty Life, Ballade pour Robert d’Estouteville (Ballade that Villon gave to the newly married gentleman to send to his lay by him conquered at the sword’s point), Ballade of Old-Time Ladies. From my point of view, the short song “Princesse…” that Villon and Isabelle sing as a duet became the biggest composer’s triumph.
It’s already the third season that the show gathers the audience of grateful spectators, and many of them come back to experience the captivating journey through the 15th century Paris with the “Prince of sweet songs made out of tears and fire… Villon, our sad bad glad mad brother’s name” once again.
Having studied all possible existing books in different languages, dedicated to the creative work of Villon and his life, for example my favorites are “Francois Villon. The Documented Survey” by D.B.Wyndham Lewis, “Francois Villon” by Marcel Schwob, “Francois Villon. Les Grands Ecrivains Francais” by Gaston Paris, I made up my mind to write the Historical Drama “I Know All Save Myself Alone”. However the story of my tender and loving relationship with Francois wasn’t over. I have grown so close to his poetry with my whole heart and soul and we’ve become so inseparable that now I am recording a CD of his ballads. I have been writing music for it for three years already. Perhaps this audio CD will become the supplement for the next edition of the play “I Know All Save Myself Alone”. And I am absolutely sure, that it is not my last recourse to the life and poetry of the great poet.