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 By Israel Horovitz

Playing Dates: 15th, 16th & 19th-23rd MAY at 7.30pm

Matinee Sunday 17 May at 2.30pm

Director – Maureen Nelson

SUNDAY 10 NOVEMBER 2019 at 3pm at The Stables Theatre

‘When a down on his luck middle aged man inherits an apartment in Paris, he plans to solve his financial woes by selling it. He arrives on the doorstep and discovers, to his dismay, that the elderly woman living there has lifetime habitation rights under an arcane French law and she is not about to give them up. Because he has no other place to go, she invites him to stay in the spacious apartment. A spiral of friendship, romance with the old lady’s outspoken daughter, and some uncomfortable revelations about his unmourned father affect all in this poignant play with strong roles for all three actors.’

The above is Samuel French’s summary of the play. Horovitz describes it as his ‘Valentine to Paris’. On the face of it a straightforward, somewhat amusing story about three very different people who find themselves in awkward situations in a large decaying French apartment. It is indeed a well written, amusing, interesting play with an intriguing plot. However, beneath the surface, I see three damaged people who are forced to reflect on their lives, deal with the consequences of long past relationships and agonising decisions. All three are painfully ‘human’ and, two of them at least, inevitably flawed and unfulfilled.

I am looking for 3 enthusiastic, experienced actors and a technical team, including a devoted ‘prompt’ who will collaborate with me to bring this really delightful, interesting and challenging play to life.
Do not concern yourselves about the specific ages given. If you think you can act the part, come along.
Rehearsals will begin in January. I will be aiming for 3 a week. With a small cast, we can have a degree of flexibility. I will agree rehearsal dates with the team at the first rehearsal.



American from New York. Divorced 3 times. Sees himself as a failure. He is broke and relying on living on the proceeds of the French apartment he has inherited. He has 3 unpublished novels. He speaks very little French, has nowhere to live in America, angry, resentful, drinks too much. He adored his mother but had a difficult relationship with his dead father. Feels very bitter and sorry for himself and lacks self esteem. As he gets to know the two women, understand the other part of his father’s life and a more intimate relationship with Chloe develops, his attitude begins to change.


But admits to 90.-described as ‘still beautiful’. French but also speaks impeccable English which she taught until recently. She has an injured hip, wears thick glasses and uses a magnifying glass to read. She is close to and reliant on her daughter Chloe who lives with her. She has a sharp mind, strong beliefs and is extremely loyal. Chloe says of her ‘She expresses her innermost thoughts. openly, directly without constricting politeness – it can be quite shocking, but rather beautiful.’ Matthias’s father was the love of her life and they always remained ‘in touch’.


Mathilde’s daughter, aged late 50s. Described as ‘still beautiful; speaks immaculate English and teaches it. She has never married and is devoted to her mother. Authoritative, assertive, suspicious but also painfully aware that her future is insecure. Initially antagonistic towards Matthias, but gradually grows closer to him as they share their memories, experiences and fears.


I am really excited about this play and believe that it can be a very creative experience for the whole team. Dee Harvey has already agreed to design the set.

Please do give me a ring on 07772 806 355 if you have any questions about the play or audition and also if you would be interested in helping with the production.

Maureen Nelson
PS. The play was made into a very successful film starring Maggie Smith. I have avoided seeing it ! ! !

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