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A LOVELY DAY - Notes from the Director  

.....you ask about the birth of Pantagleize? ah, yes...

....well, Michel de Ghelderode tells us all about it in the essay Epitaph for Pantagleize, written upon the occasion of the first major production of the play in England in 1957. When asked where this particular fellow came from, Ghelderode describes a blithe little chap walking across a city square of ricocheting gunfire in Flanders (for it was wartime); all the time the little chap reads a book, (more gunfire) he stops and opens his bumbershoot, he continues on, unfazed. The soldiers stop for a minute and laugh.

Some years later, Ghelderode writes a play about this traveler creating - some might say - a holy clown, and sets him within the rickety circumstance of revolution. It’s a commedia-inspired allegory; a poignant farce to make one sad. I have long been haunted by its hero.

Watching Laird Williamson’s fascinating production of the seldom-produced Pantagleize at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco in 1979, taught me many things about great artistry. The production was chock-full of deep comedy and daring. That particular Pantagleize was created with incomparable ease by an artistic & comedic national treasure Raye Birk – and the production was peopled by other stage greats, Michael Winters & Sydney Walker among them. I feel so fortunate to have witnessed it, that’s for sure. I knew at the time (within the gold-gilt-&-velvet embrace of the Geary Theatre) that it was a precious opportunity, a piece of latter-day Dada to bend my mind.

"And if music has helped me a great deal in my work,

I will add that it has at the same time remained a kind of recompense

and a lasting aspect of my disquiet.

When I am impressed by a work, by a concert which pleases me, I do not sleep.

All night I reconstitute the music received as a gift from Heaven,

in the same way that I reconstitute poems I have heard

and which have ricocheted in my heart as in the depths of a well."
- Michel de Ghelderode in The Ostend Interviews

So here we are now. Again, in a time of naughty war. (There’s that.)
And with that, it’s a full “re-imagining” of the play we are working on, and yet also the

masterpiece itself – Pantagleize - which we’ve kept firmly in mind. The chance to work with and study Ghelderode’s material appeals greatly, and to be in a classroom of theatre students who might awaken this particular fable? - well, that has been a long-held dream. So here we are, indeed...in an unexpected venue, with a bunch of found objects, the imaginations of the audience, borrowed costumes, the incredible advocacy and masterful artistry of a master mask maker...and we say to the Fool:  "Awaken!"

- Randall Stuart, 2007