Monday, July 17, 2017

Camille: A Play in Five Acts

Camille: A Play in Five Acts. Alexandre Dumas, fils. Translated by Matilda Heron. 1852. 72 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Some one has rung the bell.

Premiseplot: Alexandre Dumas fils adapted his novel, Camille, into a five act play. There are just eleven characters: Armand Duval, Camille, Count de Varville, Nichette, Gustave, Olimpe, Gaston, Prudence, Nanine, and Monsieur Duval (Armand's father).

How does the play differ from the novel? The play removes the framework. The novel begins after Camille, our heroine, has died. Readers of the novel first meet a grief-stricken lover, Armand, who only slowly reveals the details of their romance. The play begins by introducing Camille's close circle of friends. Are all the people in this play her friends? Maybe, maybe not. Certainly most of them are. But a few do seem to be using Camille to their own advantage. Prudence, for example, stands out as someone taking full advantage of Camille. Olimpe is a rival of hers, so their friendship is more "friendship." Readers--viewers--watch the romance blossom, grow, mature in the play. Quite a difference emotionally, I believe.

 My thoughts: I really loved the play. I enjoyed the novel very much. I didn't think the story could be improved upon. But I'm glad that Dumas also gave us the play version. By simplifying the story, I feel we get a better impression of who the characters are.

Armand: Will you be loved?
Camille: For how long?
Armand: For eternity!
Camille: Alas! my life may yet be happy--it cannot be long--and short as it may be, it may outlive your promise.
Armand: Now, who is melancholy?
Camille: Not I. The weight that chained me to her throne's removed, and all around breathes ecstasy! But it grows late, and you must away.
Armand: When shall I see you again?
Camille: [Giving him a Camelia] When this little flower is faded, bring it to me again.
Armand: Ah, Camille, you have made me blessed.
Camille: It is a strange flower, Armand--pale, scentless, cold; but sensitive as purity itself. Cherish it, and its beauty will excel the loveliest flower that grows; but wound it with a single touch, you never can recall its bloom, or wipe away the stain. Take it, and remember me. Now go.
Armand: Adieu! (19)

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comment:

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Sigh. Another French story to read. I'm glad, really, that I haven't exhausted the wonderful French stories.