The Pear is Ripe

Front from left: Virginia West & Nicole Blundell. Back: Nicole Bourgeois and Karen Rodgers at the University of Ottawa(Cast: Minimum of 4f, 5m with doubling. Up to 17)

Utopian socialism or dangerous cult?

The economically divided city of Paris is rocked by the Saint Simonians, a radical social movement that believes in technology, universal education, free trade, emancipation for women and the poor, and free love. Suzanne Voilquin, a disaffected, poor seamstress is persuaded by her friend, Jeanne, and the charismatic leader, Father Enfantin, to join the movement, and she embraces its goals with enthusiasm and energy. But the movement’s good intentions meet strong official opposition and a progressive social movement begins to evolve into a cult. Imprisoned and rejected in France, the remaining Saint Simonians set off for Egypt. Their goal is to physically join East and West by building a canal through Suez and to spiritually link them by finding an eastern Mother to join with Father Enfantin to lead society to equality. As symbolism increasingly takes over from reality, Suzanne’s discomfort grows, but she has invested too much to leave. She loses love and friendship before she can finally accept that her faith has been misplaced and begin to construct a more meaningful way forward.

First produced by the Drama Guild, University of Ottawa, November, 1995. Director: Lib Spry.From left:  Colleen McKay, Lindsay Empringham and Elisabeth Feltaous as Suzanne.

Reading at Bloor Jewish Community Centre, Toronto, on International Women’s Day, March 8th, 1999. Director: Molly Thom.

Rewritten version produced at Alumnae Theatre, Toronto, 2001. Director: Molly Thom. From left: Colleen McKay, Lindsay Empringham and Elisabeth Feltaous as Suzanne.

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