BIJOU a cabaret of secrets and seduction
by Chrissie Shaw.
Directed by Susan Pilbeam. Design by Imogen Keen and Victoria Worley. Lighting by Gillian Schwab. Choreography by Liz Lea.
In a Parisian café bar in 1932, we meet Bijou draped in her tattered finery. Over many glasses of wine, she reads palms, tells saucy stories, sings snatches of song and relives the adventures of her long-lost youth. The bar pianist plays Satie, Weill, Hollander, Bruant and more, triggering memories of Bijou’s haphazard past. It’s a Cabaret of ribald tales, French and German songs and the unravelling of a life story…truth or fantasy?
Chrissie Shaw is Bijou, Alan Hicks is the ‘bar pianist’.
Seniors Groups are encouraged to attend this show, either matinee or evening performances.
ABOUT CHRISSIE SHAW
Chrissie is a veteran performer, starting her career in Sydney in the 1970s. However, the main body of her work has been in Canberra since she arrived in the late ‘80s. She has created and/or produced several original works and performed in all of them as actor and musician. Chrissie turns 69 in 2013, so of course she plays older characters. One of her most successful shows is Gran’s Bag, a play for children written by Greg Lissaman, for which she wrote the songs. This play is perennial, and as Chrissie says, she will keep doing it till she can’t walk any more, or remember the lines! She has won several awards in the ACT, most recently the 2012 Critic’s Circle Award for her performance in Lawrie and Shirley by Geoff Page; a tale of love between two elderly people.
Performing in theatre is a sure-fire method for staying on the ball, both exercising the brain and the body! Of course, it gets harder to learn and retain the lines, and Chrissie has adapted her methods to account for this. She also has to keep active, attending dance and singing classes to keep her body and voice from rusting!
Bijou is a portrait of an older woman who in a time when there was no assistance for aged people, had to fend for herself. Her life is unravelled before us, and we see how she has had to reinvent herself, relying on her own resources, when the so-called security of marriage was not a continuum for her. Chrissie has greatly enjoyed creating this character, based on a real woman who lived in Paris in the 19th and 20th centuries. One of the most stimulating aspects of creating this new show is the collaboration with other artists, to form a team.
Theatre and music are two of the arenas where older and younger artists can collaborate creatively, and the age divisions mean nothing, as the end result is the main goal. Enjoyment is a very big part of the experience; the joy of working together, the joy of seeing the work come to a fruition.
Chrissie Shaw enthusiastically invites members of U3A to see this show: Bijou, a cabaret-style show featuring an older performer and an older character!