Sunday, August 14, 2005

a night with the caped crusaders

Earlier this week, Doc invited us to join her in Langres, a medieval fortified town about an hour southeast by autoroute, for checking out La Compagnie des Hallebardiers de Langres. We were not quite sure what to expect, though we had the vague idea that it was some kind of show about the history of Langres.

After a bite to eat downtown, we headed toward the College Diderot for the presentation. There we found the courtyard packed, and everyone was wearing capes. Yeah, you read that right, capes. Black ones and red ones and maroon ones. After a few minutes of confusion, we learned that our 12 euros weren't going towards just any old show; those who arrive early are able to choose from three different walking tours of Langres, accompanied by three different acting troupes, designated by color. Since we were among the last to arrive, we didn't have any choice but to join the black-capes, and I'm not sorry we did.

After a couple of ancient guns fired to mark the beginning of the evening, the actors burst forth from inside the college, rounded us up by color, and we were off. After a brief presentation from our group (we got the very silly "modern" group; I know there was a "belle epoque" group and I don't remember what the third group was) we were off and running through the town. I have to confess that they spoke so quickly (and in some cases, with affected speech impediments for comedy) that I didn't understand most of what they said. I didn't realize my French was slipping so bad - happily school starts back in a couple of weeks. That being said, my favorite tableau was at the Renaissance house, where we stood outside and the troupe used the windows to appear and tell the story of allowing tourists to visit the stately home, to very silly results. As we walked from place to place, the actors kept us laughing and bouncing around by teaching us a song about how we love being tourists in Langres, or playing polka music and dancing through the town. Afterwards, we went back to the College Diderot courtyard to enjoy a free beverage.

If you are looking for something to do before the end of the month, and visiting Langres is not too far away to consider for a day or overnight trip, I highly recommend this. Shows are every Thursday, Friday and Saturday in August, and begin at 9:00pm (though I recommend getting there early for choosing your tour/cape).

Once again, I'm sorry I don't have pictures to show you, as they are still trapped in my old-school camera, so you'll just have to take my word for it. Good times!

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