What’s wrong with my name ?


Last month, I saw a rerun of the short musi­cal Par­adis­co (direct­ed by our beloved co-edi­tor) on French TV chan­nel Canal Plus (for your infor­ma­tion, more reruns on Canal Plus this month and soon on Canal Plus Bel­gium, North Africa, Poland and on Span­ish tele­vi­sion). Star­ring in this film are (among oth­ers) Jérôme Pradon, Antho­ny Rapp and Ann’So as a young woman called “Yvonne”!

That was the first time I real­ized that “Yvonne”, which is MY name, is start­ing to be quite a usu­al name in musi­cal the­atre. And all of these char­ac­ters are either whores or bitch­es. What a scary thought. Does your name deter­mine you per­son­al­i­ty? Would I sing on my bal­cony with my arms towards the sky if my name was Eva? Would I know how to yodel-e-yodel-e-yodel-e-eeh-ooh if my name was Maria? Yuk. I think I’ll stick to Yvonne. After all, musi­cal the­atre Yvonnes are not that bad.

In Par­adis­co, Yvonne is a gor­geous, sexy, sen­su­al, yet quite bitchy young woman. All these words can be used to describe me too. Espe­cial­ly “young”. We have a lot of oth­er things in com­mon. Just like me, the Par­adis­co Yvonne likes cham­pagne and her best friend is gay. Except mine looks more like Stan­ford Blatch from Sex & the City than Jerôme Pradon. Well, that’s life. You can’t always have it all.

In Miss Saigon, Yvonne is a bar­girl. Just like me she is Viet­namese, and just like me she likes her clothes to fit her per­fect­ly (“See my biki­ni, it’s just the right size”, she says). This girl is right. When you have a great der­rière, just show it. That’s how things work.

Les Demoi­selles de Rochefort prob­a­bly fea­tures the nicest Yvonne of all. The lady por­trayed by Danielle Dar­rieux in Jacques Demy’s film is sweet, she smiles a lot (that is some­thing I nev­er do) and all she cares about is mak­ing good French fries for her clients. She is also the moth­er of two twin daugh­ters that she had “by chance”. Not only she is nice but she also knows how to choose appro­pri­ate and del­i­cate words. I don’t relate to her at all.

Even Stephen Sond­heim has cre­at­ed an Yvonne, in his Sun­day In The Park With George. With some kind of bitch­i­ness, the Sun­day Yvonne crit­i­cizes Georges Seurat’s work and her first words are “Ooh… Oh dear. Oh my dear.” At least this one speaks like me. These are appro­pri­ate words for cer­tain works of art.

Last but not least, Green­bank, Gilbert and Duke wrote an operetta sim­ply called Yvonne. I don’t know any­thing about this work but how can you go wrong with an open­ing num­ber called “All the men are the same”. There is even a song that sums up my entire life : “It’s nicer to be naughty”. And it’s def­i­nite­ly more fun than yodel­ling in the Alps.