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.