CLIVE FRANCIS REMEMBERS
I discovered how to play Marcel Blanchard completely by accident. Originally Malcolm McDowell had been cast in this role and I would imagine him too being physically wrong. I spent the first three weeks of rehearsals agonizing over how to capture this character until I came across, quite by chance, some photos of the original Comédie-Française production. Here Marcel was presented as a small, pinched, almost tadpole like creature, not at all the good-looking gallant, as I had been rehearsing him. Now it all made sense. I discarded the costume, the earlier performance, and with barely a week to go, dived in and created something completely different. The result was brave but mad, as it could have been perceived as a caricatured disaster, but my guts told me that I was on the right tracks within the true concept of French farce. Luckily I was right.