Performance Venue: Experimental Theatre, Guangzhou Opera House
* Performance duration 50 mins
* Recommended age: 7+
* Performed and sang in French with Chinese subtitles
The brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm spent years gathering the tales and legends of northern Europe, collecting several dozen folk tales and countless different versions, even sometimes changing the story so as to spare bourgeois sensibilities. Olivier Py found in their work the material for plays that would allow him to show young children the mysteries and conventions of “real” theatre, without ever talking down to them.
The Girl, the Devil and the Mill is based on The Girl Without Hands, keeping the same basic narrative structure. It is the story of a naïve father who makes a deal with the devil without realising that it is his daughter he is sacrificing, and who ends up cutting both her hands out of fear of the devil’s revenge. But the young girl flees and begins a journey fraught with perils and chance encounters, with a gardener or with a prince, but also with sleep and waiting. All those ordeals, all those encounters, all those necessary steps before possibly finding happiness allow Olivier Py to bring up numerous questions children often ask themselves without daring to talk about them: questions about death, the devil, love, war, memory, about the relationship between a child and his or her parents… An initiation journey that is never sentimental, The Girl, the Devil and the Mill is also a musical that speaks to the child in every one of us.
Very simple by design, it oscillates between naivety and gravity, and ends with a ray of hope.