Viviane

Givens

Name: Viviane Duverger

Age: 25

I am the fiancé of Bois-D’Enghien, soon to be married. The wedding is called off when it is revealed he is the lover of Lucette, but that information only heightens my adoration of him, and I demand the engagement is not called off.

My mother is Madame Duverger and my father is Henry Duverger. I love my mother; we are very close, although we have differing opinions on love. She forced me into my engagement with Bois, and has a very strange relationship with him. Sometimes I can’t help but feel like she is living through me. I know she wants what she thinks is best for me, but I would prefer to live an exciting life full of romance and lust versus a dull marriage with children. I don’t see my father all that much, although I often turn to him to convince my mother to see things my way. He is very easy to manipulate.

I am an only child. I have no children, and I don’t really want any at the moment. I figure I can have children whenever I like, married or not married. And as of now, children seem like nothing but a burden. I grew up inside, much to my distaste. Often confined to the house by my mother’s requests, I spend unbearable amounts of time with my governess and nursemaid. This has contributed to my desire to experience something unconventional in my relationships; I want to experience a little more thrill in life! Growing up my mother was always watchful of me, and I have never been left unprotected. Because my mother never supplied me with the information I needed growing up, I turned to other sources- I am far less innocent then my mother perceives me to be.

I am prepping for my wedding when I begin the play. My dress is being tailored, and I look absolutely stunning. As discontent as I am with the wedding arrangements, I can’t help but soak up the attention I am getting. My mother has done a wonderful job with the details. Growing up I attended school, which I just finished, as I am 18. I have learned many valuable things in school, and often take different things away from the lessons then other girls (such as the history of Louis the 14th love life).

I have grown up with a number of suitors courting me. Of course, the ones my mother likes are never really my “type”. They are all dull, virgin mama’s boys-just like my fiancé Bois-D’Enghein. They will do anything for me, nothing exciting or enticing about them. I try to explain to my mother, if no other woman is falling after them, why should I?

I do not have a job; my job is to be married off to the gentleman of my mother’s choice. My mother’s expectations for me are very clear and simple. She wants me to marry off to a nice handsome boy, and lead a drama free high society lifestyle while raising my family (more like having the governess raise my family for me). You would think they were simple expectations, and easy to fulfill, but I myself am having trouble living up to her boring pre-conceived notions. I enjoy singing and reading.

Movement and Voice:

I am very high status, so I am very well educated. I have completed schooling (which was rare for this time period). I studied history, art, and literature. Because of this I speak very well, always watching myself when in a public situation (ensuring I have good pronunciation and am always grammatically correct). I think my walk changes when I am around mother versus when I am not. Around mother I am naturally a bit more stiff and contained, playing up my innocence, but the minute she leaves I automatically try and act more mature then I really am.

I am only 25. Because I am so young I think I has a higher pitched voice, although I do love to scandalize people and act more mature then I am (namely my mother). But I do have an air of innocence (or at least I want people to think I do), so I think I alter my voice a bit when playing up that innocence-and it gets higher then usual. I also think that because I am always in public situations that require a certain level of politeness, I speak very smoothly with a distinct rhythm. When I am having a personal moment on stage this may change, or when I am experiencing something out of the ordinary, because I naturally wont have that contrived politeness.

Relationships

Madame Duverger: I love my mother, I really do. But she can be a bit of a nuisance. She fails to understand me in a lot of instances, and for that she has set me up with Bois-d’Enghien. I know she wants the best for me, but I often think she has her own motives. I think she loves Bois more then me. At the same time, she has always given me nearly everything I have ever wanted (with the exception of the man of my choice), including a beautiful wedding and very privileged lifestyle-so I have to be grateful. Although growing up she had very tight reign over me, she has always had the best intentions-which I recognize. I can’t help but want to rebel though. She thinks I am far more innocent then I really am, and I often play into that game to get what I want.
i think i want to have you marry someone young and hadsome b/c i never had that not so much as i love him more (but if thats ur feelings totally ok) also think of me as one of those mothers who are trying sooooo hard to be hip and up to date which is why i get lucette b/c i think that you (as part of the younger generation) would like her not b/c i truly understand that aspect of art
Miss Betting**: Miss Betting is one of my best friends. She has grown up with me, so I have known her for my entire life. It is nice to have someone other than my mother around all the time. Although she is deaf and mute (a tactic employed by my mother to keep me “innocent”), I am able to communicate with her and we share lots of inside jokes and tease my mother without her knowing. I really love Miss Betting as if she were part of my family, and I could never do anything to hurt her.

Bois-d’Enghien: When I first meet Bois, I am unimpressed. I was excited when my mother told me about him, and even upon seeing him-as he is a very attractive young man. But the minute he opens his mouth, I just want to die. My mother eats up his virginal Joan of arc stories, and loves him more then I in the beginning. I was hoping for someone a bit more exciting, but I got stuck with a virgin mama’s boy instead. Not to mention he is embarrassing with all of his weird behavior (although I suppose it is a little cute). But as the play progresses, I find out Bois is not who he appears to be in front of my mother. The more scandal he ensues throughout act two, the more intrigued I am. By the end of act two, when I find him with Lucette, I am completely smitten. I have found the man of my dreams, and I will do anything to make him mine (despite my mothers new found hate for him…in fact, that makes it all the more appealing).

Fontanet: Fontanet has been around my entire life. He is like a brother to me, or an uncle. I feel completely comfortable in his presence, and he is one of the few people in the play I am comfortable with. Despite his breath, which a number of my girl friends tease him for (without his knowing), I consider him a very close friend, and I know he will always be there for me. I have learned to live with his breath, and I wouldn’t want to do anything to hurt him or offend him.

Lucette: She is fascinating! I can’t help but want to be her, with her tainted romantic history. She is walking scandal! If it weren’t for her being Bois lover, I probably would of never fallen in love with him.

Moment before: Act 1

Miss Betting is tailoring my wedding dress, and I have just bathed and gotten ready for my engagement party that evening. I have been in preparation with Miss Betting most of the day, as my mother has been out finding entertainment. My best friends had breakfast with me that morning, but we went our separate ways as I had to get ready, and they had to get ready as well (they are guests to my engagement party of course).

Moment After: Act 1

I love Bois-d’Enghein! I need to scheme up a way to get him back, as my mother is a complete train wreck and forbids me to ever see him again. Doesn’t take long for me to come up with an ingenious plan (with the help of my friends), where Miss Betting will escort me over in the morning to my “singing lesson”. This wedding will not be called off, regardless of what my mother thinks. I feel like I am in one of those scandalous drama filled books, and I love it.

Moment Before: Act 2

I feel bad lying to Miss Betting, she is so innocent. But I will do anything to get Bois, so I followed through with my plan and told her my singing lesson with professor Capoul was just up the street (where Bois lived). I am nervous, but I know everything will work out the way it should. I just need to tell Bois how I feel. I am really glad Miss Betting didn’t stick around for the engagement party!

Moment After: Act 2

I have won! Objective completed, I couldn’t be more thrilled. Bois and I are getting married after all.

Inspiration

I have chosen this picture of Napoleon because it represents a man that would fascinate Vivian. A french leader of the 1800's, Vivian would of learned about him in her history lessons. Napoleon, as many other leaders of the time, had a considerably scandalous love life. Often found writing love letters to his wife, while having many mistresses in other parts of the world, Napoleon is Vivian's ideal man. He was charismatic, powerful and rather good looking, all making him a cultural icon. His lifestyle is one that Vivian would love to partake in, full of excitement, scandal and secrets. This relates to Vivian's super objective, as she would love to have a man like this at her disposal.
napoleon.png
Nice picture. How can she carry a piece of this with her?

Love letter from Napoleon to Josephnie:

I wake filled with thoughts of you. Your portrait and the intoxicating evening which we spent yesterday have left my senses in turmoil.
Sweet incomparable Josephine, what a strange effect you have on my heart!
Are you angry?
Do I see you looking sad? Are you worried? …
My soul aches with sorrow, and there can be no rest for your lover; but is there still more in store for me when, yielding to the profound feelings which overwhelm me, I draw from your lips, from your heart a love which consumes me with fire? Ah! it was last night that I fully realized how false an image of you your portrait gives!
You are leaving at noon; I shall see you in three hours.
Until then, mio dolce amor, a thousand kisses; but give me none in return, for they set my blood on fire.

Bonaparte

CREATING THE REALITY OF THE TIME PERIOD: Write a letter to someone significant to your character about this time period.

Dear Amelie,

I met Bois-d'Enghein for the very first time today. I must admit plainly, he is not at all like we imagined. After months of preparation for this "special day," it was beyond disappointing. He is very easy on the eyes, and dresses well, and at first glance I thought this would be very promising. I found out very soon after I was wrong. The minute he opened his mouth, I knew he wasn't the man for me. He kept speaking of his "purity" and his "virtues", as if he were some sort of virginal goddess. The exact opposite of everything we hoped for Amelie! I wish I could tell you of some scandal that followed, something he whispered to me,or a brush of the hand- ANYTHING! But there was absolutely nothing Amelie, he did no more then gaze into my eyes like some lost puppy dog searching for a new owner. Pathetic. Of course, my mother has fallen head over heels for him. I don't see why she just doesn't marry him, seeing as she swoons every time he opens his mouth (the mouth that hasn't done the least of kiss another woman on the lips). And the whole meeting was just so cordial, so formal. I mean, it is to be expected of course, as I was meeting the man I would spend the rest of my life with (well, not if I have any say in it!). But he didn't even crack a joke, or make a sly comment. It seems that he has absolutely zero personality, he is just tall and lanky. All he has going for him is his "respectability", which mother says is the finest virtue. I am becoming bored just speaking of him, you are probably asleep on your desk drooling on this very letter. I suppose he is cute though…. maybe I can uncover some dirt on him before the wedding. He is coming over tomorrow afternoon (after our morning tea) before our engagement party. I can't help but feel he is hiding something, it is impossible for a man of his age to be so oblivious to "female relations." We will speak more of it tomorrow (as long as mamma isn't around).

Sincerely,
Viviane

Now write one after you start having suspicions about him or after the scandal in your house.

Dear Amelie,

You won't believe it! After you left for tea and Bois-d'Enghein came over, he began acting delightfully peculiar. At first I didn't think much of it, but I have to admit it was rather cute. He kept running about the house, saying very skeptical things. Always caught in surprise he was whenever my mother questioned him. I knew there was something he was hiding, especially when that nightclub singer Lucette Gautier arrived. She was acting as if they were the best of friends, and he as if he didn't know her. I knew there was history there, I could just tell by the way they interacted. Then he proceeded to tell my mother and I that we must not mention the word "fiance" in front of her or else she has fainting spells, and throws some sort of fit. Talk about scandalous! By this point, I was completely intrigued. All these strange characters in my house, it was like one of those books we used to read back in school. Sure enough, mama said the word "fiance" and she fell to the floor, shaking and trembling, in complete shock . One of the most frightening experiences I have ever witnessed, luckily her sister caught her (although it would of been much more fascinating if she hadn't)! All because mama said the word "fiance!" You can imagine my suspicion at this point, Amelie. Then , the most wonderful thing happened! We heard strange shouting from the hall, so naturally mother went pounding on the door. We all spill in and what do we see, none other then Lucette Gautier and Bois-d'Enghein on top of each other. Barely dressed! I tell you, it was like Christmas! I was overcome with love, Bois-d'Enghein is perfect for me after all! Of course, mama wasn't too pleased. Now I just need to find a way to get him back, I treated him so poorly before. I need to find a way to get to him and his absolutely scandalous reputation, and tell him how I really feel, regardless of what mama thinks is right for me. I will not let this high-demand man slip through my fingers! Will you help me Amelie? I am thinking that tomorrow, when Miss Betting takes me to my "singing lesson," I can really go to Bois-d'Enghein's apartment and profess my undying love for him!

Sincerely,
Viviane

EVALUATION:

1. How would you approach this role differently next time?

If I played Viviane again, I would make it very clear when she was playing up her innocence around Mama, versus when she was truly being herself. The fun thing about Viviane is she looks so innocent, but is really the opposite of innocent. I played Viviane a little naive, she understood scandal and wanted to be a part of one so badly, and I think that alone makes her naive. To me, Viviane's dream of marrying a man with a scandalous reputation was very childish, as even though I feel she understands "scandal," I think she likes the idea of it more then the actual act. That is why Bois-d'Enghein is so perfect for her, because although he did have a lover, he is by no means a bad man with no morals. I could of approached Viviane from a more literal standpoint, and given her more maturity and embraced her very strange romantic ideal as very serious dream, versus childish and naive. That would in turn affect her physicality, as she would be very different around Mama and Bois-d'Enghein.

2. What might you have incorporated earlier on?

I would of looked at my moments with Bois-d'Enghein earlier, and marked them more clearly in my script. That way I could incorporate those details earlier on in rehearsals, and overall they would of translated much better to the audience. I still feel like a few "moments" were rushed, or just not accounted for. Those moments are key though, because they set up the premise for our scene in Act three, and without a visible development of Vivianes relationship with Bois-d'Enghein the scene seems unrealistic and out of place.

3. What do you wish you had known earlier?

I wish I incorporated Viviane's young age and deceitfulness earlier on in the rehearsal process, especially in the beginning of act 2. I did not begin incorporating her youthful demeanor until later on in the rehearsals, and if I had been more aware of her young age earlier on I may have been able to create even more contrast between her innocent appearance, and very very not innocent mind. Viviane's young age gives her a lightheartedness, and ability to tease her mother, which was really fun to play with.

4. How was your level of commitment?

I sang in this show. I was very committed. I also felt I embraced Viviane's freakish dreams, regardless of how contrary they are to my own, which shocked a few people in the audience (including my parents). I was very focused during rehearsals, and tried to take every note to heart. With so much going on in the show, it was really important to be focused on stage and take direction.

5. How willing were you to take risk?

I could of taken more of a risk with Miss Betting and sign language, but I feel overall I was willing to take risks in this show. The fact that I did actually sing, on stage, regardless of how bad of a singer I am, is an example of my commitment to Viviane, as I was able to put the embarrassment aside for the greater purpose of the scene. Physically and vocally, I am sure I could of taken more risks and made Viviane an all around larger character, but overall I am very happy with the choices I made.

6. How well did you do all of the out-of-rehearsal work?

I completed all of the character building activities on time, and used class time when I was not rehearsing to do so. I tried to be creative in my journals, writing letters to my friends as well as finding love poems, to help me really better understand Viviane and the historical context of the show.

7. How complete is your Performance Journal?

I did not evaluate each show, but all of my other rehearsal journals are complete.

8. How did you grow as an actor?

For once, I was not narrating! I think this alone was a new experience, as I was able to interact with the other cast members, versus rely more on myself in monologue work. It was really fun to create relationships with other characters in the play, but challenging as well. So much goes on in this play, it is incredibly important to maintain a level of focus onstage-even if you seem like a bystander, and take the direction given to you (as things can easily get chaotic). Everyone plays a very key role in this show, no character is insignificant, and I think because of that I better learned how to collaborate with other actors.

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