Twenty three years ago, I was in the most enchanting, magical first ever English production of Le Grand Meaulnes. A translation of the beautiful French novel written by Alain Fournier. 1913 the last of the great romantics.
I was at The Young Vic Theatre. Joseph Fiennes played Meaulne, I played his cousin Marie-Louise. The play had an enchanting ether/surreal quality about it that only an intimate cast of youth, authentically passing through the intriguingly compelling portal of adolescence into adulthood, could ever evoke.
The company was extraordinary. A selection of auditioned youth, who had a burning passion for professional theatre. It was made up of children of world-famous actors, writers and high-profile people, along side everyday regular youth, (with no apparent obvious distinction between the two), which at the time went straight over my head. The youth theatre ran right along side the professional theatre, directors and staff interchanging between the two companies.
It was a wonderful and mysterious time of my life, where a liminal intense 2 years would become a permanent thread in my life-time. Of the many friendships forged there, some were to become dearest life-long friends. So I was absolutely in my element and delighted to happen upon this wonderful radio programme, which was so reminiscent of the poetic romantic period that we lived through (both on stage and in life) that rightly so, is poetically captured as if it were part of a dream. I should like to share a glimpse of this rapturous innocent sublime romantic ‘lost estate’ with you through. . .
Julian Barnes and Hermione Lee visit locations that inspired Henri Alain-Fournier’s work. Wonderful, evocative, romantic, marvelous and reminiscent.