"Le Bel Indifférent, originally written for and performed by Édith Piaf, tells the story of a singer’s relationship with her younger lover, Émile; first her waiting, and then her futile attempts to engage in conversation. This is a play for two actors, but Émile is only seen, never heard. Distant voices over the phone contrast with the bel indifférent’s silence; they make his infidelities and disregard for her increasingly clear, ultimately turning her hopeless devotion to fatal despair.
This double-bill presentation imagines a public life for Cocteau’s characters to counterpoint their private tragedy. Lee Hoiby’s short opera Bon Appétit! (with a libretto drawn verbatim from one of celebrity chef Julia Child’s TV shows) prefaces the Cocteau, so that we see the singer performing her one-woman comedy show, accompanied by Émile on the piano. Every night she caricatures the celebrity chef… but every night Émile disappears as she takes her bow, every night she returns home alone, and every night he comes back without a single word."
Tickets can be booked online via the Festival Box Office at Bloomsbury Theatre. Tickets can be purchased at the door on the day, subject to availability.