Letter by Alan Riding  :  May 27, 2014

photo de Alan Riding

... and the Show went on
by Alan Riding
Duckworth Overlook

translated by linda,webmaster

My dear friends

Thank you is to say little about how I felt last night before your effort, your talent, your generosity. I would add admiration, surprise, humility and gratitude for all that I have learned in recent days that art always so mysterious and distant for me. Attending rehearsals was a real privilege. You know how to combine the serious with the light was still a revelation.

I realized in recent years writing a piece for the theater is the equivalent of entering a long tunnel. I would like to think that in these two emotional hours last night we saw a light that will allow us to continue this adventure until the outcome we desire.

Hence, la lucha continues !

my friendship,  

 « Chez Florence »

Florence Gould a inspiré cette pièce. Belle et riche Américaine, elle tient un salon littéraire à Paris sous l’occupation allemande. Ce salon attire les figures intellectuelles de l’époque : Jean Cocteau, Marcel Jouhandeau, Colette, Jean Paulhan et le romancier allemand Ernst Jünger. On apprend que certains d’entre eux sont des collaborateurs et d’autres des résistants. Dans le même temps, Florence entretient une liaison secrète avec un officier de la Luftwaffe. À la Libération, Florence Gould est soumise à un interrogatoire par les nouvelles autorités françaises sur son comportement pendant la guerre.

Alan Riding est un auteur et journaliste britannique, qui a travaillé successivement pour Reuters, The Financial Times et The New York Times. Une grande partie de sa carrière fut consacrée aux affaires politiques et économiques, mais pendant les douze années précédant son départ du New York Times en 2007, il fut correspondant culturel pour l’Europe. Son dernier livre, Et la fête continue : La vie culturelle à Paris sous l’Occupation (Plon), a inspiré cette pièce.

Cyrielle Clair qui a une carrière cinématographique française et internationale (Le Professionnel, Triple Agent, Code Name Emerald, Sword of the Valiant…), est aussi très présente sur les scènes de théâtre, où elle a interprété, entre autres, Hélène dans La Guerre de Troie n’aura pas lieu de Jean Giraudoux, Linda dans la pièce de Woody Allen Une aspirine pour deux, Donata Genzi dans Se Trouver de Pirandello et plus récemment Lady Chiltern dans Un mari idéal de Oscar Wilde et Ninon dans Ninon, Lenclos ou la liberté d’Hyppolyte Wouters. Dans Chez Florence, elle incarne Florence Gould, le pivot de la pièce.


L’Université Populaire du Théâtre au Théâtre 14, Paris 2015

Florence Gould with her lover Colonel Ludwig Vogel

Murder « chez Florence » ?


CCU : Brussels, Belgium 2015


text : Centre Culturel d'Uccle
translated by linda, webmaster

In Paris every week throughout the occupation, the American billionaire Florence Gould invited to her home for lunch, German writers, collaborators, resistance fighters and many personalities of the literary and artistic world. But what was really going on during those famous Thursday lunches? How far would the ambiguity go in their relationships with each other and their respective thoughts? To enlighten us, the play is set at the table of Florence Gould (played by Cyrielle Clair), the prominent German writer Ernst Jünger, officer and hero of World War 1, Jean Paulhan, Marcel Jouhandeau, Colette and Jean Cocteau in 1942, 1943 and 1944. How did they see each other's positions and how did they evolve over time, events and their meetings?


For director Jean-Claude Idée, all text, be it a political speech, an historical novel or even a collection of poetry, can support a drama that generates meaning, raises questions, prompts exchanges and philosophical debate. Giving the text into debate in a theatrical form makes it more accessible and offers genuine diversity of opinions through the different characters represented. Specifically, the itinerant lessons begin with some background, followed by the representation of selected texts and a debate framed by a specialist and a mediator. It is impressive to see how viewers have things to say after a play. It's very rewarding. And that establishes social ties, explains Jean-Claude Idée.

Espace Pierre Cardin

The Cast on stage May 2014...

director of Lecture.................  Jean-Claude Idée
Florence Gould.......................  Cyrielle Clair
Jean Cocteau.........................   Frédéric Almaviva
Marcel Jouhandeau ................  Philippe Boucheny
Colonel Ludwig Vogel.............  Gérard Chambre
Jean Paulhan.........................  Emmanuel Dechartre
Colette .................................  Sophie Demmler
Ernst Jünger..........................  Vincent Gauthier
The Investigator....................  Xavier Simonin

The Story...

text : Alan Riding

Under the Occupation,Florence Gould, a wealthy American patron, continues to receive in her house literary figures of men and women, some close to the Resistance, others in favour of Collaboration. Ernst Jünger is also part of the regulars ...

Espace Pierre Cardin - May 26 2014



Cyrielle Clair (Florence Gould)
 and Gérard Chambre
in the role of
Colonel Ludwig Vogel
of the Luftwaffe
(aerial warfare branch of the German Wehrmacht)


During the rehearsals...
photos © Alan Riding


Cyrielle Clair (Florence)
with Jean-Claude Idée,director of the play, during the rehearsals


Cyrielle Clair (Florence) with Emmanuel Dechartre (Jean Paulhan) during the rehearsals


Cyrielle Clair (Florence) with Gérard Chambre (Colonel Ludwig Vogel)  during the rehearsals


Article by : Dominique Christophe
translated by linda,webmaster


Inspired by a true story, « Chez Florence » ( at Florence) is a play that illustrates how, even at the worst times, the line that separates between good and evil so often remains vague and fluctuating.

In Paris occupied by the Germans since 1940, Florence Gould, beautiful and rich Franco-American heiress, wife of an American tycoon, holds a literary salon with its « day » on Thursday, where come to breakfast on her table renowned writers, who are above all  Parisian figures, often with conflicting views: Jean Cocteau, close to certain Germans; Marcel Jouhandeau, renowned novelist favorable to the Occupier and notoriously anti-Semitic; Colette, world famous novelist, whose husband is Jewish; Jean Paulhan, eminent literary critic who chose resistance; also Ernst Jünger essayist and novelist, officer of the Wehrmacht, stationed in Paris. Plus, amiably separated from her husband, Florence maintains a secret liaison with a Luftwaffe officer, Ludwig Vogel, nicknamed Luddie.


Article by Clarice Darling

translated by linda,webmaster

Alan Riding
, New York Times correspondent, has worked for over ten years on this book and gives us an extremely thorough documentary, well furnished , and most importantly, well written which will take you back to the heart of the dark years. Formidably documented, this essay traces the evolution of artists throughout the period of the Occupation. Nobody is forgotten. Popular singers or great voices of the Opera, poets, philosophers, writers, journalists, painters, sculptors, photographers, dancers, actors and directors, film producers... Everyone. In chronological form, Alan Riding gives us a complete picture of the cultural life, with the help of Danielle Darrieux, Stéphane Hessel, Micheline Presle, Françoise Gilot, Pierre Boulez and many others.

The strong point of Riding is, that he does not take sides. He speaks well of the French artists and likewise of the important German officers who have contributed or not to the French culture : The ambassador Otto Abetz, Gerhard Heller, etc. He talks of friendship despite political differences (Marcel Jouhandeau and Jean Paulhan, Jean Cocteau and Arno Breker) he dug into all the diaries available (Ernst Jünger, Galtier-Boissiere, Jean Guéhenno ...), he reconstructed for each person his chronology during the five years of war.

If you do need a book to remember the cultural life during the Occupation, « And the Show went on » is the one. Provided, well written, remarkable. Really.


Text from the English hardcover edition

On June 14, 1940, German tanks rolled into a silent and deserted Paris. Eight days later, a humbled France accepted defeat along with foreign occupation. The only consolation was that, while the swastika now flew over Paris, the City of Light was undamaged. Soon, a peculiar kind of normality returned as theaters, opera houses, movie theaters and nightclubs reopened for business. This suited both conquerors and vanquished: the Germans wanted Parisians to be distracted, while the French could show that, culturally at least, they had not been defeated. Over the next four years, the artistic life of Paris flourished with as much verve as in peacetime. Only a handful of writers and intellectuals asked if this was an appropriate response to the horrors of a world war.

Alan Riding introduces us to a panoply of writers, painters, composers, actors and dancers who kept working throughout the occupation. Maurice Chevalier and Édith Piaf sang before French and German audiences. Pablo Picasso, whose art was officially banned, continued to paint in his Left Bank apartment. More than two hundred new French films were made, including Marcel Carné’s classic, Les Enfants du paradis. Thousands of books were published by authors as different as the virulent anti-Semite Céline and the anti-Nazis Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre. Meanwhile, as Jewish performers and creators were being forced to flee or, as was Irène Némirovsky, deported to death camps, a small number of artists and intellectuals joined the resistance.

Throughout this penetrating and unsettling account, Riding keeps alive the quandaries facing many of these artists. Were they “saving” French culture by working? Were they betraying France if they performed before German soldiers or made movies with Nazi approval? Was it the intellectual’s duty to take up arms against the occupier? Then, after Paris was liberated, what was deserving punishment for artists who had committed “intelligence with the enemy”?

By throwing light on this critical moment of twentieth-century European cultural history, And the Show Went On focuses anew on whether artists and writers have a special duty to show moral leadership in moments of national trauma.


Dear Alan
thank you very much for your precious help
linda, webmaster

Léo Marjane chante:
je suis seule ce soir (1941)


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