You can't have a production of brilliance without the odd nervous breakdown.
The Count, better known as Tiger, is famous for his spectacular parties. In three days' time, in his elegant French château, his guests are to be treated to an evening of amateur dramatics, complete with lavish Louis XV costumes. The glamorous cast includes Tiger's mistress, his wife, her lover, and Lucile, the beautiful young governess who looks after the château's twelve resident orphans.
But as soon as rehearsals begin it's clear that this eighteenth-century play will unleash just as much passion, shock and intrigue off stage as it will on. Soon it's hard to know when the scheming twentieth-century cast are acting and when they're not.
Written in 1950, Anouilh's savagely funny and devilishly clever comedy is a searing exposure of the characters we adopt, the truths we conceal and the secret roles we most passionately want to play. At its heart is a profound question: what is performance, and why do we need it?
Beginning in 1966 with The Fighting Cock, Chichester has an impressive tradition of bringing the great works of legendary playwright Jean Anouilh to the British stage with productions including Dear Antoine (1971), Eurydice (1990), Wild Orchids (2002) and The Waltz of the Toreadors (2007).
This twentieth-century classic is presented in a celebrated translation by Jeremy Sams who also directs. One of the key translators of European drama, Sams is also a highly respected director with credits including The Sound of Music in the West End and Noises Off at the National Theatre, and The Water Babies at Chichester (2003).
Listen to Jeremy Sams in conversation with Kate Mosse about the production