One act comedy in prose set in Bourgenville (near Paris). A wealthy peasant and wine-grower (and heavy drinker) named Lucas has engaged his niece, Claudine, to a tax collector in order to receive a reduced tax rate. Eraste, a noble young Parisian, has noticed Claudine when she and her aunt come to Paris for her trousseau. Eraste and his servant follow the girl to her home in Bourgenville, disguise themselves as peasants to be around the girl, and volunteer to help with the grape harvest. Lucas’ wife develops feelings for Eraste, which makes Lucas fear that he will be a cuckold. Eraste then proposes to Claudine, who is certainly more attracted to him than the dull tax collector. Lucas has to consent to the marriage for fear that his wife will run off with Eraste. Lucas' wife has the last laugh as she makes her husband promise to give up drinking.
The play was completed on October 1, 1691, too late for performance during the vintage season. Like l'Opera de village, this is a comedy vaudeville with much patois of peasant customs and speech. Charming and light, the play was given 17 times in 1694 and twice the next year. The play had music by Grandval (not published in the libretto).
Florent Carton Dancour (known as Sieur d’Ancourt) (1661-1725) was born at Fontainebleau to a wealthy family and trained as a lawyer. Dancourt married an actress, Francois Lenoir de la Thorilliere, then devoted himself to the theatre, winning great acclaim as an actor, especially as Alceste in Moliere's Le Misanthrope. Turning to playwrighting, his plays concern problems of the impoverished nobility and the social climbing middle classes. He also, as in Les vendanges, depicts the loves and intrigues of village life. He wrote over sixty comedies and ballets. Vanbrugh’s The Confederacy is adapted from Dancourt's Les bourgeoises a la mode.
References: Garreau, Joseph [article on Dancourt] in MacGraw Hills encyclopedia of world drama Vol. II, Stanley Hochman (Ed) (1984); Lancaster (French 17th, IV).
OCLC: only MH in the U.S. (Inventory #: 844)