1953: Play in Sercquiais

April 4th, 2017

Jèrriais Logo

1953: Play in Sercquiais

Office du Jerriaishistory, Jersey Evening Post, Minority Languages, Sark, theatre

Un rapport d’1953 sus la Gâzette du Sé d’eune pièche dé thiâtre en Sèrtchais:

“Never Have I Heard Such Natural Merriment”
Sark’s Successful Concert

Students of Channel Island patois should have been present at the grand concert given by Sark’s Church Concert Party last Wednesday evening, if only to see and hear the patois play “Le Jour de Naissance”, an entirely unscripted play delivered in Sark patois by well-tried and experienced Sark players.

Period costumes were worn; the hall was in darkness, save for an old oil lamp which seemed to give a fgreat deal of trouble on the stage. Impromptu conversation never lagged as the killing of the old sow was discussed and gossip in general.

The meeting of the Sercquiais in the play was an occasion to celebrate the 99th birthday of old Henri, played by Mr. Clifford Vibert. His son Albert (Eugene Baker), an Army officer, returns home after 17 years in America, and brings with him an American wife (Georgina Guille), who does not understand a word of French. To old Henri they bring a portable radio, a contraption he has never seen before and which scares him out of his wits; to old Putti (Deputy Harold de Carteret) they bring a nylon nightdress which she cannot make head or tail of and which drew from the audience rounds of applause as old Putti tries it for size and then observes that she would sooner have the old flannelette.

Deputy John Guille as Pierre produces a demi-john of cider and to the tune of the old accordion played by Albert, they end the party with old time dances. The back-chat of Bessie Mitchell as Jane and Lilian Baker as Betsy in a patois which only Sark people understand, evoked roars of laughter.

The party having ended, Tenant Herbert Baker as Jean, lights the old lantern and all go home. There are not nearly enough of these patois plays in the islands: one of the beauties of the patois play is that remarks can be made which would sound most imprudent in English.


Evening Post 5/12/1953