Short summary - Myrrhine - André Maurois

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - Myrrhine
André Maurois

Micro-narration: A humorous story about the creation of a masterpiece of French drama.
France, 30s of the XX century. The poet Christian Menetrie later became a successful playwright, helped by his ambitious and ambitious wife Claire. She offered his poems to the theater, and they soon began to stage them.
The poet sympathized with the actor Leon Laurent, an exceptionally educated person, alien to narcissism, who disinterestedly loved the theater.
Everything he loved in art was really worthy of love, but this was not enough: he knew and understood the most complex and unpopular works.
The poet and actor were shy people and would never have met if it hadn't been for Claire. She introduced Laurent to the circle of their friends, and the heroes immediately became friends, because they found out that their views on art coincide.
Laurent asked a friend to write a play for him on any subject, and he would stage it and glorify the name of the author. Menetrie wanted to "draw the attention of the French to the frank plans of the madmen ruling Germany." The heroes agreed that their play will not be modern, but historical, about Greece during the time of Philip the Great, who conquered small Greek city-states one by one. This will be a warning play for Europe. And Laurent will play the role of Demosthenes, warning Greece about the danger. Until the morning, Menetrie and Claire worked out the plot of the future masterpiece.
A month later, the play was completed, read at the theater and enthusiastically accepted. But it seemed to the playwright that Laurent was not completely satisfied with something. The dubious Ménétrier consulted with Claire, and his wife opened his eyes: the play lacks a role for the young mistress of the actor Helene Messier, a comedian. Clever Claire talked to the actor and found out his concern: "If I am busy in the theater every night, she will spend time with other men, and, I confess, I will lose my peace ...".
At first, the playwright did not even want to hear about the female role in a political drama, but Laurent seemed to grow more and more cold towards the new play, and his wife continued to admonish.
Thus the image of Myrrina was born. Creating it, Christian recalled at the same time some of Aristophanes' heroines, witty and cynical women, and Marivaux's coquettes ... From this paradoxical combination ... an original and captivating image was born.
Ellen began rehearsals.
Soon Laurent hinted to Claire that, for various reasons, he would like to see Myrrina in all acts, that is, to enlarge her role. Enraged by attempts to interfere in his work, the playwright became nervous and angry, but gave up for the sake of a common cause. The expanded "role of Mirrina ... became one of the main roles of the play."
The premiere of the play "Philip" was sold out, delighting the audience. Ellen Messier was especially admired as the courtesan Myrrina. Some rightly suspected that the female image was born thanks to the playwright's wife, but she denied any interference. Be that as it may, the play "Philippe" laid the foundation for a new French theater and became a cult.
Years passed, the play was successfully performed on the stage of Laurent's theater. Menetrie died, the widow became the heir to his work. When Ellen, who became famous, left her patron and married a Hollywood director, deceived Laurent turned to Claire with a request to delete the role of Myrrina from the play. But she refused. Even the actor's hints that they knew well with her how the role in the play appeared did not help. “I don’t want any rework in my husband’s play. One should not separate what Christian has connected ... ", - answered the widow," and Myrrina, a child of necessity and inspiration, continued her triumphal march through the stages of the world. "