MORE ABOUT THE MARIONETTES
ANOTHER word about the marionettes. Last June a young secular priest from Ghent came to me here in Hampstead to tell me about Bradt Barth and her marionettes. She is Swiss, but her Company is mainly Belgian, and they tour -Europe in a .lorry to stage their lovely puppet play "The Joys and Sorrows of Our Lady". They had already received an invitation to play twice in the Tower Theatre, Canonbury Place, Islington, but could not afford to cross the Channel with their lorry unless other engagements were forthcoming to cover the expense.
Tr o happened that I was in ▪ Bruges in 'July for the convert week and was able to visit Ghent myself. In a small hack room I sat with four other English people to watch Our Lady on the puppet stage. Puppets have never been an attraction to me, and on this occasion I feared that they would prove too flippant for a sacred subject. Not at all. I myself was deeply moved and one or two of my companions were near to tears. Later I met the Benedictine Fathers of the Abbey of St. Andrew who were not ashamed to Say that the full performance at the Abbey had been an outstanding spiritual experience. The selfsacrifice of the company impressed me almost as much as the mime. They travel in great discomfort, squashed 12 abreast along with scenery and puppets in an enormous van. They live poorly and out of tins. With two performances a day they hang in torturous positions for four hours a day. Nor do they make. any great profit; their performances in England will probably fail to cover the costs of the tour. So much good will and much skill seemed to demand a suitable reaction on our part and I promised, perhaps rashly. to try to arrange it tour for them.
IT has been encouraging to nnd so much good will on this side of the Channel, and many kind people have come forward to organise performances here. L'Equipe de Notre Dame de In Belle Verriere opens at the lower Theatre, Canonbury Place, on November 25 at 7,45 p.m. The Belgian Ambassador and his wife wilt be present for this performance. On November 26the company moves to Acton Town Hall for a show at 8 p.m. On November 27 at 8 p.m. they are at St. Mary's Convent, Litzjohn'e Avenue, and next day they go to St. Bernard's Convent, Slough, for two performances. On November 29 they go to the Ursuline Convent, Ilford, and on December 2 fall their laegest London performances. at 2.30 pen. and 7.30 p.m. at Sr. Pancras Town Hale On December 3 there is a show at the Streatham Baths. Then the bus moves on to Oxford for one performance at the Playhouse and shows in Birmingham, Coventry, and Stafford on the way to Liverpool and Preston. It has been a pleasure to sponsor such an expci intent ohich honours Our Lady and gives a delightful company of young Belgian students the chance to exhibit their skill. 'they arc deeply touched, as 1 am, by the generosity of so many English patrons, and now we must Wait a month in hope of support from enormous crowds.
Vespers in English
IN the rush of marionettes and with Fr. Duval in the offing. I forgot to call attention to a memorable effort in honour of Our Lady done by Fr. Clifford Howell. Fr. Howell's Compline in English proved an outstanding success. Many schools and organisations tried it and agreed on its excellence. Now has appeared an English version of the Vespers of Our Lady for the same price, is. (9d. each for orders of 50 or more), and from the some address: Whitegate Publications, Chelworth, IvIalmesbury, Wilts. At first sight Vespers is more difficult with its five psalms. In practice it proves every bit as easy to learn and just as attractive to sing. It has the added advantage that it is more directly concerned with the glories of the Mother of God. Schools may well like to attempt the new version on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The production is excellent with charming illustrations to explain the various parts of the office.