September 19, 2003
On Sunday, October 5, 2003, actress-playwright Susan Poulin will present her critically acclaimed one-woman play "Franco Fry (Or, Pardon My French!)" in a 1:00 p.m. matinee performance at UMFK's Fox Auditorium.
In "Franco Fry," native Mainer and Franco-American Poulin recounts her sometimes humorous, sometimes treacherous journey to reconnect with her Franco-American heritage and the French language. The play is presented in English, with occasional journeys into French.
Poulin, born in Jackman, spoke French until she was 3 years old. But after the family moved to southern Maine, they melted into the mainstream American culture of the 1950s and 60s.
When Poulin became an adult, she felt an "ache" inside. It persisted through college, a successful acting career, marrying actor/writer/artist/musician Gordon Carlisle, and authoring several successful one and two-person shows.
Poulin finally realized that the ache she felt was for the French she lost. In the play, she sings, "When I was young, I spoke the mother tongue...That was fine around the family...But once upon a time, I let a language slip away."
Poulin decided to try to reclaim her French and her culture, and "Franco Fry" is the story of that process. The ride is at times bumpy, at other times both funny and moving. She tries everything from immersion programs to hypnosis to try to find the French in her head.
She also sets out to learn about Franco-American heritage, tackling everything from her own family history to the inventor of "Franco-American Spaghetti".
The result is a warm-hearted, intimate look at Maine's Franco-American heritage and of the challenges of trying to reconnect to your roots.
The original songs (composed by Poulin's husband Gordon Carlisle) are catchy and well-executed. The play is enlivened by background music and sound effects by Carlisle.
The 1:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon matinee performance on October 5th is sponsored by UMFK's French Heritage Council and Le Club Français, with additional funding from the Maine Arts Commission and the Maine Humanities Council through the New Century program.
General admission is $2.00 and tickets will be available at the door. Refreshments and lively discussion will follow the play. For additional information, call Lisa Ornstein at 834-7536.