Back in 2011, the Milanese choreographer Giorgio Madia was invited to produce his own modern version of La Fille Mal Gardée for a production at the Wroclaw Opera in Poland. Here’s how he described his approach to the task:
I try to be faithful to the culture of this piece. The audience cannot miss the input of different artists who made it a legend. I wanted to have a countryside feeling on stage but a very clean and modern look. One of the crucial elements in restaging a classic title is updating it for the audience who deserves a modern touch of modern times they live in. I asked the costume designer to combine the tradition of Polish folklore with Armani style.
The result was a very distinctive looking Fille, with every dancer dressed in gray in the first half, changing to a sunny yellow for the second.
And when the production opened on February 4, 2012, with Dariusz Raczycki as Simone and Paulina Woś as Lise, Fille fans were not disappointed. Madia kept all the highlights of the Ashton choreography, including, of course…
(Yes, even her panties are gray!)
If we want to see how Madia made the scene his own, we’ll have to widen the shot somewhat.
In Ashton’s version, the spanking is a private matter between mother and daughter, which is why it has to stop when Farmer Thomas walks into the yard. But in Madia’s choreography, nobody gets shooed offstage, not the friends, not even Lise’s boyfriend Colas… and she gets a good, sound spanking in front of all of them – and, by the looks of it, a vigorous and uninterrupted one!
What’s more, it’s just the same earlier on when Lise gets smacked:
The others are obviously appalled at what’s happening to their friend, but they are powerless to stop the onset of firm maternal justice!
The smacking also features in the trailer, though not, alas, the spanking:
Applause, please, for Giorgio Madia and his dancers!