October 29 ~ Only the Mediocre Jean Giraudoux Three Plays

"Only the mediocre are always at their best." ~ Jean Giraudoux


French playwright Jean Giraudoux (18821944) was born on this day in the village of Bellac, France. With passionate realism, his writing celebrated life's twists and paradoxes through farce, myth, and legends.

He once said: "If two people who love each other let a single instant wedge itself between them, it grows -- it becomes a month, a year; a century; it becomes too late."

Giraudoux was a war hero, awarded the Legion of Honor for his service in World War I. His experiences in battle colored his interpretation of life. "Those who weep recover more quickly than those who smile," he observed.

To deliver his message, he cleverly used his 15 plays, which included the modern versions of Greek myths in Tiger at the Gates (1935) and Electre (1937), the medieval German fairy tale Ondine (1939), and the satirical The Madwoman of Chaillot which was produced posthumously in 1945.

He said, "A man has only one way of being immortal on earth: he has to forget he is a mortal."

The mixture of fact with fantasy blurred the reality of his art and strengthened its message with a spirit of hope. As his Madwoman of Chaillot put it, "nothing is ever so wrong in this world that a sensible woman can't set it right in the course of an afternoon."

Rise above the norm.