Monday, 7 July 2014

Kermesse - a School Fête, Normandy Style

Posted by Rosie

Last Sunday was Ben's school Kermesse.  The word is derived from 2 Dutch words for church and mass but has now come to mean various festivals including the equivalent of a UK school fête.  However a Kermesse is nothing at all like a school fête I had ever been to before coming to France.

In previous years the Kermesse has taken the following form for us:

  • Arrive at the allotted time of 12 noon
  • Realise no-one else is there yet and hang around
  • Head home when you remember you have forgotten that you need to bring plates and cutlery etc to eat your meal
  • Eat a meat heavy BBQ
  • Hang around waiting for something to happen (there *may* be a rather bad magician to entertain you in this interlude)
  • Watch a "spectacle" put on by all the children - usually dancing or singing
  • Buy tickets so boys can play games (catch the duck, knock over the tins, football goal game etc)
  • Watch boys win tickets of different colours
  • Watch boys swap tickets of different colours for generally rather naff prizes.
  • Head home wondering what that was really all about and where was the cake stall?


Ben le Docteur
This year however things were different!  The "spectacle" was BEFORE the meal and included a theatre production by Ben's class.  I think this was to try and get more parents to come for the meal which in fairness can raise a lot of money for the PTA but had seen numbers diminish over the last few years.  It worked and many more people than before watched the "spectacle" and then tucked into the meal this year.  Oh and yes, once again we forgot our plates but luckily we had ordered sausage in a baguette and chips that came in a tray so we were OK!

I have to say as non-native French speakers who were rather near the back of the audience we did find the theatre a bit difficult to understand.  However that was in no way due to the enthusiasm of the children who really did put a lot of effort into it.  Ben and his best friend Baptiste were joint narrators and did a sterling job with Ben, especially, throwing his voice so even we could hear him!  Ben was also the doctor in a sketch about a boy who kept falling over when in fact he was not ill but has put both legs down one leg of his trousers!  It was Ben's first time on stage and he loved it!  No wonder he has said that when he gets to collège next year he wants to join the theatre group and being an actor is on the list of things he wants to be when he grows up. 

Linking up Ben's stage debut with Magic Moments over at Jaime Oliver's Madhouse.  Have you got a magic Moment to tell from the last week?  If so why not link up or tell us about it here.

18 comments :

  1. That's really lovely. It's always interesting to read about cultural differences and it's fantastic that Ben did so well in the school play :)

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    1. Thank you Sarah - we were worried he was going to be really nervous when in fact he was in his element!

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  2. It's lovely to watch children perform in a play etc and it sounds like you are all enjoying life in France x

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    1. As with anything in life it is not without it's down moments but this was definitely not one of those!

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  3. What a wonderful challenge for your son. I do admire you both to be able to understand French. I speak a second language too--Australian. ;-)

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    1. LOL - I have to say though, both boys speak far better than I do ... lucky devils ;)

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  4. Rosie, I think you mean Ben projected his voice, throwing is when a voice seems to come from a different place. Bet he was great, I can just imagine him on stage! Jx

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    1. Oh yes - I think I do mean projected - oops It was great to him him so confident in front of so many people and able to "project" his voice :)

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  5. That must have been so much fun to see your son up there-well done Ben!

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  6. oh wow go Ben!! what a super job!

    thanks for linking up my lovely to #MagicMoments

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  7. I love school plays, sounds like Ben did a great job.

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    1. It was fun to watch even if we did not understand all of it.

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  8. Haha, a good old Kermesse! I have learnt something here (didn't know where the word originated from). Well done to Ben for his little bit of acting. Mel #MagicMoments

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