I’ve been remiss about not posting anything about the Pierre Capretz memorial service that took place at the Battell Chapel at Yale University on Saturday, October 11. I was present at the event and participated. The other speakers on the schedule were Barry Lydgate, Béatrice Abetti, Maurice Samuels, Suzanne Boorsch, and Brian Reilly. All the others had known Pierre Capretz well. I had met him only briefly at the 2011 Reunion. But with the impact he has made on my life via French In Action, I wasn’t at a loss for words and was grateful to have been included. I felt I was there to represent the hundreds of thousands Pierre touched through his magnum opus.
Luckily, thanks to the appearance of a surprise guest, I wasn’t the last speaker, as shown on the schedule copied below. Charles Mayer was with us and gave a heartfelt and poetic tribute to the man who cast him as Robert. (Afterwards at the reception at the Graduate Club, Charles shared some memories of that experience.) We can’t imagine French in Action without Charles Mayer as Robert, Valérie Allain as Mireille and of course it never would have existed without Pierre Capretz.
In my remarks, I reflected on Pierre Capretz the myth-maker, Pierre Capretz the « sage of the human condition » and Pierre Capretz the talented actor. I played some of my favorite clips of Pierre from FIA (unfortunately I’m unable to post videos on this blog). In between speakers there were musical selections that accompanied a slide show of photos from Pierre’s life including many splendid ones from his childhood. The entire event was recorded, although I do not know when or if it will be available to be seen. I will of course post something here if it is.
It was lovely to see many of the folks I had met four years ago at the reunion, including Sylvie Mathé, Pierre’s partner of many decades, as well as to meet some others for the first time, including Pierre’s son.
Sylvie passed along to me a number of great photos of Pierre she wished me to share with you, many of them taken by Sylvie herself. (Pierre photographed well and Sylvie is a talented photographer: she took the stills you’re probably familiar with of Mireille and Robert used in FIA.) They are posted below scans of the leaflet and invitation for the service.
As I said in my remarks, there is a timeless quality about French in Action and in a very real sense Pierre Capretz remains with us.