Audio Book 2.jpgThe Foot of The Cross or
The Muzzle of a Gun

Written by
Ian Burton

Directed by
Julian May

The Cast
Nathaniel Parker..........Lucien Roubert/Pierre Bernac
Michael Pennington..... Francis Poulenc

First broadcast 1st August 1999 - BBC Radio 3

Review of Play
Broadcast as part of the BBC's 'Proms Feature' and to mark the centenary of Francis Poulenc's birth, this 45-minute play is the dramatisation of a series of recorded interviews for Swiss radio in the '50s and '60s.

Poulenc talks about defining events in his life, in particular what lead him to write his opera 'Dialogues des Carmelites'. Through flashbacks, interspersed by his music, we come to see how he fell hopelessly in love with Lucien Roubert and for the next six years suffered both elation and depression.

Review of Nat's Performance
Purely through listening to his voice, it's very easy to imagine Nat as the much younger and attractive gay lover who was the inspiration for an intense and moving work of music. Lucien Roubert was a travelling salesman who met the composer on a train from Marseilles to Paris in May of 1950.

Although Nat doesn't have very many lines at all, he puts so much into them; from Lucien having his curiosity aroused by this older man, to fascination by his status and the fine things it can buy, to being slightly bored but then needing the companionship of Poulenc.

When, in 1955 Lucien begins to suffer the effects of TB, Nat makes him sound very ill, coughing and breathing hard. Then as he's suffering from pleurisy and fever in the final stages of the disease, Nat portrays him as very frail and weak, barely able to speak so that, even with so few words to say, you become drawn in to his character.

Nat also plays (with even fewer words) Poulenc's oldest professional colleague and musical partner, Pierre Bernac, this with a deeper voice and sounding like a much older man.

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