Polichinelle et la Mère Gigogne


16 pages

Polichinelle et la Mère Gigogne

| 1862 | Paris, France
Polichinelle, La Mère Gigogne, Niflanguille, Le Maquignon, Le Charcutier, Arlequin, Le Sorcier, Dix Poupons, Le Diable, Le Chien, Le Cochon, Le Cheval
Number of acts

This is Duranty's only play with the traditional character of Mother Gigogne. It is a rewriting of the traditional glove puppet scenarios, from which it takes the main episodes but puts them together in an original plot. Duranty accentuates the villainy of Polichinelle, who becomes as bad a husband and father as Punch, but who ends up being carried off by the Devil. The play was probably performed at the Puppet Theatre that Duranty directed in the Jardin des Tuileries, but no exact performance date is known.

Plot summary

A bad father and husband is punished

Polichinelle has married the rich mother Gigogne, but he beats her children or gives them away in payment of his own debts. Grigogne complains to his cousin Niflanguille and gives him his bag of money. Polichinelle takes it to buy a horse. But the Maquignon sells him a dangerous horse and steals the money bag. Niflanguille accuses Polichinelle of the theft; mother Gigogne wants to beat her husband, but it is Niflanguille who gets the blows. Gigogne promises her husband more money if he behaves like a father to his children. But as soon as a child refuses to eat, Polichinelle kills him and throws him out of the window. Gigogne wants to punish Polichinelle, so he kills her, Niflanguille and a magician. The surviving children attack Polichinelle who chases them away. The Devil arrives and takes Polichinelle away.

First performance

Paris, France,

Théâtre des marionnettes du jardin des Tuileries.

Publications and translations


Duranty, Théâtre des marionnettes du jardin des Tuileries, texte et composition des dessins par M. Duranty. Paris: MM. Dubuisson et Cie, Éditeurs-Libraires, 1862.

Modern edition

Louis Edmond Duranty, Théâtre des marionnettes. Arles: Actes Sud, 1995.

  • Louis Duranty, Merchant of blows-with-a-stick and other plays (English and French edition), english translation by Sean Keohane, Charlemagne Press (Canada) 2007, [266 p.], ISBN-13: 978-0-921845-26-3

Literary tones
Farcical, Comical
Animations techniques
All audiences
Public domain


Theatrical techniques



Written by

Carole Guidicelli