CHAUVIN — Super Patriot, Progenitor of the Ideology and Eponym, Chauvinism

Posted in Grand Opera, Ideology and Charismatic Authority, Nicolas Chauvin, Olympias (Alexander's Mother), Opera, Unproduced Operas, Unproduced Plays on October 27, 2008 by John F. Deethardt II

An Opera Libretto and Full-Evening Play, Original and Unproduced
by John F. Deethardt II

Malcolm J. Hill, Bath, England, Composer of the Opera.

(To read the play, go to the pages on the blog roll to the right.)


Chauvin is the almost mythical character who gave us the eponym, “chauvinism”. The play has three acts with three settings in the early 19th Century.

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away,” said General McArthur. Fade away? Not Chauvin! This old veteran of Napoleon’s armies lived on in the eponym his super-patriotism gave to our lexicon. However, the historic, title character has attained a more mythical aura over time as the ultimate super-patriot.

This story is plotted from the “facts” in few sentences that can be gleaned from secondary sources, together with much creative invention, “what-ifs”, what some careless readers who have quoted me have called “falsehoods” (Wikipedia), but which is the same creative license used by many others, including the Bard himself. I challenge anyone to nail down the facts about the life of Nicolas Chauvin. (It certainly was not the historical Chauvin who appeared as a character in an 1830 French vaudeville.) My story line has inventions for my fictional purposes. For example, I have him being born on one of our most patriotic holidays, July 4, 1776. It works on a timeline for the story. He is, after all, more mythical than “real”.

In General

A play is an exhibit in the museum of human behavior. Those who attend must exhibit the capacity for appreciating tragedy as well as comedy. Tragedy has been defined in terms of the fatal character flaw and more recently in terms of a consequence of social circumstance (Olympias). However, in my opinion, “ideology” held by groups following a charismatic authority defines a new form of literary tragedy that I would apply to Chauvin and others in contemporary society (political leaders, religious leaders).

Horace Walpole said, “The world is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel.” These historical dramas described here may tend to make one think as well as feel. To portray the tragedy of ideology’s abandonment of reality and the tragedy of the ignorance of hubris will please those who have the capacity both to think and to feel. Samuel Johnson once said, “The drama’s laws, the drama’s patrons give, for we that live to please, must please to live.” I would please with styling dramas.

There is presently the need to have small casts and economical settings and production costs in small theater spaces. It’s the need to economize. Toward that end, Olympias has been re-cast to reduce the number of players.

“Comedy tomorrow! Tragedy tonight!” (A twist on a phrase from A Funny Thing Happened…)