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Theatre / La Fille Mal Gardee

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La Fille Mal Gardée (French for "The Poorly Guarded Girl" and sometimes called "The Girl Who Needed Watching" ) is a comic country ballet inspired by Pierre-Antoine Baudouin's 1789 painting, La Réprimande. The ballet was originally choreographed by the Ballet Master Jean Dauberval to music based on fifty-five popular French airs, and premiered in 1789 in Bordeaux, France. It's been revived multiple times and is one of the oldest ballets, kept alive due to these multiple revivals. A modern revival is Frederick Ashton's, which he created for the Royal Ballet.


The story starts with Lise, a peasant girl, and her fiancé Colas. Though they're in love, Lise's mother Widow Simone (usually played by a man) wants her to marry Alain, who is stupid, but very wealthy. But Widow Simone cannot keep Lise and Colas apart. At a picnic lunch with Alain, Simone, and Alain's father Thomas, the maypole and clog dancing is interrupted by a thunderstorm. Alain's umbrella carries him away.

At home, Lise spins and dances. After her mother falls asleep she tries to steal her key but is unsuccessful. The crops are brought in, and Lise, home alone, thinks about Colas, and imagines being the mother of many children through mime. Colas then appears from a stack of crops. When Simone returns Lise pushes him into the bedroom to hide him, but to her horror her mother gives her her wedding dress and demands that she go into her bedroom and put it on.


Thomas, Alain, and the notary for the marriage arrive. Alain unlocks Lise's bedroom door with the key Simone gives him. Lise enters wearing her wedding dress, with Colas by her side. Insulted, Thomas tears up the marriage contract and they leave. Lise and Colas beg the Widow to agree to their marriage and she finally does. Everyone leaves happily, celebrating the love between Lise and Colas. Alain returns to the empty house looking for his umbrella. He too has a happy ending; with his umbrella.


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