Based on Emile Zola’s novel, Au Bonheur des Dames, this play is set in Paris late 19th Century, when a young woman, Denise Baudu, arrives with her young brother to stay with their uncle, who manages a small drapery shop. As the entire block is selling out to Octave Mouret, an ambitious young magnate determined to build the first massive department store, only Denise’s uncle refuses to sell. The balance of power shifts when Denise seeks work from Mouret, and he falls completely in love with her.

Winner of the inaugural Mitch Matthews Award.

  • drama, historical
  • 110
  • 7 total
  • 3 female identifying, 4 male identifying
  • 3 to 8, 8 to 12, 16 to 18, 18+
  • young adult, adult
  • Australian Script Centre


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Paul Baudu

Male | 50s | under 3 minutes
Starts on page 10

EXTRACT: I have been thirty years in drapery. Me. Thirty years in this shop where we now stand. Me! And before me, my parents. Right here! And before them...the same. Family! The Old Drapery has been providing the customers of Paris with the finest drapery, generation after generation for a hundred years. Since 1795 in fact. 1795. And believe me, the day that that Paradise empire does come toppling down and Mouret is thrown on the streets like a ravaged puppet, I will cheer and cheer and light up my shop window in blazing triumph!


Male | 30s | 3 to 5 minutes
Starts on page 20

EXTRACT: ..and after a few moments of gentle gliding, she arrives in a small patisserie and cafe, where, at a marble counter, with silver plated fountains trickling with cool water, she glances at rows of bottles and waiters in white gloves endlessly cleaning glasses till they shine. And here, she gives in to her thirst and here she feels herself penetrated by her own immodesty as she consumes a rum baba coated in pale sugar dust and suffused with chocolate...What I offer the Baron, Mademoiselle, is a share in the profits of art.. The art, if you will, of desire.


Female | 20s | under 3 minutes
Starts on page 74

EXTRACT: On the day of the funeral, all the ruined traders of the district joined the procession: the Bedores, brother and sister, leaning on walking sticks and racked with anxiety; then Mademoiselle Tatin, burdened with the fear of unpayable bills; the Vanpouille brothers, walking in silence, heads bent, like beaten men; and behind them Monsieur Bourras, his eyes shining like a stricken animal, They formed a great cortege of shared suffering and mutual loyalty. It was as if for the first time, I truly witnessed their collective pain, their tragic loss.

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