Originally written as a piano score in 1913, this was staged as a ballet in 1919 with a scenario by André Hellé, an illustrator and painter.Debussy was fascinated by toys and dolls in particular.

He wrote to a friend, "The soul of a doll is more mysterious than even Maeterlinck supposes; it does not readily put up with the claptrap that so many human souls tolerate." The performance was delayed because of the war and then happened after the composer's death. This publication (dated 1919and perhaps issued for the first performance of the ballet) presents a visually credible world of the Toy Box where the brave soldier and the wicked Polchinelle spar for the favours of a Dolly.


Oscar Thompson, Debussy Man and Artist, Dover, New York 1965 (1937)


I did sets and costumes for a performance at the University of East Anglia, organised and conducted by John Trevitt.


Helle's Fables