"At that time life was more beautiful...
Francis is getting ready for a red-hot date, working his way through his wardrobe. It’s just a shame he’s too fat for his trousers.
Sarah seemed all right on the phone—keen, but not too keen—just nice, and Francis has got high hopes for his date. So why should he care about the call he’s expecting from Marianne?
... And the sun was warmer than today"
After all, it’s more than 20 years since Francis last saw her. Marianne can no longer be the beautiful young French girl he met when he was a postgrad in Massachusetts: she is now a middle-aged mum with grown-up kids, living in Quebec with her husband. Surely, a telephone call should mean nothing to Francis. Not after all this time. Not when he has his date with Sarah to look forward to.
But the ghosts of the past have come back to haunt him: Frankie, the spiky-haired student Francis once was, and Marianne, the jazz-loving French girl he loved and lost, have returned to wrangle with him, reminisce with him, plead with him. And they’re not budging till Francis has taken his phone call. For them, time has not moved on.
Inspired by the bitter-sweet jazz standard, Autumn Leaves uses the vocabulary of trousers-around-the-ankles, hiding-in-the-wardrobe farce to explore the inner world of longing and regret, desire and disappointed dreams.