Dalida may not be a name as instantly recognizable, let alone undoubtedly iconic, to American ears as it is to the French. But the mission of Fragments of a Star, the self-described “theatrical party-celebration,” is to celebrate the beautiful and tragic life of Dalida with those who grew up with her, and to initiate those who haven’t been touched by her legacy.
Dalida, née Iolanda Cristina Gigliotti, was born in Egypt to Italian parents. After winning the Miss Egypt beauty pageant in 1954, she moved to Paris, where she soon catapulted to fame as a singer. She became a national and an international celebrity, known for her sensuality and her versatility as an artist.
Fragments of a Star crafts its homage in a series of short scenes, switching interchangeably between English and French. They are slightly disjointed, but sweet and intimate, approaching the monumental legend of Dalida from every angle. The four performers are effortlessly endearing throughout, and are a joy to watch. Their dedication to the show and to the memory of Dalida is truly impressive – as are the numerous costume changes (costumes by A.C. Gottlieb), each one stunning with black and white themes and the intermittent splash of yellow.
The scenes bounce from the opening “What Dalida means to me” exchange, to a humorous New York casting call for a movie about Dalida’s life, to a Dalida-themed cardio class in which three of the actresses sweat it out in heels, all the while with smiles on their faces. Pieces of a video (film by D.W. Young) play in between the scenes: a mock interview with Dalida herself, played with shocking clarity by Adélaïde de Lesquen, who embodies the star and presents her philosphies on fame, love, posterity, and more. And interspersed between the scenes are performances of Dalida’s songs – most notably the fun and spirited Gigi l’Amoroso, and ending with Dalida’s soulful serenade for Egypt, her homeland: Helwa ya balady. Fragments of a Star is a loving homage to a sensational, tragic woman, and it will leave you impressed by the scope of Dalida’s influence.