Long Story Short: Ursula to Ariel: It’s body language.

Ursula may have said it best when she was explaining to Ariel the lack of need for a voice.

“It’s body language,” said the gravely voiced not-so-nice multi-armed lady who shares Neptune’s sea in “The Little Mermaid.”

Ursula’s message was reinforced here in Lafayette this week by international mime sensation, Guérassim Dichliev. Maybe you were lucky enough to attend one of the shows he performed Friday in Lafayette Middle School’s auditorium.

My introduction to Dichliev came through an unexpected connection. I was driving home from work Thursday afternoon when my friend, Debra Taghehchian, called.

“Hey, Jan. Do you guys want to come over for dinner tonight? I’m cooking Persian – your favorite. It’s lamb and eggplant.”

Before I could say yes or jump for joy, she added, “Oh, and a French mime will be joining us for dinner.”

That might be have been a strange call for some, but I didn’t bat an eye.

First of all, Debra Taghehchian’s Persian lamb and eggplant is food fit for royalty. As selfish as it may seem after a long day of teaching with no time for lunch, at that point, I really didn’t care who was coming to dinner – except me.

Coming from Debra, I wasn’t surprised in the least. Her home is sort of like a Cajun United Nations.

We’ve celebrated holidays with her family that I had never heard of until I got there. We’ve jumped over small fires (to welcome the Persian New Year) and yelled, “My yellow is yours. Your red is mine.” (In Farsi, mind you). We’ve tried to dance the Azerbaijani folk dance. And once, we sang to the tunes of a Japanese guitarist playing zydeco.

Debra is as Cajun as is possible to be. In fact, her father used to be president of the Broussard family, (can their be a more legitimate heir to Cajundomness?) But, Debra’s husband, Saeed, is as proud of his Persian heritage as she is of hers. Many of their friends come from around the globe. 

So, when she told me a French mime would be there for dinner, I didn’t bat an eye. (I’ll admit, though, I wondered if he would be talkative.)

Come to find out, Dichliev is not French. Yes, he lives in Paris and trained there with Marcel Marceau, but originally, Dichliev is from Bulgaria. He’s on an American tour performing for Alliance Francaise in a number of cities. If you haven’t noticed, Alliance Francaise de Lafayette has been on a roll lately with the quality of speakers and performers they’re bringing to Lafayette to celebrate the French heritage.

Earlier this spring, they brought a Parisian chocolatier to discuss the nuances of chocolate. On May 14, they will present a lecture by Frenchparfumier Christophe Laudamiel. (If you would like more information about it, check out aflafayette.org.)

Sadly, I don’t speak French, but that hasn’t stopped me from appreciating what the organization has to offer. As my new friend, Dichliev, pointed out, words aren’t always necessary to communicate.

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