I have always believed that no play, regardless of their strong leading characters, can be good unless their supporting characters are strong. Our full attention is often drawn to the leads or those with the most dialogue as the main storytellers, but our opinions change by the interactions and reactions the supporting cast has about the leads or it environment.
Often smaller, supernumerary roles provide themes of the play, perhaps it seedy underbelly, that is not apparent on the surface of the main dialogue. I think “Parfumirie” is a perfect example of how supporting characters provide the truth and subtext especially in a Romantic Comedy set in the backdrop of fear, paranoia, elitism, poverty and fascism.
I see the supporting characters of this show like ornaments on a Christmas tree. At its base is a beautiful, study pine tree happy to be living it’s life. Then for some religious reason is forced out of its normal being into something it is not. Each ornament that is placed on its branches weighs the tree down, eventually covering it’s natural beauty.
Yes, a Christmas tree when decorated and lit up is quite a sight to see, a splendor, perhaps perfect, but it is only superficial. The Parfumirie is that tree, burdened by the weight of its ornamental supporting characters.
Placing it’s ideas of elitism, fear and fascism as pretty trinkets on the branches of a tree that will eventually be discarded when it’s purpose is no longer useful.