Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Dinner for One

Germany has a tradition which I have often heard of, but never actually been privy too. The tradition of the New Year´s Dinner for One or Miss Sophie´s Birthday.

This is a short movie, a 15 minute English film of a theatre piece done, oh, probably in the 1960´s, all about 90 year old Miss Sophie who is celebrating her birthday with four of her closest friends. Unfortunately she has outlived all four of these and in fact buried the last 25 years ago. So it is up to her trusted servant James (of course) to stand in at the important parts, i.e. the toasting at the start of each course. When Miss Sophie decides on the alcohol Why I think we shall have sherry with the soup James, he asks Same procedure as last year Miss Sophie? to which she responds Same procedure as EVERY time James. So he fills the glasses, goes around to each place setting and toasts her with the individual accents and lines of the four dead friends.
Of course, this results in a progressively drunker James (who himself is not the youngest) and a variety of comic episodes involving a tigers head and vase of flowers.
At the end of the dinner, James assists Miss Sophie up the stairs.
Same procedure as last year?
Same procedure as EVERY time James.
I´ll do my best.

It´s funny, in an old-fashioned-Laurel-and-Hardy-slapstick way and it´s tradition. Say to any German Same procedure as last year? And they will know immediately what you´re talking about. Even if they can´t speak English.

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