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This is about the British musical. For the American production, see The House of Martin Guerre.

Martin Guerre.

Martin Guerre is a stage musical based on the life of Martin Guerre and the film The Return of Martin Guerre.



In early modern France in the anti-Protestant town of Artigat, where young Martin Guerre is forced into an arranged marriage with Bertrande de Rols in order to produce a Catholic heir. Martin is unsatisfied with the marriage, complicated by the fact that a childhood friend, Guillaume, is secretly in love with Bertrande. Beaten by the priests due to his failure to consummate the union, Martin abandons his home and Bertrande to fight the Protestant Huguenots, and it is during the skirmishes that he befriends Arnaud du Thil with whom he shares his history, beginning the story at this point, seven years later, in medias res.

When Martin appears to die in battle, Arnaud goes to his village to inform Bertrande of her husband's death but, mistaken for the deceased soldier by the residents, he decides to play along with their error and becomes involved with Bertrande. Aware of Arnaud's deception, Bertrande decides to keep his secret and the two discover a mutual romantic attraction while Arnaud takes the name "Martin Guerre" for himself. Guillaume, who had until now hoped for a chance with Bertrande romantically, becomes envious of the supposedly returned soldier. As Bertrande, secretly converted to Protestantism, also turns Arnaud to her faith, Guillaume uncovers their beliefs and so they are assaulted by a roused mob. Before Arnaud is killed, however, Benoit, the knowing village idiot, reveals that he is not truly Martin Guerre, but rather, an imposter. The authorities arrest Arnaud—still claiming that he is Martin—under charges of deception and at the end of the trial, Martin Guerre himself, having apparently survived the war, appears as the last witness.

In prison, Arnaud, however, is freed by Martin who forgives him for stealing his identity, noting the legitimacy of Arnaud and Bertrande's love for each other. The mob, though, sets the town ablaze and Guillaume stabs Arnaud before he can escape. As Arnaud dies in Bertrande's arms, Martin and Bertrande sing mournfully about love and the two part for good. The town contemplates their own xenophobic actions remorsefully.

Musical numbers

Act I

  • "Working on the Land" - Father Dominic, Bertrande, Martin, Madame de Rols and Pierre
  • "Where's the Child" - Father Dominic, Hortense, Bertrande, Martin, Celestine and Ernestine
  • "Martin Guerre" - Martin
  • 'Here Comes the Morning" - Arnaud and Martin
  • 'Sleeping on Our Own" - Hortense, Celestine and Ernestine
  • "When Will Someone Hear?" - Bertrande
  • "Louison/Welcome Home" - Father Dominic, Hortense, Arnaud, Benoit, Celestine and Ernestine
  • "Tell Me to Go" - Arnaud and Bertrande
  • "Bethlehem" - Protestants
  • "All I Know" - Arnaud and Bertrande

Act II

  • "The Courtroom" - Arnaud, Judge Coras and Martin
  • "Me" - Judge Coras, Benoit and Townspeople
  • "Martin Guerre" (Reprise) - Arnaud, Judge Coras and Townspeople
  • "Someone" - Arnaud, Judge Coras and Bertrande
  • "The Imposters" - Father Dominic, Madame de Rols and Pierre
  • "The Last Witness" - Arnaud, Judge Coras, Bertrande, Martin and Madame de Rols
  • "I Will Make You Proud" - Guillaume
  • "The Reckoning" - Bertrande
  • "The Land of the Fathers" - Father Dominic, Bertrande, Martin and Townspeople