2009 – Molière

The idea was to introduce the spirit of Molière to a non French-speaking audience. Our adaptations include some original verses, translated lines (found on the Project Gutenberg web site), and a little bit of our own. Whenever possible, we have tried to maintain the meter and flow of the language. Our spectacle is based on three of Molière’s famous comedies:

Act I: La Répétition is based on Les Femmes Savantes (1672); Comédie en cinq actes, en vers (The Learned Women), with a taste of Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme.

ACTE II: The Lost …Thing is an adaptation of L’école Des Femmes (1662); Comédie en cinq actes, en vers (School Of Wives).

ACTE III: La Galère is an adaptation of Les Fourberies de Scapin (1671); Comédie en trois actes, en prose (Scapin’s Schemings).

Why Molière?

Truly I chose Molière because his plays are so current and “tasty”. His somewhat controversial subjects which, by the way often landed him in court, remain very appropriate even in our times. Nobody likes hypocrites and phonies, and we can all laugh at a good trick against unnatural behaviors of all kinds, be it a XVIIth century lusty old man, or a cell phone-obsessed bad driver, can’t we? His plays represent French theater probably better than any other playwrights’. They have the life and wit of the French esprit, and the beauty of the French language. Even after more than three hundred years, it is difficult to find a French person who doesn’t enjoy his comedies. Throughout the ages, Molière has always been a prominent part of French culture, so much so that France’s most prestigious theater company, la Comédie Française, in Paris, is also called la maison de Molière (his “house”). Every school kid knows Molière because we study it at school, and a francophile ‘s culture would be incomplete without a glimpse into Molière’s works. Another reason for this choice was its potential for extraordinary costumes. It was indeed a lot of fun to sew lace, satin and velvet, to add satin ribbons, silver brooches, and buttons… with such great results. The pictures tell it all. (See photo gallery)

One notable incident: we “lost” one of the actresses rather late in the game. She could not learn her lines despite the efforts of her fellow actors to help her. The hardship was on all of us because when she disappeared we had only a couple of weeks left before the performance. Parts of the text had to be rewritten in order to redistribute her lines, and some members of the already small cast had to take on even more lines. Blocking too had to be relearned for some… This was the first time it happened, but it was a significant step for the other students who reacted very very well. I was impressed at how readily they took on additional work so it would all work out in the end, instead of merely folding. Thanks to them, the water closed back up very smoothly over the incident, and we gave a flawless performance.

The Cast

Kendall AuBuchon – French 1 student
Linda Caballero – French 4 student
Marcus Simpson – Former student
Hailey Tuck – French 1 student
Akasha Villalobos – Former student
Bradley Wright – French 4 student

Behind the scenes

Molly Lynch – French 3 student (costumes)
Margot Rochon – Foreign language dept. administrative assistant (filming)
Suzanne McIntosh – French 2 student (art work)
Véronique Mazet – Professor of French (creator & director)

Students Speak

“I am delighted to be appearing as Agnés as well as Bélise in La Répétition. I love musical theatre and French so this production encompasses both and I am very excited to be a part of it with so many talented people and to work under the direction of Véronique Mazet. It’s an experience I will remember forever. I am in French 1 this semester and hope to continue.”
—Kendall (Bélise & Agnés)

“It is an honor to be a part of this show as Martine and Scapin and to be able to share the experience with the rest of this team of wonderful, dedicated people. As a French IV student at ACC I am proud of what we have accomplished and I hope you enjoy watching this show as much as we enjoyed preparing for it.”
—Linda (Scapin & Martine)

“I am a former ACC French student who has no previous acting experience. I thought it would be fun to do this and increase my speaking skills. It has been a great experience and I look forward to next time.”
—Marcus (Molière & L’emplumé)

“I took French I-IV at ACC five years ago, and during that time, I participated in Madame Mazet’s other two bilingual productions (and thoroughly enjoyed them.) Since then, I’ve married and become a teacher at Garza High School, where I teach Filmmaking, Animation, Digital Graphics, and Multimedia.”
—Akasha (Henriette & stage manager)

“I have performed as Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet, Graziano in The Merchant of Venice, and Sextus Pompeius in Antony and Cleopatra. I will have my BA in English from U.T Austin in May. I am currently in French IV.”
—Bradley (Géronte & Horace & Arnolphe & Clitandre)

“I am a French III student, a lifelong francophile, and have had an intense interest in theater and costume design since I can remember. I have truly enjoyed exploring the works of Molière while working with this talented and fun group of people.”
—Molly (our stage mom and costumiére)

Audience Response

“Even though I do not understand French the play was still very enjoyable. Having the actors speak bilingually really helped understanding what was going on. The use of modern music and song gave the play a fresh vibe and the specific songs fit the scenes perfectly.”
—Anna Salguero, spectator

“Véronique, I very much enjoyed the clever way you showcased the singing talents of our students by merging popular French song performances with classical play excerpts, immersing students in the language, literature, and culture of France all at one time.”
—Sidney Brammer, ACC creative writing

“I brought my two sons of 9 and 13 years old and they really loved the integration of songs like the Pink Floyd and other reminders of our today culture… A funny, entertaining way to meet Molière and his time! My son who takes a class in theater told me he wouldn’t mind acting in French. It was great Véronique and inspiring for families …MERCI pour ton travail de production en français! Bravo et encore.”
—Dr. Anne Cirella-Urrutia, French Adjunct Professor, HTC.

“I enjoyed the play so much I went there twice! The acting was great, the songs were perfect! I also admired the writing of the play to incorporate Molière and make the sequence clear to people who don’t speak French.”
—Marc Prevost, French Professor, ACC.

“Dr. Mazet, My son and I really enjoyed the Molière comedy. At first I thought my son would not be able to follow it but it being bilingual made it possible for him. My son is 12 years old and taking French in middle school; so for him it was a great opportunity to experience the French language in an environment other than the classroom and in an entertaining and fun way. After the play my son bragged about the things he understood and how well he followed the story. I was impressed. The characters were hilarious and every act was a surprise! We loved it! Thanks for inviting us!”
—Joanne Gonzalez, French 2 student

“Moliere’s genius is not widely taught in American schools, but ACC French adjunct professor Veronique Mazet’s bilingual musical ‘folly’ captures his essence and makes him come alive. Her inventive scenes, such as one with a flustered actress consulting Molière in the flesh, are hilarious and enlightening. She tucks surprising hits from musicals, such as ‘I Feel Pretty’ into bilingual scenes that further explain the appeal of Molière. Veronique herself is a genius to have written this show, and her actors and singers are perfect in their roles.”
—Mary Hopkins, spectator

“Dr. Mazet, congratulations on the lovely show last Saturday 18th of April. The play was a tasteful and charming way to refresh our memory of Molière’s masterpieces. Impressive the attention to the details, the music. the costumes, the singing and dancing, the French-English dialogue. Very entertaining the conversation between Molière and Agnés… If you allow me, “literary Follies” is a little gem in its conception and execution. what an inventive way to learn a language! Your students must have had a blast.”
—Daniella Paluselli, ACC student

“Véronique and all the cast: you were fantastic and it was beautiful!”
—Cathy Angell, Chair of the Foreign language Department

“We really enjoyed the light hearted spirit and were impressed with the students who participated. I thought it was sad that there were not more students who chose to participate! The theater was full, in fact standing room only. That was nice to see. We thought the costumes were very well done and the whole play performed very professionally. All in all an afternoon well spent.”
—Janelle Monney, French 2 student

“I have to say that I enjoyed the show. I liked the way they made it bilingual using both French and English. Throughout the show there were a few times where I did not quite understand the French, but I could still follow the story. This use of both languages made the show easier to follow. The acting was good and the singing was great. I thought the choice of music was good. I suppose this was the updating. I give the whole production two thumbs up.”
—Paul Reyes, French 1 student

“I had a great time at the play. It was really fun and funny and clever… You did a great job and a great thing for the college and our students.”
—Lyman Grant, Dean of Arts & Humanities

“While taping, I had focused mainly on issues of video composition; but later, during the editing process, as I watched the clips repeatedly, I began to take note of all the subtleties of the actors (all non-professionals) and an all together sophisticated level of presentation. I might here mention that the set was Spartan, and while the immaculate costumes did much to carry the audience back to the 17th century, it was the dynamism of the performers upon which the play’s energy rested. Aside from the fine quality of performance, it is also noteworthy that the play’s author/director, Véronique Mazet, had managed to achieve the seemingly Herculean task of creating a cohesive play by stitching together excerpts from multiple plays and infusing them with modern musical numbers. C’est magnifique, non?”
—Margot Rochon (Margot taped the performance and edited it)


A Bit Of Literary History
L’école Des Femmes
Les Femmes Savantes
Les Fourberies de Scapin
The Music