2012 – FOLLIES MOLIÈRE
This year, to celebrate its 10 years of French cultural theater, illustre-stage pays homage to Molière with an all-Molière performance in 3 acts. Tartuffe, Le malade Imaginaire, Les Femmes Savantes, Scapin, and Molière himself participate to the mix. The show is divided into 3 “acts”:
Act I – Tartuffe or The Impostor.
Act II – Le malade Imaginaire
Act III – Nuit d’Inspiration
The three acts are independent and as in all illustre-stage performances, the actors speak some French and some English so everyone in the audience can follow the stories.
This year, several actors from the last show had already volunteered to participate again. They brought with them a few new recruits, plus students from the French Club, and my classes. Most of them had two parts.
Carolina Davila – ACC student – French 3 – (Elmire & Armande Béjart)
Coulter Woodson – ACC student – French 3 – (Orgon & l’Emplumé)
Emanuel “Manny” Irizarry – aspiring actor/artist – (Tartuffe)
Gabriel Cesar Najera – ACC student – French 3 – (Molière)
Gabriela Sanchez – French 4 – Texas State student – (la mère & Martine)
Jared Lucas Jones – U.T. graduate – (le maître d’armes & le Malade Imaginaire)
Kayleigh Etie – ACC student – French 2 – (Toinette/Scapin & Armande)
Kurt Dixon – ACC student – French 1 – (Valère)
Nathalie Szostak – ACC student – French 4 – (Dorine & Bélise)
Roxanne Rohmann – ACC student – French 3 – (Angélique & Henriette)
SON ET LUMIÈRE
(sound and lights)
Troy Carrico – Stephen F. Austin State University – freshman
Molly Lynch – Former ACC student – French 4
Julio Chacòn – French 3
Estrella Gutierrez – French 1
CRÉÉ ET MIS EN SCÈNE PAR
(created and directed by)
Véronique Mazet, Ph.D
ACTE I – TARTUFFE
Le scandale du monde est ce qui fait l’offense,
Et ce n’est pas pécher que pécher en silence.
(To create a public scandal is what’s wicked;
To sin in private is not a sin.)
Tartuffe, Act IV, sc. v
For our first Act, a grand villain takes the stage. It is the Act of Tartuffe. Tartuffe is an impostor, a villain who poses as a “dévôt”, a pious man of true great Christian humility. Under this guise he sets out to obtain favors from the rich Orgon, who is besotted with him and his seemingly Christian ways. Comfortably entrenched in Orgon’s home now, Tartuffe has set his sights on beautiful Elmire, Orgon’s wife. Our condensed version of this “grande comédie” focuses on this aspect of Tartuffe’s evil and dishonest endeavors.
ACTE II – LE MALADE IMAGINAIRE
Presque tous les hommes meurent de leurs remèdes, et non pas de leurs maladies.
(Nearly all men die of their remedies, and not of their illnesses.)
Le Malade Imaginaire, Act III, sc. iii
Argan, the master of the house thinks that he is very ill. To treat himself properly, he takes numerous potions lavishly provided by his doctor and his sidekick, the apothecary, in cahoots to milk him “comme il faut”. Argan feels so medically needy, that he has decided to marry his daughter Angélique to the doctor’s son, himself a quack to be, in order to secure the services of a doctor in the family. Horrified at the thought, Angélique begs her mother to intervene. With the help of Toinette their crafty little maid, the three women devise a ruse to bamboozle Argan back to his senses and prevent this preposterous marriage.
For this act I borrowed another figure from the Molière repertory, Scapin, the infamous grand-schemer. Under that disguise, Toinette the maid undertakes to tell her master a “Turkish tale” that will take Argan back to the reality of fatherly love.
“Mais que diable allait-elle faire dans cette galère?”
The actual play Le Malade Imaginaire is a big buffoonery of long black robes and colorful Turkish garb. However it occupies a special place in the hearts of all French theater lovers, because Molière died while playing Argan. It was the fourth performance of the play, on the tenth of February 1673.
ACTE III – “NUIT D’INSPIRATION”
This act is a mash up of two plays: Les Femmes Savantes, and Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, with a surprise appearance by Molière himself, caught the throes of the creative process. Thankfully, with the help of his wife Armande his inspiration returns and from his quill will rise a bookish femme savante who despises earthly matters such as love and marriage; her sister, sweet and practical Henriette; a self-deluded coquette, Bélise; a sharp-tongued servant who talks in double negatives, and a magnificent buffoon, the extravagant Monsieur L’Emplumé (the feathered up man), inspired by Monsiseur Jourdain from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme.
Un sot savant est sot plus qu’un sot ignorant.
(A learned fool is more foolish than an ignorant one.)
Les Femmes Savantes, Act IV, sc. iii