Hypocrisy can be hilarious, as the University of Findlay Theatre Program’s upcoming play, “The Misanthrope,” will show. Do 17th century French aristocratic societal norms compare to contemporary American manners? Find out at one of the upcoming shows.
Performances will be held Sept. 27, 28 and 29 at 7:30 p.m., and Sept. 30 at 2 p.m. at Egner Performing Arts Center’s John and Hester Powell Grimm Theatre. Tickets are $6 and can be purchased at Marathon Center for the Performing Arts box office at 200 W. Main Cross St. or online at www.mcpa.org. Students, faculty and staff of UF will be admitted free with a valid University I.D.
“The Misanthrope,” written by comedic playwright Molière and adapted by Constance Congdon, is a semi-autobiographical satirical treatise. It centers on the character, Alcese, a writer who is completely fed up with people, particularly those of the upper crust, who often behave kindly in person, but talk badly behind others’ backs.
According to director Margaret Anich, the character, Alceste, played by Jack Yeater, “believes in complete honesty at all times and at all costs, even to the point of hurting people’s feelings or getting himself in trouble.” His primary conundrum – he’s in love with Célimène. Played by Riley Klauza, Célimène is a woman who personifies the things he hates; she is “a consummate gossip, known for her witty and unflattering ‘portraits’ she paints with her words of those she dislikes,” Anich explained, and whose behavior boomerangs back with eventual consequences.
“Much of the comedy comes from watching the tension between Alceste and the other characters who flatter, gossip, back-bite and go to silly lengths to be seen as part of the ‘in-crowd,’” Anich said. “Alceste can be admired for his honesty, yet he is emotional and reactionary and ridiculous, throwing tantrums and sulking when people don’t behave the way he believes they should behave.”
The actors will appear in period costume, richly designed by Kathy Newell, and speak in a translation that is written in rhyme.
“I decided to treat the play as a historical painting in a museum that ‘comes to life,’ honoring both the period style of the play, and the fact that it is happening in the here and now,” Anich added.
Anich said she is naturally drawn to Molière’s work because of “the social criticism he embeds in his comedies. Comedy gives us a way to recognize our human flaws in a non-threatening manner – when we laugh at the characters on stage, we have the opportunity to look at our own flaw/contradictions and laugh at ourselves,” she said.
This is Anich’s third year guest directing for the University of Findlay. She is a theatre lecturer and interim department coordinator for the Department of Theatre at The Ohio State University’s Lima, Ohio campus.
“The Misanthrope” is produced by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing, Inc., NYC, originally produced by Act, San Francisco.
Full Cast List:
Alceste – Jack Yeater
Célimène – Riley Klauza
Philante – Paul Beaver
Éliante – Abigail Starcher
Arsinoé – Leah Chizmar
Oronte – Robbie Riffle
Clitandre – Elijah Garmon
Acoste – Blake Bush
Basque – Sadia Aurna
Du Bois/Guard – Cody Watson
Full Crew List:
Director – Margaret Anich
Costume Designer – Kathy Newell
Set and Lighting Designer – Carl Walling
Props Designer – Jessica Leszkowicz
Technical Director – Matt STimmel
Stage Manager – Destiny DeWar
Assistant Stage Managers – Lisa Martinez and Jonda Krontz