Translated, adapted and arranged by Suzan Zeder. From The Miser by Molière.
Cast: 11m., 5w., with doubling 9m., 5w., expansion possible with inclusion of multiple courtiers. This new translation and adaptation of Molière's classic comedy, The Miser, is set in the opulent court of King Louis XIV at the palace of Versailles. Molière and his renowned troupe of actors are set to premiere The Misanthrope before the king and courtiers until Pierre Pomponne, a minor minister of culture, refuses to pay for the evening's entertainment. Molière pulls down the scenery, tosses costume pieces to his company, and a brilliant improvisation is presented as an instruction on the importance of art and the value of the artist. This play within a play presents the story of Harpagon, the greediest of comic villains, as he causes consternation in his family with his parsimonious pursuit of a sweet young thing who is also loved by Harpagon's son. Mayhem abounds with dazzling dandies, tricks and thievery, wise and winsome women, sons and daughters lost at sea and found at last! But at the end of the day and the end of the play, the artist must be paid! Zeder takes us back to a time when this classic play was first conceived—when actors struggled to remember their newly minted lines and bits of business were improvised for the first time. In this raucous telling, she captures the comic power of this cautionary tale of misguided monetary mania and defines the priceless power of the creative artist and the alchemy of theatre.
One-act version available. Unit set. Approximate Running Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes.