Molière

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Plays by Molière

audio The Bungler

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

In 17th Century Sicily, a clever valet named Mascarille tries to help his boss Lélie win the girl of his dreams -- only to find that Lélie is a monumental dunce who ruins every one of his intricate schemes. Undaunted, Mascarille invents progressively wilder plots, only to see his best-laid plans go very awry in Molière's The Bungler. Translated by Richard Wilbur.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Richard Easton as Mascarille Adam Godley as Lelie Alan Mandell as Trufaldin Dakin Matthews as Ergaste Christopher Neame as Pandolphe Paula Jane Newman as Celie Darren Richardson as Andres John Sloan as Léandre Norman Snow as Anselme Kate Steele as Hippolyte. This recording contains an interview with Mechele Leon, Associate Professor of Classical and Contemporary French Theatre at the University of Kansas. Directed by Dakin Matthews. Recorded at The Invisible Studios, West Hollywood.

Featuring: Richard Easton, Adam Godley, Alan Mandell, Dakin Matthews, Christopher Neame, Paula Jane Newman, Darren Richardson, John Sloan, Norman Snow, Kate Steele

audio The Misanthrope (1996)

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Razor-sharp wit inflames a competitive game of survival in the salons of 17th century France where, in this world of "finest appearances," one man's blunt honesty shatters his society's delicate web of manners. Often considered to be Moliere's Hamlet, The Misanthrope is a wickedly scathing satire.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Harry Althaus, Amy Farrington, Bradford Farwell, Sean Fortunato, David Frutkoff, Kevin Gudahl, Ora Jones, Chad Kelderman, John Reeger, Hollis Resnik and Larry Yando.

Featuring: Harry Althaus, Amy Farrington, Bradford Farwell, Sean Fortunato, David Frutkoff, Kevin Gudahl, Ora Jones, Chad Kelderman, John Reeger, Hollis Resnik, Larry Yando

audio The Misanthrope (2012)

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

This timeless comedy of manners is considered one of Molière’s most probing and mature works. While it’s still an exemplar of 16th century farce, Molière went beyond his usual comic inventiveness to create a world of rich, complex characters, especially in the cynical title character Alceste, played here by the Tony Award-winning actor Brian Bedford.

Lead funding for this production is provided by the Sidney E. Frank Foundation. This recording also includes an interview with Larry F. Norman author of “The Public Mirror: Molière and the Social Commerce of Depiction”. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Brian Bedford as Alceste JD Cullum as Clitandre Sarah Drew as Eliante Martin Jarvis as Philinte Darren Richardson as Basque, Du Bois Susan Sullivan as Arsinoe Nick Toren as Oronte Matt Wolf as Acaste, Guard Bellamy Young as Celimene Directed by Rosalind Ayres. Translated by Richard Wilbur.

Featuring: Brian Bedford, JD Cullum, Sarah Drew, Martin Jarvis, Darren Richardson, Susan Sullivan, Nick Toren, Matthew Wolf, Bellamy Young

audio The School for Husbands and The Imaginary Cuckold

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Molière wrote some of the most durable and penetrating comedies of all time. The Imaginary Cuckold and The School for Husbands are two of his grand farces of marriage and misunderstanding, one set in Paris and the other in the provinces. In The School for Husbands, a tyrannical husband-to-be seeks to isolate his ward, while unwittingly carrying her messages of devotion to her lover. In The Imaginary Cuckold an enraged husband imagines his wife is unfaithful, but is reluctant to defend his honor.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring:

The School for Husbands: Brian Bedford, Emily Bergl, Dakin Matthews, Juliet Mills, Christopher Neame, Lloyd Owen, Alan Shearman, Rhashan Stone and Olivia Williams.

The Imaginary Cuckold: Brian Bedford, Dakin Matthews, Christopher Neame, Moira Quirk, Darren Richardson, Carolyn Seymour, Alan Shearman and Joanne Whalley.

Featuring: HUSBANDS: Brian Bedford, Emily Bergl, Dakin Matthews, Juliet Mills, Christopher Neame, Lloyd Owen, Alan Shearman, Rhashan Stone, Olivia Williams. CUCKOLD: Brian Bedford, Dakin Matthews, Christopher Neame, Moira Quirk, Darren Richardson, Carolyn Seymour, Alan Shearman, Joanne Whalley

audio The School for Wives

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

In this biting comedy of errors, the hapless Arnolphe is undone by his own double dealing and double standards. The School for Wives was first performed at the Palais Royal theatre on December 26, 1662, and is considered by many to be Moliere’s masterpiece. Richard Wilbur's subtle verse translation illuminates the great master of comedy at his wittiest.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring William Brown, Wellesley Chapman, Joe Damour, Kevin Fox, Cheryl Graeff, Judy Greer, Dev Kennedy, Bradley Mott and Larry Yando.

Featuring: William Brown, Wellesley Chapman, Joe Damour, Kevin Fox, Cheryl Graeff, Judy Greer, Dev Kennedy, Bradley Mott, Larry Yando

audio Tartuffe

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Initially banned in France by King Louis, Molière's celebrated social satire Tartuffe exposes false piety and hypocrisy in the Catholic Church. When a pious fraud worms his way into a wealthy family and manipulates the patriarch into giving up his fortune, it’s up to his family to expose the truth before they end up in the poorhouse!

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance starring: Brian Bedford as Tartuffe JB Blanc as M. Loyal and Officer Daniel Blinkoff as Damis Gia Carides as Dorine Jane Carr as Mme. Pernelle John de Lancie as Cleante Martin Jarvis as Orgon Matthew Rhys as Valere Sarah Zimmerman as Mariane Translated by Richard Wilbur. Directed by Dakin Matthews. Recorded at The Invisible Studios, West Hollywood in June, 2010.

Featuring: Brian Bedford, Martin Jarvis, Alex Kingston, JB Blanc, Daniel Blinkoff, Gia Carides, Jane Carr, John de Lancie, Matthew Rhys, Sarah Zimmerman

Molière (born Jean-Baptiste Poquelin in 1622) was a French playwright and actor-manager. The son of a wealthy upholsterer in the service of the king, the young Jean-Baptiste was expected to take his father's place at the court. Instead, at the age of 21, he became involved with an acting family, the Béjarts, turning his back on his father's business and changing his name to Molière. With the Béjarts, Molière attempted to found a new theatre company in Paris; the result was a short lived enterprise called the Illustre-Théâtre, which ran into debt as early as 1645, leading to a brief spell in a debtor's prison for Molière. Upon his release, Molière and a few other members of the now defunct company (including the Béjarts' eldest daughter Madeleine, with whom Molière was in love) headed for the provinces and joined forces with a touring troupe. He spent the next 13 years in almost constant touring, mainly playing farces inspired by the commedia dell'arte.

It was during these years in the provinces that Molière wrote his first plays such as L'Étourdi ou les Contretemps (1655) and De Dépit amoureaux (1656). In 1658 the company returned to Paris and obtained, through the patronage of the king's brother, a command performance before Louis XIV. The company performed two works, a tragedy by Corneille and one of Molière's own farces, Le Docteur amoureux, which was an instant success and led to the king providing them with the use of the Salle du Petit-Bourbon on a time-share arrangement with an Italian commedia company. The following year Molière enjoyed his first Paris success with Les Précieuses ridicules. Following the demolition of the Petit-Bourbon in 1661, Molière and his company were installed the following year at the Palais-Royal.

In 1662 Molière married Armande Béjart, the younger sister of Madeleine, who was almost 20 years his junior. At the time of the marriage there was much gossip, most of it spread by theatrical rivals, to the effect that Armande was actually Molière's own daughter by Madeleine. That same year saw the production of Molière's first full-length comedy, The School for Wives, which encountered a storm of criticism from those who considered the work to be immoral. The following year much of the gossip was silenced when the king commissioned Molière to write L'Impromptu de Versailles (1663), in which the playwright ridiculed his rivals and detractors. No less controversial were Molière's next two plays, Tartuffe (1664) and Don Juan (1665). Following its first production Tartuffe was withheld from performance until 1667, whereupon it was denounced for immorality by the Church and banned until 1669. Similarly Don Juan was withdrawn from the stage following its first production and not performed again until after Molière's death. However, successful productions followed of The Misanthrope (1666), possibly Molière's greatest play, The Miser (1668), Les Fourberies de Scapin (1671), Les Femmes savantes (1672), and Le Malade imaginaire (1672).

It was during an early performance of Le Malade imaginaire that Molière, playing the role of the hypochondriac, was seized by a real coughing fit and collapsed; he died hours later. Molière's main achievement was in raising the standard of French comedy to a level commensurate with French tragedy. In doing so he created a body of work that would continue to be performed for the next three centuries, providing generation after generation of performers with some of their finest roles.