By Jean-Baptiste Poquelin Moliere
3 - 8 July, 2017
This is a comedy adapted from the Moliere Script and is in the same style as the very successful Man with Two Guvnors.
Argan is the hopeless, lying hypochondriac who spends countless amounts of money trying to prove he has various ailments, including much reference to his daily enema.
He is a desperately trying to force his daughter Angelique to marry a doctor in order to reduce his medical bills. Angelique is in love with Cliente, one of Arganís apprentices.
If she wonít marry the doctorís son she will be sent to a convent and inherit nothing.
Beline is Arganís current scheming wife who wants to get her hands on his fortune whilst having an affair with her solicitor friend Deuxfois. Add to this his loyal maid Toinette who wears many hats and keeps the thread of the story, along with Doctor Diafoirerhoea and his would be suitor son Thomas.
His brother Beline arrives on the scene to help Argan see some sense. Quick wit, asides and slick dialogue await the audience.
Argan is a successful businessman, supplying all the underlay for Louis XIVís palaces (the quality of his underlay is what make the carpets feel so wonderful). However, despite his obvious good fortune in life, he does have a couple of seriously bad character flaws. To begin with he is a hopeless hypochondriac, in a permanent state of worry that he may die at any minute. He is also a terrible miser. These two flaws mean that he is constantly seeking help from the medical profession for his imagined illness at a time when doctors charged by the consultation and as a result were very imaginative with the nature and cost of their treatments. The medical profession at the time was full of charlatans and quacks, rejecting the new beliefs in medical science such as the Ďcirculation of the blood theoryí and preferring instead much more arcane treatments such as leechings, cuppings, purgings, piercings and, most particularly, regular enemas. The cost of his treatment only served to raise Arganís anxiety levels. He then has a brilliant idea, to marry his daughter, Angelique, off to a young doctor in order that he then receive his treatments for free. The fact that his daughter is madly in love with one of his apprentices is of no consequence to Argan who threatens her with life in a nunnery should she refuse. Meanwhile, Arganís wife, the seven times married Beline, is concocting schemes with her solicitor fancy-man to make sure Angelique does in fact get shipped off, and she gets Arganís money before he dies. Not very easy as the laws of France at the time restricted second wives on inheriting. Throughout it all Arganís maid, the long suffering Toinette, and his sensible brother are working to try and ensure that common sense and true love prevail and Beline is thwarted.
I am delighted to have been given the opportunity of directing this play. Rather different to the one I did last year. I am also delighted and privileged to have had such a brilliant cast and crew involved from those I have worked with in the past, those with whom this is the first time I have had the pleasure of working with new people to the theatre and current and past Kaleidoscope members. There isnít time or space to mention them all by name but they have all been brilliant and have worked magnificently as a team. I should say a special thanks to Ben Pearson, however, who signed up as stage manager, then took on effects and, in week two of rehearsals also took on a part on stage! I have also been very fortunate to have the services and brilliance of Rob Durkin who has worked as musical director.
The play is a fast paced farce set in 17th Century France with modern and interesting musical pieces. The subject matter may be a little unpalatable at times but thatís how things were then! I hope that you enjoy the evening.