Teachers’ Notes Researched and Compiled by Michele Chigwidden
Adelaide Festival Centre has contributed to the development and publication of these teachers’ notes through its education program, CentrED.
by Molière A new adaptation by Paul Galloway Directed by Chris Drummond
INTRODUCTION Le Malade imaginaire or The Hypochondriac by French playwright Molière, was written in 1673. Today Molière is considered one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature and his work influences comedians and dramatists the world over1. This play is set in the home of Argan, a wealthy hypochondriac, who is as obsessed with his bowel movements as he is with his mounting medical bills. Argan arranges for Angélique, his daughter, to marry his doctor’s nephew to get free medical care. The problem is that Angélique has fallen in love with someone else. Meanwhile Argan’s wife Béline (Angélique’s step mother) is after Argan’s money, while their maid Toinette is playing havoc with everyone’s plans in an effort to make it all right. Molière’s timeless satirical comedy lampoons the foibles of people who will do anything to escape their fear of mortality; the hysterical leaps of faith and self-delusion that, ironically, make us so susceptible to the quackery that remains apparent today. Brink’s adaptation, by Paul Galloway, makes Molière’s comedy even more accessible, and together with Chris Drummond’s direction, the brilliant ensemble cast and design team, creates a playful immediacy for contemporary audiences. These teachers’ notes will provide information on Brink Productions along with background notes on the creative team, cast and a synopsis of The Hypochondriac. In addition to the suggested pre- and postperformance activities for secondary drama students, there are overviews of Molière’s life and times, medicine in the 17th century and Commedia dell’arte as well as selected script extracts. This information has been collated from various sources including teacher preparation notes over a few decades! The preperformance activities are aimed at preparing students for the context of the play, themes and ideas, which will ideally engage students with a sense of curious anticipation. Post-performance activities are aimed at assisting students with an informed response to their theatrical experience. Planning student visits to the theatre takes time, organisation and commitment to arts education. We again thank you for the opportunities you are giving your students. Prior to attending The Hypochondriac please remind your students and accompanying adults about theatre etiquette: o enjoy yourselves o be mindful of others - any inappropriate noise or activity can be distracting for both actors and other audience members (mobile phones are to be switched off please) o photography is prohibited.
Phyllis Hartnoll The Theatre – A Concise History (rev edition) Thames Hudson, New York 1985
ABOUT BRINK PRODUCTIONS
Brink creates powerfully imaginative theatre through long-term collaborations with artists and non-artists from different disciplines and backgrounds. Brink’s work communicates complex ideas and emotions with simplicity and insight, in ways that are intelligent, thought-provoking, imaginative and enriching. Brink’s repertoire of work includes epic narrative, re-imagined classics, music theatre and children's theatre. The premises on which Brink operates are: 1. diversity = life 2. slow food = great taste 3. on the brink = a leap in the unknown Founded in 1996 and based in Adelaide, today Brink is led by Artistic Director, Chris Drummond, and Executive Producer, Kay Jamieson. In 2009 Brink presents new work in Adelaide and tours of When the Rain Stops Falling by Andrew Bovell in Sydney and Melbourne. Brink has a range of new work in various stages of development including a multi-narrative ensemble work for African and Australian actors and musicians, a devised work with one of Australia’s leading physical theatre companies and a major international collaboration with a London-based theatre company.
“Without the law you can’t have society. Without the arts you can’t have civilisation.” Julian Burnside QC - barrister, human rights and refugee advocate and author
INVEST IN BRINK To help Brink continue making new Australian work, undertaking national and international touring and increase opportunities for young and disadvantaged people to experience live performance, please visit Brink’s website www.brinkproductions.com or call 08 8211 6565 *************************************************************************************************************** 3
CREATIVE TEAM WRITER ADAPTATION DIRECTOR DESIGNER COMPOSER LIGHTING DESIGNER PRODUCER
Molière Paul Galloway Chris Drummond Wendy Todd Stuart Day Geoff Cobham Kay Jamieson
CAST Paul Blackwell Emily Branford Terence Crawford Edwin Hodgeman Carmel Johnson Nathan O’Keefe Jacqy Phillips Rory Walker and Stuart Day (musician)
PRODUCTION TEAM PRODUCTION MANAGER STAGE MANAGER ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER
Françoise Piron Lucie Balsamo Rachel Garreffa
Notes from the director – Chris Drummond The Hypochondriac is a luminously life-affirming rage against the dying of the light. Written at the end of Molière’s richly colourful life when he knew that he was dying, this gloriously bilious theatrical comedy is a passionate exposé on the fear of mortality and humanity’s wondrous capacity for self-delusion and hysterical leaps of faith. Chosen for Brink in 2009 because it’s funny, The Hypochondriac is a chance to regenerate and rekindle our company’s sense of play after a series of darker, more sombre works. The concept for this production is a ‘meta-theatrical’ one where the very act of performance becomes the central metaphor for the themes of Molière’s play. The actors and musicians – deliberately reduced in number to encourage some doubling up of characters – in collaboration with the writer, myself and the creative team will work to develop a shared performance aesthetic, a kind of mongrel-style that seeks to capture some essence of Molière’s dark comedic spirit. The priority is to avoid the pitfalls of ‘museum’ theatre, by creating, through collaborative adaptation, an urgency, camaraderie and humanity in the actors’ ensemble performance. It will be the immediacy of their energy which most effectively brings Molière’s play to life. In our production, every trick of theatre will be designed to draw the audience further and further into a collective and wilful suspension of disbelief, illuminating and celebrating the play’s central discourse – that the power of imagination and self-delusion are equally transformative – ultimately exposing the futility and absurdity of Argan’s desperate struggle to hold at bay the final terror we all must face… of our unavoidable and inevitable demise. Chris Drummond June 2009
Notes from the writer – Paul Galloway This version of Molière’s Le Malade imaginaire is an adaptation and not a translation. It was written for a particular production and a particular audience by a writer who knows virtually no French, and so whatever virtues or faults it possesses can be sheeted back to these creative circumstances. I worked from two old English translations, one from the 1890s and one from the mid-1920s. Both were fusty pieces of dramaturgy, honest attempts to capture the spirit of Molière’s scatological comedy for their genteel readership and well-mannered theatre, but so stuffy, literary and bowdlerised that using them as my base texts amounted to an act of translation anyway. I followed the original French version with my eye to check for cuts, line-length (the Victorian translation in particular tended to be longwinded) and, as much as I was able, sentence rhythm. There are, of course, many ways to adapt a classic play and my early discussions with Chris Drummond, the Artistic Director of the commissioning company, Brink Productions, concentrated on exactly where to pitch it: what was middle stump and what would be called wide. It quickly became clear that Chris didn’t want a strictly literal or faithful version, yet, on the other hand, nor did he want me to go to town and come up with a conspicuously updated or Australianised text – one of those hip, knowing, poMo takes on a classic that, with techno music blaring and topical references thrown in, does a twirl in its vinyl jumpsuit. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Thus, the strict rule I set myself was never to use a jarring anachronism or ockerish turn of phrase to raise a laugh. Nevertheless, I was always aware of not going too far the other way and treating the original text as sacred. I was true to Molière, but always after my fashion. I am a playwright, not an antiquarian, and I was not interested in showing a modern audience what passed for entertainment in France four hundred years ago if I had good reason to suspect that it would not pass for entertainment today. The play had to work on stage, and I felt no qualms in adding or cutting lines, clarifying moments, punching up dialogue and adding jokes, provided I thought it served the interest of a modern production. The major casualties of this approach were the interludes that separated the acts. I acknowledge their importance to the theatre of Molière’s day, especially within the refined court of Louis XIV, but the audience of our day will not stand for a seemingly irrelevant piece of ballet or opera intruding into the middle of the story. Nevertheless, in the week-long workshop we did on the first draft, Chris and the company came up with the idea of a dream sequence, which would allow us to incorporate some of the music, song and burlesque on which Molière’s theatre thrived. Molière’s play ends with a mock graduation ceremony in which blocks of cod Latin and macaronic Italian are cemented together with a judicious pasting of French. It defies literal translation and many previous translators have simply thrown their hands up and left it as it was. I threw my hands up, too, but only in order to chuck most of it away and accept the challenge of writing my own version. Only in this finale did I stretch – well, break – my rule about getting laughs from anachronisms and Australianisms, but it seems that the carnivalesque and unbounded quality of this section licensed it. And, anyway, I was desperate. Apart from the finale, then, we ended up with an adaptation set in Molière’s 17th century world, but one in which the people speak not too differently from how Australians speak today. I came to see my job as ‘cleaning the windows’, to do my best to allow a modern Australian audience to enjoy Molière’s brilliant play without having to peer through the accreted dust and discolourings of passing time and changing culture. In achieving this, the workshop in January 2009 was invaluable. Having a room of actors working through the text systematically, under the coaxing direction of Chris Drummond, clarified a number of problem areas – dead patches, bits that needed work, lines that weren’t quite there. The character of Béralde, the spokesman for reason and moderation in the play, became a major focus for our discussion. What was his purpose? Would a modern audience care to listen to his long peroration against seventeenth century 5
medical practices? I had tried in my first draft to suggest the connection between the shonky doctors of Molière’s time and the shonky practices of modern alternative medicine – but would an audience see the connection? Throughout the week, I gradually trimmed and rewrote the part, with the result that we now have a character who, I think, has greater impact on the darker undercurrents of the play despite having far fewer lines than in Molière’s original. I would like to thank all the participants in that workshop for all their help, wit and energy: Chris Drummond, of course, who was encouraging when he liked what I wrote and supremely tactful when he didn’t; the stage manager Françoise Piron, a French speaker who was at hand to give the original line readings whenever something I wrote didn’t sound quite right; the actors Paul Blackwell, Emily Branford, Terence Crawford, Carmel Johnson, Nathan O'Keefe, Dennis Olsen, Jacqy Phillips and Rory Walker, who, with the composer Stuart Day, brought their sense of fun to the proceedings; and Brink’s Producer Kay Jamieson who provided logistical support and plenty of encouragement. Finally, I am grateful to Molière, a man of the theatre who, I hope, would have understood and forgiven my tampering with his fine play. Paul Galloway June 2009
This appears as the Introduction to Phoenix Educations’ publication of The Hypochondriac by Molière adapted by Paul Galloway (June 2009).
SYNOPSIS Act I Argan is a rich man with severe hypochondria. The play opens with Argan looking over his monthly doctor's bill. He only pays out half of what is on the bill. Concerned his daily enemas aren't working and convinced he is going to die, he calls for his maid, Toinette who is not interested in putting up with his temper. As his daughter, Angélique, arrives Argan's enema suddenly takes effect and he has to run out. Left alone, Angélique prattles to Toinette about Cléante, a young man she has fallen desperately in love with since their meeting a week ago. She is sure he is about to ask for her hand in marriage. Argan returns announcing that he has, today, accepted a marriage proposal on her behalf. Angélique is overjoyed until she discovers her father has promised her to Thomas Diafoirus, the son of his doctor’s brother. in order to have a doctor always around to tend on him for free. Toinette berates her master, making Argan so irate at his servant's impudence that he chases her around the room trying to kill her. Exhausted, and fearing for his life, he stops and issues an ultimatum: either Angélique marries Thomas Diafoirus or spends the rest of her life in a convent. Hearing the disturbance, Béline (Argan's second wife) enters. Angélique and Toinette slip away. Béline soothes Argan like a baby, and sulkily, Argan tells her he intends to change his will in her favour alone. She begs him not to, but just happens to have a notary on hand who could make the changes immediately. Outside, Toinette warns Angélique that her stepmother is plotting to take her inheritance. Angélique doesn’t care as long as she can marry Cléante. She begs Toinette to find a way to help.
Act II Cléante arrives and explains to Toinette his plan to pose as Angélique’s music teacher. Argan enters, complaining about his bowels and is introduced to Cléante (in disguise). Argan requests Cléante to instruct Angélique in front of him. Angélique is called and is delighted and startled to see Cléante. Suddenly Toinette brings in Dr Diafoirus and his son Thomas. Angélique is horrified when Argan insists that the music teacher stays to witness the proposal. Thomas' stammering and over-rehearsed proposal reveals him to be an utter idiot. But Argan is pleased and calls for Cléante to perform a song in celebration of the occasion. Together, Cléante and Angélique express (in code) their love for each other in an improvised and painfully tuneless song. Irritated, Argan tells Cléante to leave. Angélique tries to convince her father that she cannot marry Thomas and Béline suggests that Angélique be sent to a convent. Argan gets angry with Angélique’s willfulness and all of the fighting; nobody is paying him any attention. He gives Angélique four days to accept her fate. She flees the room as Béline decides to go out. Argan is left with the two doctors and begs them to examine him. It is very obvious they have no idea what they are doing. Before leaving, Béline tells Argan that Angélique has been seen with the young man who took off when he saw her and that Argan’s youngest daughter, Louison, saw them. Argan calls Louison to him for an interrogation disguised as teasing and playacting. After much coaxing Louison tells him that the man claiming to be Angélique’s music teacher came to her window and told her over and over how he loved her. As Argan orders Louison from the room his brother, Béralde, arrives. Toinette explains the whole situation to Béralde. They agree to try and stop Argan's plans together. Act III Béralde tries to convince his brother that the proposed marriage is a mistake. He criticises Argan's blind faith in the manipulative greed of doctors and invites him out for the day in an attempt to shake his self-obsession. Just as Béralde’s point seems to be hitting home a young doctor arrives to give Argan his daily enema. Béralde intervenes and the young doctor becomes upset, calling upon his master, Dr Purgon, who arrives to condemn Argan for refusing treatment. There is an argument and Dr Purgon declares he will stop treating Argan, predicting that in four days he will be beyond saving. Argan now believes he is dying and is greatly distressed when Toinette enters announcing a new doctor is waiting outside. Argan tells her to bring him in immediately and Toinette rushes off. When the doctor enters it is Toinette in disguise. Her dangerous diagnosis shakes Argan's confidence in the medical profession. Then Toinette returns as herself and she and Béralde criticise Argan's wife, convincing him they can show him the true nature of Béline. Argan pretends to be dead. When Béline enters to find ‘the body' she is overjoyed. Her joy disappears when Argan sits up. He throws her, penniless, out of his house. Toinette and Béralde then persuade him to try the same trick on Angélique to discover her true nature. Angélique is devastated, even when Cléante enters, declaring that out of respect for her father's dying wish she will become a nun. Argan arises and hugs his daughter. All are delighted. Argan agrees to the marriage of Angélique and Cléante, as long as Cléante becomes a doctor. But Béralde suggests that Argan should just become a doctor instead and treat himself. Argan is thrilled with the idea. Especially when Béralde knows people who can make him a doctor that very night. The play concludes with Argan’s initiation into the medical profession with lots of pomp and ceremony.
CHARACTERS Argan, Béline, Angélique, Louison, Béralde, Toinette,
a wealthy man with hypochondria his second wife his elder daughter his younger daughter his brother their maid
Bonnefoi, Cléante, Diafoirus, Thomas Diafoirus, Fleurant, Purgon,
a lawyer a suitor a doctor his son Argan’s herbalist Argan’s doctor
The President of the Institute Doctors Herbalists Barber-surgeons
SETTING The drawing room of Argan’s house in Paris during the reign of Louis XIV
PRE PRODUCTION ACTIVITIES The aim of these activities is to encourage students to identify and think about the issues of the play, to develop an understanding of the context of the play, to be open to a contemporary presentation of a play written in 1673 and to have a good laugh! These activities can be adapted for both middle school and senior school students. Themes and Ideas
o o o o o o o o o o o
Hypochondria Self-delusion Illusion vs delusion Fear of mortality To die with dignity Greed Manipulation Gullibility Deception Dependency Quackery
¾ Explore understanding of the above. Students identify the ideas that have significant meaning to their world. ¾ Comedy. What makes us laugh? Brainstorm comic productions, films or television programs. What do we enjoy about these? Identify elements of comedy, both verbal and visual gags. 8
¾ Understanding of the world of Molière – his life, his times and theatrical traditions (Molière notes p15 ) o Students use these notes as a springboard to further research. o Students view the film Molière (2007) o Molière has often been referred to as the “Shakespeare of France”, students chart comparisons between theatre in Shakespeare’s times, 17th century France and modern times. (For an interesting visual representation of Shakespeare’s and Molière’s times, view the films, Shakespeare in Love (1998) and /or Molière (2007) ¾ Research Commedia dell’arte: origin, stock scenario and characters and lazzi (Commedia overview p18 ). o Discuss the idea of arranged marriages. Improvise a scenario of a daughter who is contracted to marry a man she dislikes. o Students to devise their own scenario using stock characters and lazzi which focus on the master – servant relationship. o Students to play with improvised individual and partner improvisations from the suggested Commedia activities p20 . ¾ What is satire, what is farce? Satire is (defn) the use of ridicule, irony, sarcasm to expose folly or vice or to lampoon an individual [or group of people]. Farce is (defn) a coarsely comic dramatic work based on ludicrously improbable events [and exaggerated characters]. In addition to the influence of the Italian Commedia dell’arte, another source of influence on Molière’s work was the French tradition of the farce. The farce held society up to ridicule with its primary aim to provoke hearty laughter. Molière first became well known for his farces and constantly returned to this source. Molière’s last play, The Hypochondriac is largely farcical. o Read Paul Galloway’s article on ‘Molière - the comedian’ (p22). Discuss. o Students to peruse the headlines of local and national newspapers and list events or behaviours that could be regarded as ridiculous. e.g. politicians, celebrities, controversies, fashion etc. Students to improvise a scene or conduct an interview or improvise a panel show or news report that satirises one of these topics. ¾ Research medical practices of the seventeenth century (overview p23) o Students to read Argan’s opening speech Act one, scene one (see script extracts p25) and identify references to the medical practices of the time. ¾ Stuart Day’s compositions for this production of The Hypochondriac have been inspired by the French baroque composer, François Couperin. Read background information about Monsieur Couperin and and the spinet (p24). ¾ Introduce students to the synopsis of the play and discuss the appeal and information that is required on a poster advertising such a production. o Students to look at different posters of Molière’s The Hypochondriac (also known as The Imaginary Invalid) on the next page. Compare the target audience and appeal of each image or poster. Which one appeals most and why? 9
¾ On their poster, Brink Productions has used the phrase … “Before Blackadder and the Holy Grail there was ……” What is the impact of this phrase on students’ understanding and anticipation of the play? ¾ Many theatres in seventeenth century France had a proscenium arch and used perspective drawing for the scenery (refer Molière notes p15). The setting of The Hypochondriac is the drawing room of Argan’s house in Paris during the reign of Louis XIV. How would students design a performance space for a production of The Hypochondriac? Look below at some ideas from other productions:
PRIOR TO VIEWING THE PERFORMANCE As part of any preparation of going to the theatre, whether it be for the sheer excitement of a shared experience or analysis in preparation for formative or summative assessment tasks, consideration of the production elements of a performance enhances enjoyment and understanding. Some preparation of the following may assist students to more fully enjoy the theatrical experience, be it a student’s first time or for more ‘seasoned’ senior students.
¾ Consider appropriate expectations of the audience when attending a live performance. What is theatre etiquette? What is expected from an audience’s response to different types of performances and venues? ¾ Audience members respond to different elements of a performance – it may be the skills of the actor, dialogue, design concept, movement and use of the space, the pace of the performance or the technical aspects of lighting, sound and set. List the essential production elements that enable the audience to understand how and why meaning is delivered in a performance. Students to explore their preferences and explain to the class or in small groups which element(s) they respond to most. 10
POST PERFORMANCE ACTIVITIES These activities essentially focus on questions for analysis of various production elements. These can lead to improvisation, text analysis and response, preparation for student review and individual study in middle school and senior Drama courses.
¾ The first moments of a performance capture an audience and clinch the dynamic interaction between actor and audience. How did students respond to the stage business, music and Argan’s dialogue in the Prologue and Act one, scene one? (extract p25) How did this “set the scene” for the rest of the play? What was anticipated? ¾ What were the “ah-haa” moments as the play progressed – the moments when questions were answered, revelations made, motivations understood etc. ¾ Discuss the effectiveness of the Finale. Comment on how Latin has been used in this adaptation (script extract p28 - 36). Molière’s use of Latin, and Paul Galloway’s subsequent adaptation, uses this as an element of satire; how has this been realised by the director and the ensemble cast? How has the scene been contemporarised? What are your favourite lines? ¾ Characters: o Compare the scenario and characters in The Hypochondriac with that of the Commedia dell’arte (notes p18). o What is the impact of particular characters in a play – e.g. Argan, Toinette, Béralde? What is the purpose of these roles in the play? Are they stock characters for a comic plot? Do they mirror or contradict or satirise attitudes of the time? o Relationships between characters: Argan and Toinette, Angélique and Toinette, Angélique and Cléante, Argan and Béline, Angélique and Béline, Argan and Béralde to name a few. What do we understand about these relationships as soon as we see them? What are the dynamics of these relationships? How do the actors show this? ¾ Script extracts: o Specifically, Act three, scene two (p26). Read the dialogue between Argan and Béralde. What is Béralde’s point of view? Is Béralde a mouthpiece for Molière’s point of view? Does this scene shift the mood of the play? o Act three, scene four (p27). Read more dialogue between Argan and Béralde. What is the specific point that Béralde is trying to get across to Argan in this scene? Identify what is ironic about these lines? ¾ Reference is often made to the physicality of Molière’s dialogue, the heightened energy. Identify moments of comic business that were delightful, surprising or hysterical. ¾ Consider the skills of the actors. Did you find their work believable within the context of a farce? Actors have been known to comment on the discipline of comedy – the timing, rhythm etc. Identify moments when the actors showed this. 11
¾ How did the actors use the space? Comment on how the physical entrances and exits were established. What is a vomitory? What importance was given to the use of the vomitory as an entrance or exit? What impact did the “semi”- round have on the engagement of the audience? ¾ How has the musician become another character in the play? What does this role bring to the performance? When did the music reflect or enhance mood?
Set Model for Brink Productions’ The Hypochondriac © 2009 Wendy Todd, Designer
¾ Wendy Todd was given a design brief to “strip back to the bare basics” of 17th century France. How has this been achieved? Identify examples of the design that are contemporary but still reflect an essence of 17th century France. Were there any elements that surprised? ¾ Describe Geoff Cobham’s lighting design. Consider its effectiveness in highlighting and / or complementing the stage design. ¾ Discuss the effectiveness of the costume designs. How did costume reflect or extend the design brief? How has costume reflected the character? Consider tone of colour and line of design that has been used; what effect does this have on the mood and/or setting of the play? What is your response to the impact of the white/pale face? Argan
Costume Drawings for Brink Productions’ The Hypochondriac © 2009 Wendy Todd, Designer
¾ Revisit theme & ideas, eg self delusion; what is the effect of only seeing what you want to believe, what happens when reliance on experts replaces independence? Which themes and ideas have relevance to students after viewing the performance? ¾ Student discussion re “big picture” concepts of the meaning of theatrical engagement; what is it that takes the audience beyond what is seen and heard to the point of emotional connection with the production? ¾ “The playwright’s view of a situation or theme and the value he/she assigns to it will determine whether the audience considers a situation to be serious or comic or remain completely indifferent …. The common denominator from comedy to comedy is the playwright’s comic view of life which essentially celebrates humankind’s capacity to endure …The serious becomes funny when our serious expectations are undercut by some ludicrous, incongruous element, some falling short (Thomas Diafoirus?)”2. Consider these quotes in the context of the plot, characters and themes of The Hypochondriac. ¾ Senior students may find a discussion about the relevance of theatre in our lives worthwhile. How can a seventeenth century French play still be meaningful to a contemporary Australian audience? Students may wish to consider the notes by director, Chris Drummond and the realisation of the play on stage. Also, Molière’s skill (and that of Paul Galloway’s adaptation) in making a serious matter comical. “Molière teaches us the unspeakably difficult art of seeing ourselves in spite of ourselves”3
REFERENCES http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Molière http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Imaginary_Invalid http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Commedia_dell’arte http://www.shakespearefest.org/study_guides.htm http://www.pleiadestheatre.org/docs/studyguide-DTBS.doc http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/François_Couperin http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinet Images: http://www.google.com.au (The Imaginary Invalid) http://www.youtube.com (The Imaginary Invalid) Film: Molière directed by Laurent Tirard, screen writers Laurent Tirard & Grégoire Vigneron (2007) Shakespeare in Love directed by John Madden, screenwriters Tom Stoppard & Marc Norman (1998) Texts: The Italian Comedy by Ducharte (Dover 1966) Commedia dell’arte – a scene study book by Baru Rolfe (Personabooks, California USA) The World of Theatre by Robert W Corrigan (Scott, Foresman & Co 1979) The Theatre: a concise history by Phyllis Hartnoll (Thames & Hudson 1985) Styles of Acting by Elaine Adams Novak (Prentice-Hill Inc 1985) The Essential Theatre (4th edition) by Oscar G Brockett (Holt, Rhinehart & Winston Inc 1988)
The World of Theatre Robert W Corrigan (Scott, Foresman & Co 1979) Molière, the Man Seen Through the Plays (Hill and Wang 1958)
BIOGRAPHY of Paul Galloway- writer Paul Galloway is a Melbourne-based writer specialising in the arts. He has worked as a copy-writer, journalist, publicist, dramaturge and playwright. He currently writes and edits Melbourne Theatre Company publications. From 1995 to 2002, Galloway wrote a weekly theatre column for Brisbane News and was from 1997 to 1998 Brisbane theatre writer and reviewer for the Bulletin magazine. He has also written for the Courier Mail, the Australian and the Age. His play Great Leaders of the Twentieth Century won the 2001 QTC/Courier-Mail George Landan Dann Award and was subsequently presented in a rehearsed-reading at the 2001 Brisbane Writers’ Festival. In 2002 Brisbane’s Cathedrals Week presented his play for one actor and choir, Low Sunday, about the anti-Nazi theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. His play Realism won the 2007 Wal Cherry Award for Best New Play and was short-listed for the 2007 Patrick White Award. It had its world premiere in the new Sumner Theatre 4 April –17 May this year, presented by Melbourne Theatre Company, directed by Peter Evans and included Miriam Margolyes as one of the cast. Educated at the University of Queensland, Galloway was co-founder of ACRONYM Theatre Company in Brisbane and directed their productions of The Visit, King Lear, Too Clever by Half, As You Like It, Teechers, Cyrano de Bergerac, A Place with the Pigs, and Bent. As an actor he appeared in Hell and Hay for La Boite; Peer Gynt and Lulu for Fractal Theatre; A Place with the Pigs and Bent for ACRONYM; and Low Sunday for Brisbane Cathedrals Week.
BIOGRAPHY of Chris Drummond - director Chris Drummond is the Artistic Director of Brink Productions. For Brink he has directed Beetle Graduation by Susan Rogers, When the Rain Stops Falling by Andrew Bovell (created in collaboration with visual artist Hossein Valamanesh and Brink for the 2008 Adelaide Festival), The Clockwork Forest by Doug MacLeod (commissioned and developed by Brink with Windmill Performing Arts), This Uncharted Hour by Finegan Kruckemeyer (commissioned and developed in collaboration with Brink and new music collective, The Firm) and Drums in the Night by Bertolt Brecht (adapted and translated by Finegan Kruckemeyer in collaboration with Brink). His production of When the Rain Stops Falling has won a swathe of awards including a 2008 Ruby Award, Oscarts 2008, two 2008 Adelaide Critics Circle Awards and two 2008 Curtain Call Awards. Drums in the Night was winner of the 2005 Curtain Call Award for best drama. As Associate Artist with the State Theatre Company of South Australia from 2001 to 2004 Chris directed and coadapted (with Susan Rogers) Robert Dessaix’s novel Night Letters for the 2004 Adelaide Festival, touring it to Melbourne in co-production with Playbox. Night Letters was nominated for a number of awards including two Helpmanns, five Victoria Green Room Awards and was short-listed for the 2005 NSW Premier’s Literary Award for playwriting. Also for STCSA, Chris directed drowning in my ocean of You by Fiona Sprott (developed as part of the STCSA On Site Theatre Laboratory), The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, The Dying Gaul by Craig Lucas and Art by Yasmina Reza. Freelance credits include Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare, Play With Repeats by Martin Crimp, Slum Clearance by Vaclav Havel, Wreckage by Hilary Bell, The Armed Exhibitionist by Susan Rogers and mph by Sean Riley. Chris has worked as director and dramaturg with a range of companies and institutions including AC Arts, Flinders University, NIDA, Griffin Theatre, the Australian National Playwrights’ Centre and the National Playwrights’ Conference. Chris was recipient of an Arts SA Emerging Artist’s Award in 1999 and is a graduate of the University of Adelaide.
MOLIÈRE – his times Molière’s lifetime (1662 – 1673) embraces only a fraction of the period known in French and European history as the “Age of Louis XIV”. Born in 1638, Louis XIV was proclaimed king after the death of Louis XIII in 1643 and later crowned in 1654. It was not until 1661 that the young monarch became ruler in fact as well as name by asserting his authority. Until his death in 1715, Louis XIV governed as an absolute autocrat under his doctrine of “I am the State”. He spent large sums of money on wars to gain military supremacy for France. In addition to the cost of many people’s lives, Louis XIV’s military campaigns impoverished France (this is said to have contributed to the unrest which grew into the French Revolution in 1789). Contemporary philosophy centred on the ‘Honest Man’ ideal and was concerned with the emotions of man. Groups of people aligned themselves with particular aspects of this philosophy. These included dévots (devotees) who were ultra religious and particularly obsessive about religious practice - they were particularly influential in Louis XIV’s court. There were the libertines, who believed in the power and free will of man and also the préciosité (precious) who took manners and refinement to exaggerated proportions. This social phenomenon was reflected in literature and meant that one would raise oneself above the level of commonness. “Conversation” and language were all important. They were to be cultivated and refined. Gallantry, discretion and politeness, without repression (hence duels) were the order of the day. People would gather at salons and converse and get involved in ‘debates’ about the arts, sciences and politics. These “beautiful people” influenced fashion of the day with the exaggeration of long wigs, hats, feathers, cuffs, fans and parasols for the ladies, canes and snuffboxes for the men and handkerchiefs for both ladies and men. Although French literature was already blossoming before Louis XIV took the throne, he greatly encouraged the arts in fostering the brilliance of the “Classical Age” in French culture. Louis XIV provided royal patronage, wealth and audiences which artists required for their endeavours. The elements of Classicism included harmony, order, pattern, no chaos and balance and were purported to be reflected in the drama, music, art, architecture and politics of the time. Cardinal Richelieu, the prime minister of Louis XIII, wrote plays and was influential in protecting theatre. He and other important Frenchmen had already established neoclassicism as the dominant style of French theatre and were greatly influenced by the Italian renaissance. Richelieu established a group called The French Academy (formed in 1635) that became the watchdog of all literary works and were vigilant in theatre keeping to rules. Plays, for instance had to follow the three unities of time, place and action (one day, one locale and one plot). Tragedy and comedy were not to be mixed. Tragic plays by Pierre Corneille (1606 – 1684) and Jean Racine (1639 – 1699) dominated French theatre. Tragedy was looked upon as the highest form of dramatic art; it was firmly believed that all art must follow the pattern of the classics, the Greek and Roman models, and adhere to the theories of Aristotle. Aristocratic audiences preferred the tragedy, many believing that comedy was for the common people and middle classes. No great attention was devoted to the theatrical form and techniques of comedy. Molière set the standard for comedy. He refined and improved previous comedy techniques, adding his wit and satiric touches with tightened plot lines and creating remarkable and memorable characterisations. Seventeenth century French theatre companies were set up in a similar manner to that of Elizabethan times in England. Parisian acting troupes usually had ten to fifteen shareholders plus others whom they hired. Women had acted on French stages since the early seventeenth century and were allowed to be shareholders. At the end of their productions, performance costs were deducted from the takings and the remainder divided amongst the shareholders. Leading companies received a subsidy and patronage from the king and the aristocracy. Molière was involved in every aspect of theatre as an actor, writer and producer. Molière’s plays were often performed in the Palais Royal which had a proscenium arch stage, a box, pit and gallery for the audience. Stage construction was influenced by sixteenth century principals of perspective with a unified set of wings, drops and borders. These three scenic elements were drawn from a fixed eye point somewhere in the auditorium (usually where the king sat). The floor was raked upwards (hence upstage and downstage) and the height of the side wings diminished as they receded from the audience. Both these features helped perspective achieve greater apparent depth. The goal was to create a complete and convincing picture. This stage design however compelled actors to perform in a fairly limited space downstage with few props or furniture. Actors stood in an erect posture while using a full resonant voice with arm movements. These movements
were stately and unhurried to reflect the grandeur, dignity and grace of tragedy, which dominated theatre at the time. Acting in Molière’s company was quite different. Apart from the physicality used by his stock characters from Commedia dell’arte, Molière urged his actors to become their characters, to look thoughtful, to speak naturally and to gesture realistically. His plays often made fun of the oratorical style of acting and even poked fun at a tragedienne who always smiled through her supposed sufferings. MOLIÈRE – his life Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known as Molière, (January 15, 1622 - February 17, 1673) was born to Jean Poquelin, a tapestry maker, who served as valet de chambre to Louis XIII, and Marie Cressé, the daughter of a prosperous bourgeois family. After his mother's death in 1632, he lived with his father on the rue Saint-Honoré in an affluent quartier of Paris. It is likely that his education commenced with studies in a Parisian petty school; this was followed with his enrollment in the prestigious Jesuit College de Clermont (now Lycée Louis-le-Grand), where he completed his studies in a strict academic environment. At the age of 18 Jean Poquelin arranged for his son to receive his title, "Tapissier ordinaire de la chambre du Roi" which means “valet of the King’s chamber and keeper of carpets and upholstery". Some time around 1642, Jean-Baptiste also studied as a provincial lawyer. It is not documented that he ever qualified. So far he had followed the plan of his father and it had served him well; he had mingled with nobility at the College and seemed destined for a career in office. However Jean-Baptiste soon became disenchanted with his father's plans. At age 21 he decided that he preferred a career on the stage. In June 1643 he abandoned his social class and family's plans for his future and pursued the theatre and founded L'Illustre Théâtre. Moliere acted, directed, wrote and produced the company’s plays. This theatre troupe became bankrupt in 1645 having acquired large debts, mostly for the rent of the theatre. Jean-Baptiste had become head of the troupe, due in part, perhaps, to his acting prowess and his legal training and as such was responsible for the company. It was at this time that he began to use the pseudonym Molière. It was likely that he had changed his name to spare his father the shame of having an actor in the family (actors, although no longer vilified by the state under Louis XIV, were still regarded as inferior). After his imprisonment, Moliere’s company began a theatrical circuit of the provinces. This life was to last about twelve years and in the course of his travels he met the Prince of Conti, the governor of Languedoc, who became his patron, and named his company Troupe de Molière. In 1658 Molière gradually returned to Paris, and with the reputation of his comedies having preceded him, he procured a command performance before King Louis XIV where he played in Corneille's tragedy Nicomède (which apparently was a dismal failure) and his own farce, Le docteur amoureux (The Doctor in Love), with great success. Louis XIV was so delighted by Molière’s work that his company was awarded the title of Troupe de Monsieur (Monsieur being the honorific for the king's brother Philippe I, Duke of Orléans). His company soon became firmly established at the Louvre in the Salle du Petit-Bourbon, a spacious room appointed for theatrical performances. On November 18, 1659, he performed the premiere of Les Précieuses Ridicules (The Affected Young Ladies) which was the first of Molière's many attempts to satirise certain societal mannerisms and affectations then common in France. He primarily mocked the Académie Française, a group created by Cardinal Richelieu, to organise and classify the rules of French theatre. Les Précieuses Ridicules won Molière the attention and the criticism of many. Molière continued to write plays by his own rules; he wanted to depict human nature and contemporary life which often meant satirising the vices of society. He essentially wanted to please the public, to make them laugh, and when inundated with criticism and protests claimed that the public was the judge. Molière came under more attack when he produced the notable L'École des femmes (The School for Wives) which poked fun at the limited education that was given to daughters of rich families. The play sparked the protest called the "Quarrel of L'École des femmes" to which Molière responded with his usual wit and mockery. But more serious opposition was brewing, focusing on Molière's politics and his personal life. A so-called Parti des Dévots arose in French high society. This group protested against Molière's excessive “literary realism” and irreverence, which were causing some embarrassment in court. The Prince of Conti, once Molière's friend, had joined them having acquired a religious advisor [as was the style at the time] who counseled Conti against maintaining actors and encouraged him to join Molière's enemies in the Parti des Dévots and the Compagnie de Saint Sacrement.
Despite this Molière’s position in court was still secure and in 1662 his company moved to the grander Théâtre du Palais-Royal. The King expressed his solidarity with the author, granting him a pension and in 1664 agreed to be the godfather of Molière's first son. Molière continued as the official author of court entertainments. Molière's friendship with Jean Baptiste Lully, the royal court composer, was influential in his writing of musical comedies, in which the drama is interrupted by songs and dance or a combination of both. These were written as royal “divertissements” (amusing diversions) for the King at his palace at Versailles. Though he received the adulation of the court and Parisians, Molière's satires attracted more and more criticism from moralists and the Church. When Le Tartuffe, ou L'Imposteur (The Imposter) was performed at Versailles, in 1664, it created the greatest scandal of Molière's artistic career. Its depiction of religious hypocrisy and that of the dominant classes received condemnations from the Church; it was considered an outrage and violently contested. It aroused the wrath of the Jansenists who were powerful members of the Roman Catholic Church. The play was banned. Moliére was always careful not to attack the institution of the monarchy. He earned a position as one of the King's favorites and enjoyed his protection from the attacks of the court. The King allegedly suggested that Molière suspend the performances of Tartuffe, and the author rapidly wrote Don Juan, to replace it. It describes the story of an atheist who becomes a religious hypocrite and for this is punished by God. This work too was quickly suspended. The King, demonstrating his protection once again, became the new official sponsor of Molière's troupe granting it the title "Troupe du Roi" (The King's Troupe). In 1666, Molière's Le Misanthrope (The Misanthrope) was produced. It again satirised the hypocrisies of French aristocratic society, but it also engaged a more serious tone when pointing out the flaws which all humans possess. The play differed from other farces at the time by employing dynamic characters as opposed to the traditionally flat characters used by most satirists to criticise problems in society. It also differs from most of Molière's other works by focusing more on character development than on plot progression. It is now widely regarded as Molière's most refined masterpiece, however it was little appreciated at the time and was a commercial flop, forcing Molière to immediately write Le Médecin malgré lui (The Doctor Despite Himself), a satire against the official sciences. This was a success despite a moral treatise by the Prince of Conti, criticising the theatre in general and Molière in particular. MOLIÈRE – his death. Molière depicted the physicians of his day as pompous individuals who speak (poor) Latin to impress others with false erudition, and know only purging and bleeding as (ineffective) remedies. Molière explored this theme in greater depth when he wrote his last farce, The Hypochondriac. The Hypochondriac has been referred to as a “poison pen letter” on Molière’s part, to the medical profession. When he was writing this, his last play, he had been suffering from a chronic pulmonary infection for quite some time. It had now become so severe that he could no longer perform. He was too weak for the activity required on stage and a persistent cough made it impossible to disguise his illness. Rather than give up the profession, Molière instead created the character of Argan for himself. Argan, as a hypochondriac, allowed Molière to perform nearly the entire play from his chair. And the cough which Molière could not stifle would be Argan's proof and reminder of his illness to anybody nearby. The playwright wrote himself a role that he could perform even in his infirmity. It is ironic that the very ill Molière chose to play the role of a hypochondriac. His last comedy opened to rave reviews. It was declared to be one of his most vivacious comedies and his performance as Argan was widely praised. Molière’s criticism of doctors was much warranted. All of Paris laughed at the comedy and at the doctors whom it mocks. On the day of February 17th, 1673, before the fourth performance of The Hypochondriac, Molière was so weak and he was urged to remain home in bed and cancel the performance. Molière reportedly replied "Can I refuse to go on when so many persons' bread depends upon it? I should reproach myself for the distress I might cause them, having sufficient strength to prevent it." Rather than considering his failing strength and health, he thought only of the actors who would not be paid were he to cancel the show. Again, it is ironic that such a man would have created the role of a petulant, demanding and self-centred miser for himself. Molière made it all the way through the show until the last line that Argan speaks as he is being made a doctor in the final interlude. Then a coughing fit seized him as the play ended and he was rushed home just after the curtain closed. No doctors would attend on him because he had so often poked fun at their profession, but Molière would have refused their services anyway. Similarly, because of his play Tartuffe, which mocked certain undesirable aspects of
the clergy, no priests would consent to see him. Molière was attended at the last by two nuns to whom he had given shelter. He died that afternoon. Actors of the day were considered second-class citizens at best and were often excommunicated and refused burial on consecrated land unless they were willing to repent their lives and profession. Eventually Molière’s widow, petitioned the King to give Molière a respectable burial and last rights. A long-time patron and fan, the King agreed and Molière's body was buried in the part of the cemetery reserved for unbaptised infants. In his 15 years in Paris, Molière single-handedly wrote 31 of the 85 plays performed on his stage while simultaneously holding his company together.Among Molière's best-known dramas are Le Misanthrope, (The Misanthrope), L'école des femmes (The School for Wives), Tartuffe ou l'Imposteur, (Tartuffe or the Hypocrite), L'Avare ou l'École du mensonge (The Miser), Don Juan and Le Malade imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid). In 1680 Louis XIV merged the theatrical company of Molière with another group to form the Comèdie Française (French National Theatre), known also as the ‘House of Molière’. More than three hundred years later this company continues to perform the plays of Molière and other French classic writers. Retrieved and compiled from http://en.wikipedia.org and various sources
COMMEDIA DELL' ARTE Commedia dell' arte is regarded to be the most influential theatrical force shaping the history of comedy. It originated in the market places of the Italian streets in the early 15th century and is a form of improvisational theatre. Originally performed by wandering players, usually a family group, they migrated between towns, playing the occasions where they could pick up the most money. Because the group was consistent and they performed together a great deal, they got to know what sort of performance to expect from each other and so scripts, even if the group could write, were not written. Arte means craft or skill and street performers became skilled professionals usually forming a troupe of about twelve to fifteen members under an acknowledged leader. The travelling troupe carried portable equipment which included basic props, costumes, canvas scenery and a platform stage for outside performances. They began donning masks with exaggerated comical features to draw attention to themselves. These masks were half masks and made of leather and although tough, could be moulded to the actor’s face and allowed the actor’s skin to breathe under them. Each actor specialised in one, sometimes two, masks and combined with a basic scenario (usually posted backstage), clowning, acrobatics, bawdiness, music and dance they could successfully play this improvisational form. The performing troupes were accessible to all social classes and the subject matter was always contemporary. With the mask concealing their identity, the performers could ridicule any aspect of society and its institutions. No-one was safe. Ironically, the more trouble the troupes were in, the more popular and successful they became. They worked from basic scenarios (a list of the scenes which sometimes included the names of characters who were to perform in each scene). This meant it was very versatile and depended on the creativity of the company and their ability to improvise. What was popular was played the most. The story usually explored the conflict between master (vecchi) and servant (zanni). The traditional plot was about the loves of young people (the innamorati), the jealousies and rivalries of the old and the intrigues of servants. The plot was developed by devices such as disguises, misunderstandings, kidnappings, shipwrecks, spells and magic. It was peoples' theatre, rough, rude and lusty. It made swipes at the ruling class. The servants were usually the heroes, suffering under unjust masters but finding a way round them. Typically, the story ends happily, with forgiveness for any wrongdoings.
Since the productions were improvised, dialogue and action could easily be changed to satirise local scandals, current events or regional issues, while still using old jokes and punch lines. The plot could change at the slightest whim of the crowd. If something wasn't working the actors would change it. It wasn't so difficult with an improvised plot and lots of comic business or routines called lazzi. Because the troupe often performed outside to large crowds there were the inevitable sight problems and with limited performing space (often a raised platform), dependence on movement and plot restrictions, actors needed to entertain with large visual humour and thus a series of stereotyped characters emerged. They were identified by costumes, mask and even props, such as the battacchio (slap stick)4 carried by Arlecchino.
The masked characters: Pantalone (vecchi): He is a master, old, crotchety, usually sick, tall, thin, sexually attracted to female servants and avaricious. He can switch from being sick to being lusty in seconds. He is sometimes vicious, the butt of jokes and abettor to tricks. Pantalone's standard reaction to bad news or surprise is a ridiculous backfall. Il Dottore (vecchi): He is a doctor, not only of medicine, who plays the role of a master. He is not usually dictatorial but is often pompous and other-worldly. He is an exaggeration of the idea of an academic being intelligent but not smart. Il Captano (vecchi): He is a man full of self-importance and relies on his reputation. He is vain, a boaster, and thinks he makes girls swoon. It is all bravado and he is usually a coward, not very bright, and women see him as grotesque and ridiculous. He is an officer in the army. Arlecchino (zanni): Also known as Harlequin. Typically acrobatic and mischievous. He is a servant who is always plotting and planning and constantly tries to trick his master. Brighella (zanni): A servant, crafty, cunning, cynical and after what he can get out of the world. He has a regional accent. His job is to guide the action of the comedy by stirring it up with intrigues. He is usually a singer and player of various instruments. Colombina (zanni): Developed as the female counterpart to Arlecchino to add romantic intrigue. She is a servant who frequently initiates the plot and is portrayed as clever, crafty and untamed. Unmasked characters: Lovers: they were usually star-crossed, young, naive, unable to meet or marry until the servants lent a hand. They were fairly bland people, the stereotype beautiful couple. Maid: There is usually a maid figure too, sometimes unmasked. She is there to be the point through which the audience views the play and who explains what is going on. Commedia dell' arte has continued to be a pervasive comic influence. The reliance on stereotyped characters, masks, broad physical gestures, improvised dialogue and clowning represents the very theatricality of comedy. Without the ingenuity of these 15th century Italian troupes, Shakespeare may not have been inspired to write As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing or Twelfth Night. This comic tradition has continued through to Burlesque and Vaudeville, and its influence can be seen in the likes of Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers and Buster Keaton and contemporaries such as Mel Brookes, John Cleese, Rowan Atkinson, Ricki Gervais, Chris Lilley, Monty Python and The Mighty Bhoosh. Retrieved and compiled from http://en.wikipedia.org and various sources
A club-like object composed of two wooden slats used in Commedia dell’arte. When struck, the battacchio produces a loud smacking noise, though little force is transferred from the object to the person being struck. Actors may thus hit one another repeatedly with great audible effect while causing very little actual physical damage. Slapstick has become known as a type of comedy involving exaggerated extreme physical violence or activities which exceed the boundaries of common sense, such as a character being hit in the face with a heavy frying pan or running into a brick wall. The performance of slapstick comedy requires exquisite timing and skillful execution.
COMEDIA DELL’ARTE ACTIVITIES: These activities can be explored before and/or after the production. Stock character names could also be replaced with names of characters from The Hypochondriac.
THE LOVERS are destined to be in love from birth. They are young trendies, usually the son and daughters of two of the masters, but are genuinely unconcerned about their parents because they care only about themselves, each other and the love that they share. Their love is completely blind. They will do anything to be together. They are often forbidden to see one another.
In pairs, experiment with the two names Lelio and Isabella, each in turn delivering the name to the other. The dialogue should range from passionate to coy to angry to apologetic. From shy to hysterical, romantic to depressed. Experiment with pace, tone, pause, repetition and power. Add gesture.
Sit with a friend and tell him/her about the charms of your love. Describe their face, hair, eyes, voice, figure, clothing, the way they walk, mannerisms (eg. use similes like "Her/his smile is like a ray of sunshine on a winter’s day, her/his skin is like silk.")
IL DOTTORE is a doctor of any subject. An expert in any subject that the plot demands. He is an
inexhaustible bag of hot air, pedantic, tunnel visioned, a middle aged man who has the answer for every problem, usually the wrong one. The character is often short sighted, wears glasses, academic robes or a surgeon’s garb. Always ready to tell you how great he is.
You have been asked a simple question. Find as many ways to ponder its complexity as possible, eg. scratching the head, 'the thinker'. When you are just about to answer, change your mind and go on thinking.
With a partner, devise an examination for a simple ailment, inventing the tests, and discussing the problem using as many big words as possible, so the patient doesn't understand. Devise a bizarre treatment that will leave the patient worse off than when they started.
Yes Sirs, I practice medicine out of pure love for it. I nurse, I purge, I sound, I operate, I saw, I cup, I snip, I slash, I smash, I split, I break, I extract, and tear, and cut, and dislocate, and dissect, and trim, and slice, and of course I show no quarter! I am a veritable avalanche of medicine. Not only that, but I am the bane of all maladies whatsoever. I exterminate all fevers and chills, the itch, stink-foot, scurvy, pox, yellow bile, dangy fever, jungle rot, yaws, the English and/or French disease, gravel, both wind colic and/or ordinary colic, without counting those serious and light illnesses which bear the same name. In short, I wage such cruel and relentless warfare against all forms of illness that when I see a disorder becoming ineradicable in a patient I even go so far as to kill him in order to relieve him of his disorder!
COLUMBINA is a flirtatious, warm-hearted young maid-servant. She is full of common sense and will take
no nonsense from anyone. MIME/VOICE
She tries on make-up belonging to her mistress - lots of powders, perfume, eyelashes, and various jewels. Suddenly, she hears her mistress coming, and pretends to be dusting with a feather duster. 20
PANTALONE is a dithering old idiot, usually somebody's ancient father. A ridiculous miserly, old man, he
usually spends half his time complaining about his aches and pains. He walks with his toes turned in - and wears a darkish brown half mask with a hooked nose. He is often described as being a middle aged merchant, sometimes lecherous, often greedy, and ambitious and often cuckolded. MIME
He is counting all his money, but keeps dropping and losing it, forgetting where he put it. His spectacles fall off his nose, and he shuffles back and forth to an imaginary cupboard where he locks all his money. Then he forgets where he put the key.
(with Colombina) She tries to get as much money out of the old man as she possibly can. Her stockings are full of holes; she is hungry; she needs ribbons, gloves. She gives him kisses and even promises to marry him. He asks, "Do you love me?" and she says (after pocketing the money safely) "I would, but I have one, two, three, four, five children at home and a husband!"
The PLEASE, NO, game. (Pantalone and Colombina)The master and servant are disagreeing about something that one of them must do. One character must only use the word NO and the other use the word YES. All other meaning must be conveyed through the pace, tone, repetition, volume, pause and gesture movement.
MOLIÈRE – the comedian. As an actor, Molière was not made for tragedy, though there’s no doubt that he would have liked to have been. When he was starting out, all the great actors were tragedians, just as all the great plays were tragedies. But his fleshy, pop-eyed face, slight hunch and bow-legged gait counted against him on the tragic stage. Worse was his voice, which had an unfortunate and uncontrollable hiccup when stressing final consonants, adding an extra little ah! to his words. In rapid delivery it disappeared, but a fast-talking tragic hero was not the style of the day. Molière’s tragedy was to excel at comedy. And Molière triumph was to raise comedy’s status to be tragedy’s equal. (Or near equal: a general condescension towards comedy will always be with us.) His renovation of the form occurred in stages, and the pressure of writing for the court of Louis XIV helped. For one thing, he knew he had an appreciative, literate audience who would be alive to the subtleties of character and the satirical note he introduced. More crucially, though, courtiers were preoccupied with behaviour and maintaining their social masks, and, since laughter arises most easily out of our fears, this gave Molière his recurring themes: pretension and hypocrisy. He struck his first blow against pretension with his one act farce Les Précieuses ridicules (1659) that mocked the literary salons. The two ingénues in the story dump their honest, plain-speaking suitors for the affectations of the salon and the high flown bulldust of two pseudo-intellectuals. It gave the theatre something new; what would later be called ‘comedy of manners’. Responding to the scandal the play threw up, Molière stated his somewhat post hoc manifesto: ‘The correction of social absurdities must at all times be the matter of true comedy.’ Les Précieuses ridicules got up the retroussé noses of the literati not least because Molière placed his satire of them within the vulgar buffoonery of a farce. It was insult by association. In later plays, the routines of the Commedia formed the plot mechanisms that Molière found he could keep turning while developing his moral and satirical arguments. He began to develop his characters too, placing the pasteboard figures of farce into greater and greater relief. When his first major success, L’École des femmes (The School for Wives), hit the boards in 1662, it seemed to cause as much confusion as laughter. Its main character, Arnolphe, is the first of Molière’s great obsessives. His overwhelming fear of becoming a cuckold has led him to raise a peasant girl in a convent to marriageable age. A completely innocent wife, he believes, will stay faithful. Of course, the girl, Agnès, falls in love with someone else on her first day out and elopes. The ending was completely novel. Arnolphe has recaptured Agnès and is about to lash out at her in fury, but he can’t. He discovers to his surprise that he is in love. He tells her this in the naïve belief that the strength of his feelings must make a difference to hers. It doesn’t, of course. She pities him but cannot love him. He gets angry again and threatens to return her to the convent, but she stands her ground. All this emotional to-ing and fro-ing was an astounding innovation. Everyone expected a comedy to be resolved quickly, unambiguously and happily, so what was this? Molière wrote Arnolphe, not as the aging cuckold of tradition, but as a complex character with an uncertain inner life, and to many minds this equivocation muddled the ending. One contemporary pamphleteer, disturbed by its mixture of realism and farce, called the play ‘a monster’ and condemned its flaunting of the Aristotelian unities. The realism was helped along by the playing, which in Molière’s company was sprightly and relaxed, a manner learnt from the Italian comedians who improvised their routines. Turning his predilection into a principle, Molière declared in his defence that a comic character had to be drawn from nature, the more natural the funnier. As for his play’s flaunting the neo-classical rules, he said, the only rule worth following in theatre was to please the audience. He could point to the record takings for L’École des femmes as evidence that this rule had been strictly followed. Although nominally comedies, Molière’s three great works of the mid-sixties, Tartuffe (1664), Dom Juan (1665) and Le Misanthrope (1666), complete the move towards social satire, realism, complexity and ambiguity. His writing here, whether in verse or prose, is natural, flexible and fluid. None of these plays are pure comedies; indeed, each contains a disturbing vein of darkness that is never entirely resolved. Although the supporting characters stick to type for easy laughs, the main characters have real flesh on their bones; as contradictory in their motives and unaware of their failings as we are. Amid the ambiguity, the farcical elements maintain their extraordinary inventiveness, a series of comic games that keep these plots moving forward while serving to exemplify Molière’s themes and ideas. These are great comedies; these are great plays. This article by Paul Galloway first appeared in the Melbourne Theatre Company program for The Hypocrite (Tartuffe) in 2008.
MEDICAL PRACTICES IN THE 17TH CENTURY French physicians in the seventeenth century were well-educated in Latin and rhetoric, but had very little schooling on anatomy or surgery. The French doctors of Molière’s time believed that medicine had been invented by the Greek God Apollo. Once it had been created by Apollo, his son Asclepius improved medical science and gave it to the humans. After Asclepius gave the invention of medicine to mortals, the art of healing was improved and perfected by the ideas of two Greeks, named Hippocrates and Galen. After their discoveries, thought the doctors of the time, no more should, could or would be found. Further exploration into the workings of the human body was considered sacrilegious and beneath the dignity of a true doctor. The Greek philosophers (and, therefore, the French doctors) believed that the earth was made up of four elements: air, fire, water, and earth. These elements directly corresponded with four elemental fluids within the human body, these being blood, yellow bile, phlegm and black bile respectively. These elements were known as the "humours", and these humours " gave off vapours which ascended to the brain. An individual's personal characteristics (physical, mental, moral) were explained by his or her "temperament," or the state of that person's "humours" known as “sanguine”(blood), “choleric”(yellow bile), “phlegmatic”(phlegm) and “melancholic”(black bile). The perfect temperament resulted when not one of these humours dominated. It was thought that an imbalance in these humours caused a person to get sick. Therefore the way to cure illness was to resolve that imbalance. There were two main methods used for treating an imbalance in the humours. One favourite method was known as "purging". Purging relied on enemas and laxatives to clean out the system and get rid of the "bad humours". Excessive dosing of laxatives and frequent enemas were favourite cures of most respected doctors in seventeenth century France. It was thought that these treatments could reduce the amount of bile in the system and flush out whatever toxins might be causing sickness. Many of those patients died of dehydration. It is said that King Louis the XIV was once given such a strong "purgative soup" by his physician that he spent the rest of the day suffering from its effects (reportedly eleven times in eight hours). After the "cure" wore off he claimed to be "somewhat fatigued" and retired early. The other popular method for curing illness was bleeding. It was thought that the blood carried toxins and that by bleeding out enough of these toxins, the body would be cured. The doctors did not content themselves with simply bleeding a patient by cutting a vein, instead they often found far more creative methods. Leeches were frequently placed on a patient and allowed to drink their fill. Another popular method was to make small incisions in the back and then to place burning-hot cups over the incisions. As the air inside the cup cooled, it would contract and create a vacuum. This vacuum would draw the blood from the wounds. While all of these were terribly unpleasant, none were helpful at all. Doctors would rarely lower themselves to actually touching the truly sick. If an operation was deemed necessary, the doctor would look on and give directions as surgery was performed by local butchers. Far from being interested in advancing medical science or their own knowledge, they felt that any deviation from the ancient Greek concepts was horrendous and insulting. Many new ideas about the workings of the human body and the way to treat disease were totally rejected by these doctors. In The Hypochondriac Molière satirises these attitudes through the characters of Dr Diafoirus and his son, Thomas who condemn the new ideas about blood circulation: Dr DIAFOIRUS: ……… I don't know if you know, Monsieur Argan, but I have long been in battle against the socalled ‘scientists', these doctors who believe in ‘conducting experiments' and ‘making observations'. I say to them, “Yes, but what do you do when the results of your experiments and observations disagree with traditional wisdom and accepted practice? Are you going to jettison the wisdom, change the practice?” And they say, “Yes.” Astonishing hubris! As if we could know better than the ancients! We stand on the shoulders of giants and these scientists would have us leap down and waddle around on our puny little legs. ……. THOMAS DIAFOIRUS stands and pulls out a huge, fat scroll from his coat. THOMAS DIAFOIRUS (to ARGAN) Monsieur, I have written a thesis arguing convincingly against the medical heresies of the Englishman Harvey, who claims that the blood circulates around the body……
As Molière himself said, "Nearly all men die of their remedies, and not of their illnesses.” Retrieved and compiled from http://en.wikipedia.org and various sources
François Couperin (10 November 1668 – 11 September 1733) was a French Baroque composer, organist and harpsichordist. François Couperin was known as "Couperin le Grand" (Couperin the Great) to distinguish him from the other members of the musically talented Couperin family. Couperin was born in Paris. He was taught by his father, Charles Couperin, who died when François was 10, and by Jacques Thomelin. In 1685 he became the organist at the church of Saint-Gervais, Paris, a post he inherited from his father and that he would pass on. Other members of the family would hold the same position in later years. In 1693 Couperin succeeded his teacher Thomelin as organist at the Chapelle Royale (Royal Chapel) with the title organiste du Roi, organist by appointment to the King, Louis XIV, the Sun King. In 1717 Couperin became court organist and composer, with the title ordinaire de la musique de la chambre du Roi. With his colleagues, Couperin gave a weekly concert, typically on Sunday. Many of these concerts were in the form of suites for violin, viol, oboe, bassoon and harpsichord, on which he was a virtuoso player. Couperin acknowledged his debt to the Italian composer Corelli (1653 – 1713). He introduced Corelli's trio sonata form to France. Couperin's grand trio sonata was subtitled Le Parnasse, ou l'Apothéose de Corelli. In it he blended the Italian and French styles of music in a set of pieces which he called Les Goûts réunis ("Styles Reunited").His most famous book, L'Art de toucher le clavecin (The Art of Harpsichord Playing, published in 1716), contained suggestions for fingerings, touch, ornamentation and other features of keyboard technique. This influenced J.S. Bach (1685 – 1750) who adopted this system, including the use of the thumb, that Couperin set forth for playing the harpsichord. Many of Couperin's keyboard pieces have evocative, picturesque titles and express a mood through key choices, adventurous harmonies and (resolved) discords. They have been likened to miniature tone poems. These features attracted Richard Strauss (1864 – 1949), who orchestrated some of them. The piano music of Johannes Brahms (1833 – 1897) was also influenced by the keyboard music of Couperin. Couperin died in Paris in 1733. A spinet is a smaller type of harpsichord or other keyboard instrument, such as a piano or organ. While the term spinet is used to designate a harpsichord, typically what is meant is the bentside spinet. The bentside spinet shares most of its characteristics with the full-size instrument, including action, soundboard, and case construction. What primarily distinguishes the spinet is the angle of its strings: whereas in a full-size harpsichord, the strings are at a 90 degree angle to the keyboard (that is, they are parallel to the player's gaze); in a spinet the strings are at an angle of about 30 degrees to the keyboard, going toward the right. Harpsichord historian Frank Hubbard wrote in 1967, "the earliest [bentside] spinet known to me was made by Hieronymus de Zentis in 1631. It is quite possible that Zentis was the inventor of the type so widely copied in other countries." He further notes that the spinet in France was sometimes called the épinette à l'italienne, supporting an Italian origin. Retrieved from:
http://en wikipedia.org/wik/ François_Couperin http://en.wikipedia.org/wik/Spinet
SCRIPT EXTRACTS ACT ONE SCENE ONE Lights come up on ARGAN alone, dressed in a night shirt, dressing gown, slippers, and night cap, sitting in an armchair at a small table with his medical bills, account book and counters. There is a small bell to ring for service. He has been going through a long bill -from his herbalist: ARGAN: Three and two make five, and five make ten, and ten make twenty. ‘Also on the twenty-fourth, one enema, small, mild, insinuated to emolliate the stools and humidify the bowels of the gentleman, thirty sous.’ You know, I love the delicate way Monsieur Fleurant, my herbalist, puts things. ‘Emolliate the stools.’ His bills have the touch of the poet. Nevertheless, Monsieur Fleurant, being delicate is one thing, robbing your sick customers is another. Thirty sous for a little enema! I will bow to your delicacy, Monsieur, but you know where you can stick your thirty sous! You usually charge me twenty, and twenty with the standard herbalist mark-up really means ten. So ten is all – you – get. He cuts a stack of counters and moves them into the payment pile; he does this throughout. He always pays half, even after he has adjusted the bill down to a more ‘reasonable’ amount. Next, ‘… on the same day, an enema, very large, with detergent, composed of coarse ground coffee, rhubarb and rose oil, as prescribed, to scrub out and immaculate the gentleman’s posterior colon, thirty sous.’ Uh, uh, uh! Naughty! If you don’t mind, ten sous. ‘Also, same day evening, a liver-cleansing draught, soporific and somniferous, to put the gentleman to sleep, thirty sous.’ I’ve no trouble with that one at all, Monsieur: slept like a baby. There’s your fifteen – oh, let’s be generous – eight … (second thought) seven-teen sous. Also, on the twenty-fifth, a strong and fortifying purgative, composed of freshly crushed cassia pods with Levantine senna and other ingredients, as per Dr Purgon’s prescription, to eject, reject and expel the gentleman’s bile, four franks.’ Mr Fleurant, you’re dreaming! The doctor never told you to charge four francs. I’m sorry but I must read that as three francs. Which really means half, which means, thirty sous. ‘On the twenty-sixth, a small carminative enema to disperse the gentleman’s miasmic flatulence, thirty sous.’ Ten sous, Monsieur. ‘An enema, as above, repeated that evening, thirty sous’. And I repeat this morning, ten sous. ‘Also, on the twenty-seventh, a special preparation to drive out the gentleman’s toxic humours, three francs.’ Fair enough. See? Did it hurt to be reasonable? Thirty sous. ‘Also, on the twenty-eighth, a dose of clarified and dulcified milk serum, to lenify and refresh the blood of the gentleman, twenty sous.’ Good, ten sous. Finally, ‘a preservative cordial, composed of a dozen grains of bezoar, lime and pomegranate syrups, and other ingredients, as prescribed, five francs.’ Oh, Mr Fleurant, five francs, I mean five francs! You want people to be sick at those prices!? You’re going to have to accept four francs – so that’s one and two. (He begins to add all the counters) So, now all that is: five, ten twenty; three twenties gives us sixty…three francs … four sous and change, which we will round down. Hold on, that can’t be right. This past month I have taken two, seven, twelve, fifteen herbal mixtures, and one, four, twelve, seventeen enemas. Well, there’s the problem. Last month I had eighteen mixtures and twenty enemas. I’m not surprised I’m feeling like rubbish. Dr Purgon is neglecting me. I’ll have a word to him. Extract from adaptation © 2009 Paul Galloway
ACT THREE SCENE TWO ARGAN:
So, according to you, the doctors know nothing?
Oh, I would never say that. They know the classic medical texts and the Latin and Greek they’re written in. They are good at naming things. They can put a name to every disease with perfect authority. But as for curing these diseases, they know nothing.
But surely, the doctors know more than we do. And the doctors themselves, they believe in what they prescribe.
A patient who improves only improves because of their medicine; a patient who remains ill would have died without his medicine; a patient who dies would have died sooner.
So what should we do when we get ill?
Nothing. All we need do is rest. Nature, when we leave her be, will restore herself to proper functioning in her own good time. But we get anxious and impatient and rush to remedies which have a greater chance of killing us than the disease.
No, Béralde, these medicines are natural. Their ingredients are from Nature. They help rebalance Nature.
Good God, Brother, you are being romanced by a metaphor! The doctor says, ‘Your illness is caused by an imbalance’ and in your mind’s eye pops a picture of a grocer’s scale. And since you understand how a grocer’s scale works, you think you understand Nature. But Nature’s not simple and won’t yield its secrets that easily. Listen to the words doctors BÉRALDE (continued): use for what they purport to do – purify the blood, regulate the bowels, refresh the brain, reheat the heart. They speak about humours, vapours, vibrations, energies, as if these were as real as this walking stick. But these are actions and processes they have never seen. Their words are bubbles, lullabies to send you off into the dreamy sleep of ignorance. And one morning you’re liable to wake and feel cheated that you believed such airy nothings.
Extract from adaptation © 2009 Paul Galloway
ACT THREE SCENE FOUR BÉRALDE:
…… Just tell me this, what disease are you supposed to suffer from?
You’ll drive me mad, I swear. Questions! Arguments! Only a healthy man could go on like that. If you were as ill as I am, you wouldn’t waste your precious time on such things.
Well, then, in that case let me recommend a course of treatment that I think will do you the world of good. Instead of lecturing you, I would prefer to see you, for once, out of that dressing gown and into a good suit of clothes. We will go to the theatre like in the old days, see a Molière at the Palais Royal.
Molière! You won’t catch me watching that impertinent rubbish. Your Molière has a fine old time taking cheap shots at doctors.
It’s not doctors he’s taking a crack at, but the absurdity of their so-called science.
Yes, and we should listen to the wisdom of actors on that subject, should we? Actors? No hopers, completely useless for honest work yet with the vanity to parade themselves like whores before the public? Capering around in make-up and silly clothes, making jokes and singing stupid songs? Why should we listen to their opinion about anything?
Oh, Argan, I just think that a dose of Molière might do you good, make light of your troubles and perhaps get you laughing again.
I tell you Molière wouldn’t be laughing if I were his doctor. If he got ill, I’d just stand by and watch him die. He could beg and plead all he liked, but I wouldn’t give him the time of day: no bleedings, no irrigations, no herbs, nothing; just let him lie there and feel the chaos rise up inside. ‘And I’d say, ‘Die! Die like a dog, Molière! You like to laugh at doctors? Well, who’s laughing now, comedian?’
Why are you so furious at Molière?
Because the man makes a mockery of …of … Just thinking about him get my bile flooding. I can feel it. This discussion is doing me no good at all.
Extract from adaptation © 2009 Paul Galloway
FINALE The ceremony begins. The stage brightens. The CAST arrange benches and a pulpit, before a grand procession of The PRESIDENT, DOCTORS, HERBALISTS and the candidate, ARGAN. The PRESIDENT OF THE INSTITUTE takes his place at the pulpit. PRESIDENT:
Doctors of medicine
Qui hic, in toto assemblati;
Who are all assembled here
Et unim, otro illuminati
With you, other luminaries
De profundis cogitati E panteloni smarti:
Of profound thought And wisdom:
Surgioni, apothecari, Barberini et calamari.
Surgeons, herbalists, Barbers and pieces of fried squid
Salutae, hominae emerititus!
I salute you wise people
Salutae, sanitarium vita britus!
I salute you healthy breakfast foods!
Dorothy et toto! Quid pro quo! Et tu, Brute! Start the show!
…ah…start the show!
Hic bringus paraphernalia bonissimo Nos professo mysterio delicio, Which, de tempo immoriata, Has madus sim aldismarta. 28
The implements of medicine are brought out one by one. These are enormous versions of the originals. Perhaps there is some enacting of the processes described in the text. The first is the surgical lancet. Running commentary from NARRATOR about the surgical lancet during its entry. PRESIDENT:
Primo, hic est lancet incisia Te maka veinum slicia, Et letum sangria spurtouta. Sic hic miraculo sin qua doubta!
Minutae incisa, mucho spurtouta! Sic hic miraculo sin qua doubta!
First, here is the scalpel To make the first incision in the vein And allow the blood to flow. Such a thing is wonderful without a doubt!
Enter the bottle of purgative. Running commentary from NARRATOR about the purgative during its entry. PRESIDENT:
Secondus, hic est elixir purgitori, De presto violenta regurgitori, Et causa volcano posterialis Eruptus cum annus horribialis!
Caveat, doctori, de volcano posterialis! Erupta cum annus horribialis!
Second, here is the purgative preparation For the quick and violent return of the stomach contents And the alarming and distasteful ejections from the rectal sac
Enter the enema syringe Running commentary from NARRATOR about the enema syringe during its entry. PRESIDENT:
Tircis, esta syringa contra constipata, In nos fundamentum insinuata, Sic hoc in aquaductae irrigata E non concretatis te fecalmata.
Nos fixum, via rectum, de constipata E non concretatis te fecalmata!
Thirdly, is the syringe that cures constipation Which is basically placed In such a way as to flood the colon And soften the hard faecal matter! 29
ARGAN is brought in and made to sit in a chair for his examination. PRESIDENT:
Venga, Argan, doctoris aspirata,
NARRATOR describes procession as a commentator PRESIDENT:
Respondae nostros interogata E fulfilae nostros desiderata, Te see if unim persona grata O persona pathetica non-starta!
The FIRST DOCTOR approaches ARGAN, while a PATIENT is produced to mime the symptoms during the following. FIRST DOCTOR:
Cum permissionae Dominae Praesidentis,
With the permission of the Lord President
E esteemo ladies e gentis,
Esteemed ladies and gentlemen
Demandabo tibi, doctorae bacheliere,
I request a response from you, bachelor doctor
Quando patientia presenta Con symptoma likethesea:
When a pateient presents With symptoms as follows:
Sneezia repetia, Coughia persitentia, Que tengam? 30
What does he have?
And the remedy?
ARGAN (tentatively): Primo, purgitiv ufeedum? E con enema utreatum? E ultimo ubleedum? CHORUS:
Bene bene bene respondi! Brillianti! Stupendi! Profondi! Mirable dictu! Auto de fe! Carpe diem! Catch of the day!
NARRATOR comments crowd goes wild…. The routine is repeated for the SECOND DOCTOR. SECOND DOCTOR: Cum permissionae Dominae Praesidentis, NARRATOR:
With the permission of the Lord President
SECOND DOCTOR: E symposium compis mentis, NARRATOR:
And the sane drinking party
SECOND DOCTOR: E facultati sanitatis, NARRATOR:
And the faculty of health
SECOND DOCTOR: E ars gloria artis, NARRATOR:
And art for art’s sake,
SECOND DOCTOR: Demandabo tibi, doctorae bacheliere, NARRATOR:
I request from you, bachelor doctor,
SECOND DOCTOR: Quando patientia femini NARRATOR:
When a female patient
SECOND DOCTOR: Presenta con sic symptimi: NARRATOR:
Presents with these symptoms 31
SECOND DOCTOR: Nausea ante-meridiana, NARRATOR:
Nausea in the morning
SECOND DOCTOR: Fatigua post-meridiana, NARRATOR:
Weakness in the afternoon
SECOND DOCTOR: Foodus bizzarro cravalis, NARRATOR:
Cravings for strange foods,
SECOND DOCTOR: E belli grossi bloatalis! NARRATOR:
And a grossly distended belly!
SECOND DOCTOR: Que tenga? NARRATOR:
What does she have?
SECOND DOCTOR: E remedia? ARGAN:
Primo purgitiv ufeeda! E con enema utreata! E ultimo ubleeda!
Bene bene bene respondi! Brillianti! Stupendi! Profondi! Mirable dictu! In vino veritas! U lit te primus e cuchina cum gas!
The THIRD DOCTOR comes forward for his question. THIRD DOCTOR:
Cum permissionae Dominae Praesidentica, Scholastica corpore e dentica, E colleagum self-ticketica, Demandabo tibi, doctorae bacheliere, Pro diagnosis E prognosis, Auditae meo clinico scenario E articulatae all y’know: Epidermis palo e frio Momentum viva
Movement of body
Sensitivity to pain
THIRD DOCTOR gives NARRATOR an “enough” look THIRD DOCTOR:
Nil Que problema?
What do you think the problem might be?
Primo purgitiv ufeedum! E con enema ufillum! E ultimo ubleedum!
E ultimo grande…?
Bene bene bene respondi! Brillianti! Stupendi! Profondi! Mirable dictu! Ditto teriffico! Argan in excelsus magnifico! 33
Coleagia, tellus sua opinia definia: Esta successia o ignominia?
Successia, Successia, successia, Passia summa cum laude!
DOCTORS (louder): Cum laude! PRESIDENT:
DOCTORS (louder): Cum laude! PRESIDENT:
DOCTORS (shouting): Cum laude! PRESIDENT:
Don’t cum any laude!
ARGAN places his left hand on a kidney dish and holds up his right to swear. PRESIDENT:
En nominae nostros illusteria Acadamia Declaro Argan Doctora serio macadamia
In the name of our shiny academy, I declare Argan may contain traces of nuts
Cum licentia A prescribia
With a licence To prescribe
A certain violinist
Ego officio declaricus, Su es smarticus!
I officially declare That you are a clever boy!
Who is smarticus?
I am smarticus!
The DOCTORS place a robe around his shoulders, the syringe in one hand, the scalpel in the other, and the kidney dish on his head. ARGAN:
Dominae Praesidentae E facultati cognoscenti, Tutti Professori, Tutti Doctori, Tutti Apothecari, Tutti Surgioni, Emanate tradoctore, Tutti frutti In de instituti, U little beauti! Gracia pro de opportuna Te say: ego over da luna.
Vivat! Argan Vivat! Vivat! Hoorayo! Hooraytum! Hoorayatat!
Let his deums Be repletum
Let his days Be filled
Cum pestulenti e pustuli,
With plagues and infections
Poxi e dropsi,
Contagious diseases and conditions
Cholari, mucusi, e phlegmi, Vomiti e dysentery! 35
Bile, snot, phlegm, Vomit and loose bowels!
Vivat! Argan Vivat! Vivat! Non longa hypochondriac; Now est hyperdoctorat Esteemo de quackatariat! Non longa hypochondriac. THE END
Extract from adaptation © 2009 Paul Galloway