The Misanthrope Essay, Research Paper
The Misanthrope was not similar to anything one might expect to see in a modern day theatrical production. The dialogue that was spoken between the actors was hard to understand as an audience member. Moliere’s play is done in classic verse format, meaning that the play was done completely in rhyme. An addition obstacle for the actors was the language was not updated to the current mode of speaking. Often times plays that are kept in the original language get complaints form their audiences about the inability to enjoy the play because most of the audience’s time was spent trying to figure out what the actors were saying. At the same time, actors must be aware of overdoing their movements and gestures so they don’t go down the path of dreaded indication. This production of the Misanthrope was a little lacking in the overall quality of the performance because the majority of the actors were having trouble overcoming the language barrier.
The play opens with a conversation between Alceste, played by Geoff Wilson, and Philinte, played by Stan Q. Wash. Alceste shows himself to be very cynical about the motives of people and Philinte shows himself to be very sincere believing that people should be kind to each other even if it meant putting on a false face. We learn this through Alceste and Philinte’s comments on a poem written by their friend Oronte, played by Blake Bowen. Alceste thinks it is horrible while Philinte thinks it is wonderful. Philinte also says that Alceste was too blunt and could have softened his criticism. Later, Alceste decides to go see Celimene, played by Kelly Ann Ford, and talk about their relationship. He tells her that she should get rid of the rest of her suitors and she insists that he is her only true lover. The rest of the suitors at Celimene’s apartment believe the same as Alceste. As they’re talking, Oronte enters with the marshal who tells Alceste to apologize to Oronte about the comments he made on his poem. Then Acaste, played by Brian Levin, and Clitandre, played by Jeff Radue, argue over who is the better lover for Celimene. After that situation, Arsinoe comes in to confront Celimene about her personality. They discuss the matter very heatedly and Arsinoe does not succeed in putting down Celimene. Finally after these conversations, Alceste brings a letter to the attention of everyone. It is a letter from Celimene to Oronte. He tries to confront Celimene about it, but she denies any such letter. Alceste wants to leave all these problems he is having, but Philinte convinces him to stay and think everything through. Then Oronte goes to Celimene to find out whom she truly loves and then all of the others come in shortly after. While all of the characters are together Acaste reads his letter from Celimene that discloses her feeling about everyone. Once this was revealed, Clitandre and Acaste decide that she is not worth their time so they leave. Oronte leaves her with a few words and then Arsinoe tells her a thing or two. Alceste forgives her and still wants to be with her. She really does not want to be with him and then Alceste decides that she is really not worth his time and he really does not like her. Philinte and Eliante decide to get married and make it their duty to make Alceste happy.
Even though this production lacking the language barrier there were some well-portrayed moments in the play. The actress who portrayed Celimene, Kelly Ann Ford, and the actor who portrayed Alceste, Geoff Wilson, did a wonderful job in conveying their intended message to the audience. The character of Alceste is meant to be a man obsessed with the truth, high morals, and the pursuit of intelligence; accordingly his physical actions should demonstrate this in some shape or form. Alceste clearly was centered in his head, they way he carried himself, reflected this, as he always had his head slightly upturned and looked down upon, literally, everyone. Celimene, on the other hand, was clearly centered on her chest. She liked all the attention and was an extremely proud woman, as demonstrated during her little chat with Arsinoe. Alceste’s movements were generally at a subdued pace, showing that he was rather strongly opinionated, except for time of extreme emotion, such as the discovery of Celimene’s unfaithfulness.
Oronte, a humorous character, could not understand what he was saying because of his thick accent. Oronte carried himself rather well on stage and was able to convey his meaning through his motions. It was quite clear that Oronte was a rather foolish character from the way he moved around on stage. Oronte centered himself on his pelvis by making sexual desires and pettiness come out well in his actions.
This play, however lacking, was still fun to watch. It is difficult for college students to perform such a difficult play. The dialogue is hard to follow and the play seems difficult to understand. The lighting, set design, and costume choices were the best points of the show. The costume colors were very well thought out and smart on each character. The lighting was done well because placements of the lights were strong choices. The set design with the French doors and the outside seem from them were interesting to look at throughout the performance. The overall show was not bad just difficult to interoperate.