Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Miser"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

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note: entire contents copyright 1999 by Larry Stark


"The Miser"

by Moliere
Translated by Albert Bermel
Directed by David Fox

Scenic Design by Brent Wachter
Lighting Design by Karen Perlow
Costume Design by Andrew J. Poleszak
Stage Manager Laurie A. Light

Harpagon..............................Bob Jolly
Cleante..............................Bill Mootos
Marianne........................Eileen Nugent
Valere.......................Diego Arciniegas
Elise............................Denise Cormier
Frosine..........................Sheila Stasack
La Fleche....................Stephen Benson
Maitre Jacques............Neil A. Casey
Simon......................Geoffrey P. Burns


The French comedian who called himself Moliere turned human foibles into characters to be laughed at. They strut and posture in ways that are less than fully human yet larger than real life. In bringing Moliere's "The Miser" to the stage, Director David Fox has unleashed the talents of Boston's consummate clown Bob Jolly for the title role, and surrounded him with a cast that revels in bombast and buffoonery. Through the evening a slow river of laughter increases in speed and intensity into a rapids and an eventual Niagara of mirth.

Albert Bermel's translation concentrates on the sense and ignores the music of Moliere's rhymed couplets.**[See below] And Bob Jolly and his co-conspirators add to the effect of the script with all sorts of decorative embroidery --- tics and takes and grimaces, exaggerations, asides, ad libs. This cast peeks and punctures through the fourth wall with direct involvement of the audience, and even forays into the house itself.

The cast here takes every opportunity to involve the audience in the action --- speaking lines directly to audience members, asking them to participate physically in the action; Sheila Stasack as a matchmaker openly, deliciously flirts with viewers; in mid-argument characters repeatedly appeal directly and personally to them to agree; characters explain their feelings and actions directly.

Wherever possible this is a physical-comedy production. People flounce and swagger across the stage, sprawl on couches, fleer and cudgel one another, faunch back in exaggerated horror, chase one another through French windows, and fix one another with incredulous stares. Every possible stage trick is employed to exaggerate the greed of a man who loves money more than children, and the actions of everyone trying to live around that flaw.

The joy here is in the execution, and it will surprise no one that the play ends with all the lovers properly united --- including the miser and his beloved money-box.

Love,
===Anon.


"The Miser" (till 7 February)
LYRIC STAGE COMPANY OF BOSTON
140 Clarendon Street, BOSTON
1(617)437-7172 **[Note]
Subject: Miser Review
Date: Thu, 14 Jan 1999 21:16:46 -0400
From: TIAC CUSTOMER username@tiac.net

Larry:

Thanks for getting the review on line so quickly. There is a correction you should make however. The Stage Manager of this production is Laurie A. Light. She is a member of Actors Equity Ass. so please make that correction. David Lurie is a non union asst. and a student at BU.

Then a thought. You speak of Moliers Rhymed cuplets in your review. The Miser (L'avare) was written by Molier in PROSE. Bermel is to Molieres prose work. (The Miser, Doctor in spite of Himself-to name a couple) what Wilbur is to his verse work. I think you know me well enough that I would never allow a director to use a prose adaptationof a verse work. Its just not my style. Nor is it the style of David Fox. I just thought I would pass this along. The Phoenix made the same gaff when they reviewd my production of The Miser (Publick-1991) They NEVER wrote a retractionand it still sits in my craw.

Again thanks and I'll see you at The Baltimore Waltz.

Spiro Veloudos
Producing Artistic Director


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