Today I attended The Miser, a play presented in Nashua, NH, by the Nashua Theatre Guild. This is a comedy written by Moliere. This version is translated by John Wood and directed by Anya Zulavnik. It runs til November 8th on Friday and Saturday nights at 8 pm and Sunday afternoon, Nov. 2nd at the Court Street Theatre downstairs. I am not involved with the guild, but I would someday like to be.
I was most impressed with the performance. The acting was superb and the story intriguing and indeed, funny. The costumes were lovely and the set was.. well, very typical of Moliere - they didn't really have sets. This style of play relies on plot and dialogue. Most interesting is when the characters address the audience for various reasons such as to complain about the other characters.
Victor Bennison who plays Harpagon, the Miser himself, was very much into the part and very energetic and lighthearted. He allowed us to laugh at the character in his amusing portrayal. His paranoia about money was most believable especially when he accused the audience itself of stealing his cashbox. Charles Emmons, who played Cleante, was also stunning in his role from beginning to end. He was just "foppish" enough to fit. The lovely white wig he wore added greatly to the effectiveness of the character as did the twenty or so handkerchief bows to his love, Marianne, played by Susan Rundbaken. Kevin Riley as Master Jacques- the cook/coachman was also humorous in his role. Laurie Torosian as Elise was also very good and had wonderful facial expression as she listened to the other characters talk. Unfortunately her role didn't have enough of a speaking part, but that is hardly her fault.
Congratulations to Fabiana Dedowte Day, who played Dame Claude, on her first time on stage, which was indeed a success. David Lubkin who portrayed Valere had very little facial expression and seemed to play a hoity-toity yet ass-kissing personage.. very overdone, yet from what I know of Moliere, very appropos for the extremeness of Moliere style characters. I had a similar feeling about Anselm, played by Thad Self. He overacted a bit much, but I wonder if that isn't indicated by Moliere's style itself, or just because he had to deliver the most preposterous part of the plot.
The thing that gets me about plays is that people do not seem to know when to applaud. The only time that the audience seems to clap at a play is when the lights go totally down- sometimes this is only at the intermission and the ending. Why don't people clap after each scene and each really good part which deserves praise to compliment the performance? This is NOT TELEVISION People, this is LIVE acting!! We should applaud for the performers hard work. They should NOT have to sing and dance to earn our applause- good acting and well memorized lines ARE hard work and deserve applause and praise also.
Overall the Nashua Theatre Guild's performance of The Miser was a thoroughly entertaining piece and I highly recommend it.