Lauren Goldman Marshall
author, playwright, director


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The Misanthrope

By Molière
Translated and adapted by Lauren Goldman Marshall
Based on a concept by Alan Craig Di Bona


Cast: 9 (6M/3W)
Length: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Single set: Private patio & deck of Celimene's lakeside home

Synopsis:

This modern verse adaptation of Molière's classic comedy is about a man who can't tolerate the superficiality of his peers, yet falls in love with a woman who is the embodiment of everything he hates. Set in the alternative music scene, Alceste is a rising rock star with a taste for blunt truth, and his love interest, Celimene, is a pop singer with aspirations to be a film star. While Alceste manages to alienate everyone with whom he comes into contact, Celimene skillfully manipulates the forces who can make or break her career.

A colorful cast of supporting characters includes:

  • Philinte, the philosophical, steady and ever pragmatic bass player in Alceste's band
  • Clitandre, a casting agent
  • Acaste, a critic
  • Oronte, an entertainment attorney would-be songwriter
  • Arsinoe, a zealous too politically correct feminist, and
  • level-headed Eliante, who calls the others on their foolishness

The adaptation employs contemporary rhyming verse, transposing the wit and humor of the original into a modern vernacular. Optional, added songs (in a contemporary genre) offer windows into the characters and serve as transitions between acts.

Production History:

  • Artists Repertory Theatre, Portland, Oregon, 1999
    World Premiere, 34 performances. Directed by Dennis Bigelow, original music by Dan Reed. Portland Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Production of the Season
  • Harper Joy Theatre, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA, 2000
    Six performances. Directed by Nancy Simon
  • Harlequin Productions, Olympia, WA, 2001
    19 performances. Directed by Scott Whitney. music by Bruce Whitney
  • Blue Room Theatre, Chico, CA, 2003
    10 performances
  • Schubert Theatre, Tisch School of the Arts, Graduate Acting Program, NYU, New York, NY, 2003
    Six performances. Directed by Timothy Douglas, music by Marc Gwinn
  • Ghostlight Theatricals, Seattle, WA, 2009
    Nine Performances. Directed by Jessica Stepka
  • Galvin Playhouse, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, 2011
    Seven performances, Directed by William Partlan, music by Jason Steffen

This adaptation of The Misanthrope was commissioned and first presented in a workshop staged reading by Pilgrim Center for the Arts, Seattle, in 1996. Alan Craig Di Bona directed.

Awards:

  • 1999 Portland Drama Critics Circle, Best Production of the Season
  • Finalist, 1997 JFK Center Fund for New American Plays

Reviews:

"Friday's opening-night audience at the world premiere of Artists Repertory Theatre's updated version of “The Misanthrope” was treated to something all too rare in the world of theater—the unveiling of something fresh, smart and exciting."
- The Oregonian, May 23, 1999

"Marshall's adaption is anything but a mercenary gimmick. Her Misanthrope is a shrewd and witty response to Moliere, written with a striking command of the iambic pentameter superior to both Crimp's and Bartlett's attempts."
- The Willamette Week, June 8, 1999

"The Misanthrope, Moliere's dark and satiric comedy, has been re-worked into a brilliant modern commentary by Seattle playwright Lauren Goldman Marshall…. The Misanthrope encapsulates and exposes the modern entertainment industry while not losing touch with the themes present in the original text."
- The Tacoma Reporter, June 28, 2001.


For a copy of the script, contact Lauren Marshall. A CD of the original music from the ART production is also available on request. Some subsequent productions have commissioned their own music, which in some cases, may also be available on request. Past productions have variously chosen styles of music to fit the setting of that production, such as techno, classic rock and heavy metal. This is a play with music, not a musical. Use of the songs is optional, though recommended.


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Original Material and Coding Copyright © 2011 by Lauren Goldman Marshall. All Rights Reserved.