Written by Moliere Translated and adapted by James Magruder Fridays and Saturdays May 12 - 27, 2023 At 7:30PM Get Tickets In Molière’s outrageous satire of medicine and its practitioners, the wealthy Argan, to put it mildly, enjoys poor health. Laxatives, suppositories, bloodlettings, and second and third opinions from the leading quacks are the order of his day—and hell on his wily, back-talking servant Toinette. His daughter Angélique is in love with the impoverished Cléante, but Argan wants to marry her to Thomas Diafoirus, a medical dunce who can assure his father-in-law a lifetime of health care. Cléante disguises himself as a music teacher to gain access to his love, but Béline, Argan’s mercenary second wife, threatens to expose them. A disguised Toinette, sage advice from his brother Béralde, and a faked death scene finally teach Argan where to place his trust. The play ends with Argan’s ceremonious, pig–Latin induction into the medical profession. Credits MoliereOriginal Playwright Molière was the leading French comic actor, stage director, and dramatic theoretician of the seventeenth century. He was born Jean Baptiste Poquelin on January 15, 1622, to Marie and Jean Poquelin. His father was a Parisian furniture merchant and upholsterer to the king. Jean Baptiste received his early education at the College de Clermont, a Jesuit school, becoming a promising scholar of Latin and Greek. Although he proceeded to study law and was awarded his law degree in 1642, he turned away from both the legal profession and his father's business. Instead, in 1643, he incorporated an acting troupe, The Illustrious Theatre, in collaboration with the Béjart family, probably because he had fallen in love with their oldest daughter, Madeleine Béjart, who became his mistress. It was at roughly the same time that he acquired the pseudonym Molière. With this company, Molière played an unsuccessful season in Paris and went bankrupt, then left to tour the provinces, primarily in southern and southwestern France, from about 1646 to 1658. During these twelve years he polished his skills as actor, director, administrator, and playwright. In 1658 the troupe returned to Paris and played before Louis XIV. The king's brother became Molière's patron; later Molière and his colleagues were appointed official providers of entertainment to the Sun King himself. In the following twenty-four years, starting with THE PRECIOUS MAIDENS RIDICULED (1659), which established him as the most popular comic playwright of the day, and ending with THE IMAGINARY INVALID (1673), Molière advanced from being a gifted adapter of Italian-derived sketches and a showman who put on extravaganzas to a writer whose best plays had the lasting impact of tragedies. Unwittingly, he made many enemies. The clergy mistakenly believed that certain of his plays were attacks on the church. Other playwrights resented his continual experiments with comic forms (as in THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES) and with verse (as in AMPHITRYON). In 1662 he married Armande Béjart, a nineteen-year-old actress who was either Madeleine's sister or, as some of the playwright's rivals claimed, her daughter by Molière. They had one child, Esprit-Madeleine, born in 1665. The marriage led to more than one separation and reconciliation between the playwright and his wife, who was twenty-one years his junior. In the late 1660s, Molière developed a lung ailment from which he never recovered, although he continued to write, act, direct, and manage his troupe as energetically as before. He finally collapsed on February 17, 1673, after the fourth performance of THE IMAGINARY INVALID, and died at home that evening. Four days later, on the night of February 21, he was interred in Saint Joseph's Cemetery. Church leaders refused to officiate or to grant his body a formal burial. Molière's principal short plays (in one or two acts) include: THE JEALOUS HUSBAND (1645?), THE FLYING DOCTOR (1648?), SGANARELLE (1660), THE REHEARSAL AT VERSAILLES (1663), and THE FORCED MARRIAGE (1664). The longer plays (in three or five acts) include: THE SCHOOL FOR HUSBANDS (1661), THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES (1662), TARTUFFE (1664), DON JUAN (1665), THE MISANTHROPE (1666), THE DOCTOR IN SPITE OF HIMSELF (1666), AMPHITRYON (1668), THE MISER (1668), GEORGE DANDIN (1668), THE BOURGEOIS GENTLEMAN (1670), SCAPIN (1671), THE LEARNED LADIES (1672), and THE IMAGINARY INVALID (1673). James MagruderTranslator and Adaptation James Magruder is a fiction writer, playwright, and translator. His stories have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, New England Review, Subtropics, Bloom, The Normal School, The Harrington Gay Men’s Fiction Quarterly, Mary, and the anthologies “Boy Crazy” and “New Stories from the Midwest.” His debut novel, “Sugarless,” (University of Wisconsin Press) was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, the VCU Cabell First Novelists Award, and shortlisted for the 2010 William Saroyan International Writing Prize. His second work of fiction is a novel-in-stories titled “Let Me See It.” His translations and adaptations for the stage include CHRISTMAS CAROL 1941 (Arena Stage), Marivaux’s THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE (Center Stage, Classic Stage Company, La Jolla Playhouse), the book for its musical version, TRIUMPH OF LOVE (Broadway and beyond, Germany, and Japan), Labiche’s EATING CROW (Dallas Main Street Theatre), Lesage’s TURCARET (Catalyst Theatre, Washington D.C.), Dancourt’s KNIGHT ERRANT, Molière’s THE IMAGINARY INVALID (Yale Repertory Theatre, People’s Light & Theatre), BOUGIE MAN, a version of “Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme” for South Coast Rep, THE MISER (Center Stage, Northlight Theatre), and Gozzi’s THE LOVE OF THREE ORANGES (La Jolla Playhouse). His plays PENELOPE & THE STERILE FIELD, TOO MUCH OF ME, NINE ROOMS WORTH, DEAD PARENTS, PISSING MATCH, and DUNKLER-RELATED DISORDERS have been staged in Baltimore, Atlanta, and New York, and published in “The Art of the One-Act,” “Third Coast,” and “Arts & Letters.” His “Three French Comedies” (Yale University Press) was named an Outstanding Literary Translation by the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA). Other projects include DER BOURGEOIS BIGSHOT, a reconstruction of the Moliere/Hofmannsthal/Strauss musical comedy “Der Bürger als Edelmann” for Princeton University. His writing has been supported by the MacDowell Colony, where he was a Thornton Wilder Fellow; the Maryland State Arts Council; the New Harmony Project; the Ucross Foundation; the Blue Mountain Center; the Jerome Foundation; and the 2010 Sewanee Writers’ Conference, where he was a Walter E. Dakin Fellow in Fiction. He holds degrees in French literature from Cornell and Yale and a DFA from the Yale School of Drama. He teaches dramaturgy at Swarthmore College, fiction at the University of Baltimore, and playwriting at Princeton University. Nell BenjaminMusic and Lyrics Nell co-wrote the score to Legally Blonde, the Musical with composer Laurence O'Keefe, which received Tony Award nominations, Drama Desk nominations, and the Olivier and Helpmann Awards for Best Musical. Nell wrote the lyrics to Mean Girls, which received multiple Tony Award nominations, including for Best Original Score and Best Musical. Nell's play, The Explorers Club, won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play, the Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award, and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant. Nell has written book and/or lyrics for Pirates! (or Gilbert and Sullivan plunder'd), Sarah, Plain and Tall, Cam Jansen (Drama Desk-nominated), I Want My Hat Back, How I Became A Pirate, The Mice, Life of the Party and Because of Winn Dixie. Upcoming musicals are: Huzzah!, Life of the Party, Dave. Television writing includes "Unhappily Ever After", Animal Planet's "Whoa! Sunday with Mo Rocca", "Electric Company", "Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris", "Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway", "Julie's Greenroom." Benjamin is the recipient of the Kleban Foundation Award and a Jonathan Larson Grant. Reviews “Translator Magruder is [known] for his brash injections of present-day lingo into seldom-seen French comedies that had been deemed 'stuffy’ before he got his ink-stained hand on 'em. Anything goes, anything for a laugh, any port in a storm, even if (especially if) that port happens to be an outhouse. It’s a rude, bright, wild show.” —New Haven Advocate. “Magruder has emphasized the play’s origin as a 'comédie-ballet’ in three acts, 'with two musical interludes and a grand finale.' The last introduces Hillary Clinton in a health-care mode, one of the many liberties he has taken in his unstinting efforts to make this INVALID fabulous and contemporary.” —Hartford Courant.