Theatre Review by Suzanne Birrell.
L to R_Michael Faulkner, Rebecca Lincoln, Christina Jacqueline Calph, Christopher Salazar. Photo by Garth Pillsbury
The Classical Theatre lab production of The Misanthrope written by Moliere sometime around 1668 and freely adapted and directed by Tony Tanner is comic commentary on how as men and women we have changed very little. With added references to cars and the use of telephones as a substitute for characters we are brought forward to twentieth century. But the true comedy of the play is timeless.
(left) Thomas Anawalt, Jeffrey Scott Basham. Photo by Garth Pillsbury
Christopher Salazar is highly entertaining in his role of Alceste, a classic arrogant young man who takes honesty to a fault and easily criticizes the flaws of everyone around him including the love of his life Celimene played with great verve by Rebecca Lincoln. Alceste admits to his good friend, the more reasonable and realistic Philinte played with good energy by Mike Bingaman, that though he loves Celimene he loathes her behavior. The laughs were most easily garnered by the pompous wanna be poet Oronte played to the hilt by Michael Faulkner. The self-interrupted reading of his poem for Alceste's "honest" opinion was hysterical. Acaste and incredibly self absorbed young man played with swagger by Thomas Anawalt also provided great fun. Eliante, a voice of reason is sweetly played by Christina Jacquelyn Calph is loved secretly by Philinte while she pines for Alceste. Arsinoe is a highly moralistic woman played with panache by Kathy Bell Denton. The scene between Arsinoe and Celimene in which they share with extreme politeness what other people say is funny as well as spot on timely.
Kathy Bell Denton, Rebecca Lincoln. Photo Garth Pillsbury
The Misanthrope is currently being play out beneath the trees at Kings Road Park in West Hollywood through August 16. This outdoor setting only added to the show. At a one point a barefoot little girl stood to the side and watched the action. Though her brother tried to get her to leave, she finally just sat down to watch the show. Crows sometimes echoed the laughter.
( Left) Rebecca Lincoln, Christopher Salazar. Photo by Garth Pillsbury
This droll adaptation by Tony Tanner makes this comic 17th century play totally accessible to a modern audience. The real humor is the realization that in three centuries the games people in love and friendship play has not changed much.
Very entertaining and a most enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.
Playing Saturdays and Sundays @ 4pm through August 16, 2015, in Kings Road Park. 1000 Kings Road, West Hollywood, CA
Free Admission - donations accepted - Chairs provided
The Misanthrope is Produced by the City of West Hollywood and the Classical Theatre Lab.
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