From Moliere With Love!

The Theatre Company of Saugus presented its winter 2007 production, From Moliere With Love! Comprising two hilarious comedies in one evening. Both were one-act plays by Moliere, the great French comic playwright of the 1600s who drew on the plots and characters of the Italian Commedia del Arte style of theatre. Some of Moliere’s better known full- length plays include Tartuffe, The Misanthrope, The Miser, and The Imaginary Invalid. This production provided a rare opportunity to see two shows that have historically been the most favored of his short masterpieces. There were five performances in one weekend in February 2007.

From Moliere With Love! was directed by Stephen Russo, a versatile performer and director with many community theatres. The plays, originally written in French, were presented using the excellent English translations by Alfred Bermel, one in prose and one in verse.

The first show, The Imaginary Cuckold, was a comic tale of romance and suspicion that unfolded in a delicious French melange of misunderstandings and mistaken identity.

In the second show, The Forced Marriage, the question was: Will his friends’ opinions (and his own cold feet) lead a middle-aged bachelor away from the altar? Everyone gives him conflicting advice, avoids the question, or heaps on the abuse.

The actors in The Imaginary Cuckold included: Larry Segel as Gorgibus, the materialistic father; Lisa Scopa as Celie, the young bride; Brian Dion as Sganarelle, the cuckolded husband; Laura Schrader as Martine, his jealous wife; Catherine Hersh as Lisette, the clever servant; Keith Swiniarski as Lelie, the anxious boyfriend; Nicholas Beach as Gros-Rene, the hungry servant; Beca Gates as Dorante, the indifferent mother-in-law; and Steve Friedman as Villebrequin, a friend with astonishing news.

The players in The Forced Marriage included: Steve Walsh as Sganarelle, the hesitant groom; Steve Friedman as Geronimo, his calculating friend; Jacqui DiGenio as Dorimene, the playful bride; Brian Buchanan as Lycaste, her secret lover; John Greene as Pancrace, the Aristotelian philosopher; Nicholas Beach as Marphurius, the skeptical philosopher; Stacey Wilson as Alcantor, the bride’s mother; and Keith Swiniarski as Alcidas, the bride’s hot-headed brother. The Gypsy ladies included Meaghan Cronin, Beca Gates, Brittnay Mitchell, and Sherri Raftery.

The Gypsy dance choreography was by Monica Bruno. Costumes were prepared by Jacqui DiGenio. The set was designed and painted by Dianne Jordan and Laura Schrader, with principal construction by Brian Dion. The lighting design was by Stacey Wilson.