‘Molière Than Thou’ celebrates French playwright
Posted by Bob Evans
A scurrilous rumor circulating for the last three hundred or so years, suggests that Molière is dead, the victim of a coughing seizure amid the performance of his final play, The Imaginary Invalid. Molière is alive and better than ever and performing under the name Timothy Mooney. Not only is Molière still alive, but, in Molière Than Thou, coming to the (virtual) KC Fringe Festival, from July 18-August 1 (just in time for Molière’s 400th birthday), he speaks English, and is every bit as insightful, ribald, irreverent and enthusiastic as the first time around!
Mooney’s work with Molière goes well beyond his celebrated, manic performance of ten of his monologues. Mooney has re-written fifteen of Molière’s plays in their entirety, bringing a dexterity of English speech to these works which were so dazzling in their original French. This language barrier has distanced Molière from the English-speaking audience, which has never appreciated him as well as his renaissance brother, Shakespeare. Molière Than Thou finds a Molière who stands toe-to-toe with Shakespeare, trading brilliant couplets late into the night.
In the course of his [60-minute] one-man play, Timothy Mooney seduces the audience with a complexity of language that is a sensual delight. Parading through the best loved plays of France’s history, Molière Than Thou reinvigorates renaissance theatre, the court of Louis XIV, and the vision which generated some of the most beloved plays of all time.
Mooney’s performance won a “Best of” award from the San Francisco Fringe Festival, the venue “holdover” award from the Minnesota Fringe and was listed first of the “Top Ten Artistic Events of 2006” from the Chattanooga Pulse. At the Orlando Fringe performances, the press raved “Clearly Moliere lives,” “A delight for all those who appreciate the barbed satire and slyly nuanced language in Molière’s classic skewerings of the rich and pompous.” Winnipeg Fringe reviewers celebrated: “The listener can draw all the available pleasure from the splendid speeches penned by the man considered the French Shakespeare,” and commended “Mooney’s unbelievably expressive eyes and fabulous facial expressions.” The New York media exclaimed, “Move over Richard Wilbur, Timothy Mooney is the real deal … A very tight performance which should be seen by any aspiring actor who wants to tread the boards.” One audience member cheered, “I’ve seen the Comedie Francaise, and they’ve got NOTHING on this guy!”
Given that this year’s KC Fringe Festival is a “virtual festival,” you can catch “Molière than Thou” for just $10 on-line “24/7” (any time) between “opening night,” July 18 and August 1. The festival can be found at www.kcfringe.org.