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'The Learned Ladies'

Barry McNamara
09/15/2010
The Monmouth College Crimson Masque will present Moliére’s classic comedy of manners, “The Learned Ladies,” Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Wells Theater. There will also be a matinee performance on Oct. 3 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $6 for adults; $5 for students and senior citizens; and $4 for MC students, faculty and staff. They may be reserved by calling 309-457-2104 or by e-mailing theater@monm.edu.

As fresh and funny today as when it premiered on the Paris stage in 1672, Moliére’s hilarious combination of odd characters offers a story of lies, gossip, romance and intrigue wrapped in verbal swordplay. The playwright’s humor is not without purpose, as the satire is filled with jabs against pretense, frivolity, false behavior, charlatans and generally anyone who feels a bit higher on the food chain than their fellow man.

The plot is standard for Moliére. Chrysale (Nick Dadds) is reluctantly pitted against his bossy wife, Philaminte (Ariel Guerrero), manipulated by his daughter Armande (Emily Frazer) and bewildered by his sister Belisa (Ivy Bekker). The women have established a salon of learned ladies in his household and overrun his previously tranquil life. Such a salon would have been considered laudable in this age of reason, but all is revealed to be a sham – merely a ruse to cover mindless social climbing and manipulation.

Poor Chrysale’s life is turned upside down, and amidst the scattering of books he finally breaks and cries, “Thinking is all this household thinks about, and reasoning has driven all reason out!”

“Audiences should prepare for fast-paced, witty dialogue, terrible puns and double entendrés as they watch our play resolve,” said assistant professor of theatre Janeve West. “And don’t worry, in typical Moliére style, everyone gets what they deserve.”

The audience is invited to stay for a post-show Q&A with the cast following the Sept. 30 performance. There will also be a pre-show discussion on Oct. 3 at 1 p.m.