Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme

22BOURGEOIS-master768Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme
Comedic-ballet by Moliere
Music by Jean-baptiste Lully
directed by Denis Podalydes, Societaire de la Comedia Francaise
Lincoln Center Festival
July 24, 2016
Production website

πŸ’‰πŸ’‰πŸ’‰πŸ’‰ out of 5.

I should never have gotten those seats so close to the stage! Although I was so happy to score tickets in the fourth row for this very popular Lincoln Center Festival, I neglected to remember that since the production would be done in French; and sense I do not speak French; and since they would provide a captioning board above the proscenium – – I should never have set this far forward.My neck is still a bit stiff from 3 1/2 hours + hours of snapping my head from the actors to the captioning and back. It was even made worse in that this was a comedy – and comedy has its sweetest, funniest moments before and after the lines – – you got it, the very moments that I was checking the captions to catch up.

What was remarkable about this production was that it was far more then the Moliere play I had expected. In so many of these farces there is that β€œincidental music” to underscore all of the dances and parties in the stories, but, is this production, that music was full and beautiful. There was a top-notch on-stage orchestra of a dozen musicians, a similar sized group of dancers, and a handful of beautiful operatic singers offering a full rendering of the music by Jean-Baptiste Lully. This truly made sense with this particular story as our bourgeois gentleman will do all that he can to be an β€œartiste” – a protagonist with a champaign budget and beer taste. He trains in instrumental music, vocal music, dance, fencing and philosophy all to disastrously hilarious results.

The play was funny – really funny. No cost was spared in the over-the-top costumes and wigs. The contrast between the legitimate orchestra, musicians, singers and dances provided a STARK contrast to the bumbling, narasistic protagonist. This was farce at its best!

But the neck pain . . .

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