Moliere's THE LEARNED LADIES Opens Tonight at June Havoc
Cake Productions and The New Ateh Theater Group present Molière's The Learned Ladies, translated and adapted by Freyda Thomas. Paul Urcioli directs an all-female cast of eleven, including Kathryn Alexander, Sarah Brill, Francesca Day, Janna Emig, Susan Finch*, Katie Honaker*, Marta Kuersten, Madeleine Maby*, Sara Montgomery, Elizabeth Neptune, and Elena Sanz. Performances will be staged tonight, October 4-19, 2013 atThe Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex, June Havoc Theatre, 312 West 36th Street, New York, NY 10018. *Member, Actors' Equity Association. AEA Approved Showcase.
Henriette is in love and wants to marry the handsome Clitandre. But in her overzealous passion for the new intellectual movement, Henriette's mother, Philamente, wants to pair her off with Trissotin, a conniving "scholar" and mediocre poet. Henriette's sister, Armande, is also striving to stop the union, having loved Clitandre herself until she spurned him for intellectual pursuits. Mix in a loony but lovable sister, an exasperated brother-in-law, a couple of mouthy servants, and a father who just wants his tea served in peace and quiet, and voila! The pretensions and excesses of the upper classes are highlighted by Molière's classic wit and wisdom in this rambunctious comedy.
From Director Paul Urcioli
"It has always been my dream to do one of Molière's brilliant and hysterical rhyming verse plays. So many of them retain their relevance in our world today: the false piety and effect of religious charlatans of Tartuffe,the blind pursuit of absolute candor in communication of The Misanthrope, etc. Somehow, The Learned Ladies spoke to me. I realize that Molière was attacking/satirizing women (an easy target in his day), but the misogyny in the play seems like a trap in contemporary readings. What's the point of focusing on such obviously arcane perspectives about what a woman may or may not do, most of which are completely out of date in today's world? (Of course, tell that to Lilly Ledbetter or Wendy Davis). What strikes me about the family in this play is that they have a lot of money to indulge in what are ostensibly noble ideals; it's the fascistic pursuit of those ideals that creates unreasonable expectations and blinds them to the idea of compromise. And performing this play with an all-female cast allows the audience to remove their immediate response to the gender issue, focusing on the story, the poetry and best of all, the comedy. We should have high standards of course and devote ourselves to greater things for the betterment of us all, but we have to tolerate some degree of impurity. Expecting perfection is a way of setting ourselves up to fail. If we can't brook impurity in the ones we love, we're setting them up to do the same."
Paul Urcioli (director) is an actor, director and producer. He recently directed Weekend at an English Country Estate for Ateh and In the Company of Jane Doefor Cake. Other credits include: Reckless, Mom & the Razor Blades, David Mamet's Revenge of the Space Pandas and Greg Kotis' A Walk in the Public Area at the Atlantic Theater; The Devil and Billy Markham and the award winning Bridezilla Strikes Back in the New York International Fringe Festival. Our Town andTwelfth Night... with NYU Undergraduate Drama/Atlantic Theater Company; Brian Parks' Suspicious Package at the HERE Arts Center; Little Red Riding Hood, The Rimers of Eldritch, Jitterbugging: Scenes of S*x in a New Society, The Women, Pullman Car Hiawatha, The Happy Journey to Trenton & Camden, Harm's Way, Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet as well as one acts in The Atlantic Theater Company's New Works Series on the Second Stage. From 1991 - 2006, Paul taught Advanced Performance Technique and Improvisation at The Atlantic Theater Company Acting School, was Adjunct Faculty at N.Y.U.'s Tisch School of the Arts and was an Artist in Residence at Oberlin College from 1986-89 teaching acting, movement, improvisation and performing with members of the Royal Shakespeare Company. He is also producing the feature film Phoenix directed by Amy Redford.