Photo Flash: First Look at THE HEIR APPARENT at ICT

Raucously witty and devilishly ribald, love and money are at stake in David Ives'' hilarious, rhyming "translaptation" of The Heir Apparent by Jean-François Regnard. Comedic director extraordinaire Matt Walker directs the Los Angeles premiere of Regnard's newly rediscovered 18th century comic masterpiece for a June 19 opening at International City Theatre. Two low-priced previews are set for June 17 and 18.

Meet young Eraste. He has it all: good looks, a beautiful fiancée and a huge inheritance from an ancient uncle. There''s just one little problem: the uncle won''t die and he''s bequeathed his entire fortune to a distant relative. Oh, and did we mention the uncle also intends to marry Eraste''s fiancée? What''s a fine 18th-century fellow to do? What else but enlist the aid of his resourceful servant, Crispin, who could "out-Figaro" Figaro. The ICT production stars Wallace Angus Bruce as our young hero, Eraste; Matthew Henerson as Geronte, the miserly old uncle; Suzanne Jolie Narbonne as the charming and beautiful Isabelle; Adam J. Smith as Eraste''s crafty manservant, Crispin; Rebecca Spencer as Madame Argante, Isabelle's dowager mother; Adam von Almen as Scruple, a lawyer; Paige Lindsey White as Lisette, a down-to-earth maid.

A "translaptation" - according to Ives, who coined the word - is a translation with a heavy dose of adaptation. In The Heir Apparent, he explains, "the farce is turned up all the way to 11. And what could be more up-to-date than Regnard's characters'' almost feral obsession with money? The off-color jokes made me howl even while I marveled at his facility at rendering them in such graceful couplets. I needed only a single reading to know I had to take on the piece."

At the turn of the 18th century, Jean-François Regnard appeared to be Molière''s heir apparent. His first full-length comedy, Le Joueur (The Gamester) was played at the Comédie Française (Molière''s theater) every year until his death, and he had just debuted his masterpiece, Le Légataire Universel (The Heir Apparent). More than 300 years later, Regnard''s name is virtually unknown in the American theater. Lost over three centuries of political upheavals and changing tastes, his work is rarely translated and even more rarely produced. In 2011, Ives was commissioned by the Shakespeare Theatre Company''s ReDiscovery Series, for which he had previously "translapted" Pierre Cornielle''s The Liar, to bring the rambunctious characters, knockabout plots and expertly rhymed couplets of Regnard''s play back to the stage.

Set design for the ICT production is by Christopher Scott Murillo, lighting design is by Jeremy Pivnick, costume design is by Kim DeShazo, sound design is by Mark McClain Wilson, props are by Patty, Gordon and Christopher Briles, wigs are by Anthony Gagliardi, casting is by Michael Donovan Casting and the production stage manager is Pat Loeb.

The Heir Apparent runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., June 19 through July 12. Two preview performances take place on Wednesday, June 17 and Thursday, June 18 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $46 on Thursdays and Fridays, and $48 on Saturdays and Sundays, except opening night (June 19), for which tickets are $54 and include a post-performance reception with the actors, and previews which are $34. International City Theatre is located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center at 300 E. Ocean Blvd. in Long Beach, CA 90802. For reservations and information, call the ICT Box Office at 562-436-4610 or www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.

Photos by Suzanne Mapes

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