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UW School of Drama Presents Moliere's THE LEARNED LADIES

UW School of Drama Presents Moliere's THE LEARNED LADIES

The University of Washington School of Drama will present Richard Wilbur's translation of Molière's les Femmes savantes, The Learned Ladies, May 22ndthrough June 2nd in the Glenn Hughes Penthouse Theatre on the UW-Seattle campus. The production is directed by internationally renowned performer and teacher of Clown and physical comedy, Jane Nichols, and features a cast of second- and third-year graduate acting students from the Professional Actor Training Program.

The Learned Ladies is a five-act play written in verse. Molière's penultimate play and one of his most popular, it premiered at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal in Paris on March 11, 1672.

In the play, Clitandre seeks the hand of Henriette, a match heartily approved of by her father, Chrysale. However, his wife, Philaminte, has other plans for her younger daughter-namely marriage to Trissotin, an opportunistic sycophant who panders to Philaminte's intellectual pretensions. Further complications are introduced by Armande, Henriette's older sister, who once rejected Clitandre but now resents his attentions to Henriette; by Bélise, Chrysale's sister, who believes (erroneously) that all men are wildly in love with her; and by Vadius, a scholar jealous of Trissotin's hold on Philaminte. Needless to say the course of true love does not run smoothly, as the pseudo-intellectual posturings of Philaminte and her coterie clash with the struggle between Chrysale and Philaminte over who shall ordain the disposition of their daughter's hand. But happily, and thanks to the maneuvering of Chrysale's brother, Ariste, all is set right in the end, with hypocrisy exposed and true love made triumphant.

Translator Richard Wilbur was the second poet laureate of the United States, and, during his lifetime, received two Pulitzer Prizes and the National Book Award, among numerous other accolades. Writing for the New York Times in 1982, Frank Rich said, "Moliere has had no better American friend than the poet Richard Wilbur, whose translations of 'Tartuffe,' 'The Misanthrope' and 'The School for Wives' are beautiful works of art in themselves. Mr. Wilbur's lighter-than-air verse upholds the idiom and letter of Moliere, yet it also satisfies the demands of the stage; the rhymed couplets are always crisp and playable. It's a remarkably selfless exercise, too. Though Mr. Wilbur's own poetic gifts are abundantly apparent in these translations, he scrupulously uses his talent to serve rather than to upstage or update the texts at hand. Mr. Wilbur's latest Moliere, 'The Learned Ladies' ('Les Femmes Savantes'), is every bit as well-written as its predecessors."

The show is a master's thesis for costume designer Jordan Fell, whose previous UW Drama mainstage shows include In the Heart of America and By the Way, Meet Vera Stark.

Access for students continues to be a top priority. Student ticket prices, which were lowered last year, will remain $10 for regular performances and $8 for previews. We will host a community Pay-What-You-Can the second Wednesday of each run.

Ticket prices for all UW Drama mainstage shows:

$20 - Regular
$14 - UWAA, UW Employee or Retiree, Senior
$10 - Student
$5 - TeenTix
Previews: $10 - Regular / $8 - Student

Tickets can be purchased at or through the ArtsUW Ticket Office: 206-543-4880,

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