JWR Articles: Live Event - The Learned Ladies (Director: Fortunato Pezzimenti) - April 27, 2009
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The Learned Ladies

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Humorous rhymes trump shallow reason

(With apologies to vrai poets everywhere!)

A play built on rhymes is not easily done
But under Fortunato Pezzimenti’s watch ‘twas filled with much fun.

Thanks in no small part to Richard Wilbur’s deft translation (“What obliquity,” indeed!)
Molière’s wit, wisdom and wackiness seldom missed their destinations.

With anonymous harpsichord tinkling merrily ‘round the scenes
The cracker-jack cast launched torrents of lines, spoken well within their means.

Hen-pecked Chrysale (Robert Rutland, first-rate metamorphosis) required a familial crisis to break his trance
But by the final curtain (and round of applause to boot!) ‘twas he who wore the pants.

Wife Philaminte (Josephine Hogan, more flow, less push) chose reason as her constant companion
Preferring quatrains, sonnets and ballades over conjugal function and matrimonial devotion.

Eldest daughter, Armande (Kate LoConti, perfectly befuddled) wore blue ribbon to show her colours
Aiming for sophistication and dominance, the lack of beauty spot as metaphoric as her mother’s.

Sibling Henriette (Diane Curley, spot-on determination) was deep in love with Armande’s spurned admirer
Books, recitals and soirées held no allure for the red-hot lovers’ desire.

The master’s brother (Christopher Standart) delighted the throng with every utterance
Savvy timing, hilarious visage plus verbal thrust-and-parry ensured a greedy poseur’s comeuppance.

For ‘twas Trissotin (Richard Wesp, salaciously shallow)—poet vainglorious—dazzling the ladies with stolen verse
Only to be mercilessly exposed (Tim Newell: deliciously droll at every dig) and faced with a silk-hanky lashing, igniting howls of infectious mirth.

Keeping the floor swept and visitor’s announced, Kevin Zak made the most of his bits
Doug Crane wigged wondrous as the notary, even as servant Martine (Kelly Ferguson Moore) delivered coveys of, er, hits.

Which left old-maid Belise (Kelli Bocock-Natale, nearing word-perfect delivery) catalytically gluing the lovers and thinkers togethe
Willing carnal intentions where none existed drew peals of laughter with every misguided measure.

Clitandre (Chris Corporandy, the gender-superior hero at every turn) dodged weighty elders and fickle exes
But by journey’s end was victorious in this spirited battle of the sexes. JWR

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