Monday, September 6, 2010

Moliere's The Imaginary Invalid

In spring of 1975, at the end of the inaugural season in CTC's new home, the Company presented, for its teenage and adult audiences, the Moliere classic comedy "The Imaginary Invalid" under the direction of John Clark Donahue. Performing in repertory with "Peter and the Wolf & The Ugly Duckling," this production marked the final stage appearances of longtime acting company members Guy Paul, Chris Mulkey, and John Jenkins.

Wendy Lehr, Guy Paul.

The production was set in the period, but "framed" by Donahue's invention of a travelling troupe of actors presenting the play in the country garden of a nobleman whose beautiful daughter is "drafted" into playing the ingenue. The scenic and costume designs were inspired by the artwork of Fragonard. 

P.R. Photo: Steven Waryan as Cleante, Debbie Tice as Angelique.
Audio clips:


At the end of the first and second acts were musical divertissement.

Here is an audio clip of the end of Act Two, performed by the ensemble with onstage musicians (listen to the beautiful recorder work of Steven Rydberg and Julie Powell), accompanying a mime performance by Bain Boehlke. Music composed and orchestrated by Hiram Titus. Lyric by John Clark Donahue.

For you this blossom in evening I carry
The gift of my heart.  My sweet, will you marry?
This garden our secret where love shall awaken.
Your smile doth invite sweet buds to be taken.

The moon steals upon us to witness our playing.
But now, see?  Another!  Who hides?  Branches swaying!
No one here save I.  Think not of another.
This garden's enchanted.  This spring moon's a lover.

Come dream!   Love, oh, sweet smell of blossom!
Come dream!  Think of me, love -- the rest be forgotten.

But sir, this story I must tell you now
Of love, false-faced love, hidden beneath a flower:
The blossom, a rose -- its fragrance hung sweetly
Its petals: deep blood red.  And its thorns did cut deeply.
For (the truth of the matter) the gift played unfairly:
The sweet-smelling blossom now given to another!

For the lady?  The blossom a memory now, only.
No lover.  Some petals pressed beneath her pillow.

One night in the garden, the moon as her lantern,
She spied her sweet blossoms now given to another.
And words, too, so sweetly were whispered as promise.
The sighs of the lover... False Love!  This Adonis!

Come dream!   Love, the sweet smell of blossom.
Come dream!  Think of me, love --  the rest be forgotten.

So whisper no secrets in green-leafed places
Lest moonlight illumine false love and its faces.
For True Love has no face save one -- and one only.
Its blossom e'erlasting, its promise is holy.


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