The Doctor in Spite of Himself by Molière

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The rarest play by Molière presented alternately in English and French.

Sganarelle, a woodcutter, a drunk and a brute, beats his wife, Martine. To avenge herself, she makes believe that her husband is a doctor but who would only work after being beaten up. Lucinde, Géronte’s daughter, in love with Léandre, doesn’t agree to her mother’s arranged marriage to Horace. She pretends to be mute as a way to protest. Géronte appoints Sganarelle to treat her daughter. After being beaten up by the servants, he starts taking his new position seriously. Against all odds, this doctor, in spite of himself, performs miracles. Lucinde’s voice comes back to stand up for her marriage to Léandre. Géronte accepts him as her son in law when he inherits a little fortune. Sganarelle forgives his wife and lives on to be a doctor. Performed in either French or English, 1h30.

★★★★ Everything Theatre
★★★★ The Upcoming
★★★★ Londontheatre 1
★★★★ MiddlePeg Review

David Furlong nominated for an Off West End award as BEST DIRECTOR !

‘Rock and roll Moliere’
‘Excellent performances by the cast, and masterful comedic style.’
‘ Exchange Theatre’s version of Moliere is clever, very funny and well adapted for contemporary audiences’
The Upcoming.co.uk

‘The company’s talent and vision is highly commendable and deserving of larger production values; their commitment to bringing audiences high quality French theatre in intimate venues makes them one to watch.’ 
The play’s the thing UK

‘High voltage energy and clever direction, The Doctor in Spite of Himself entertains thoroughly. ‘ 
UK Theatre Net

The show’s programme here

Trailer:

Director’s note:

The Doctor in spite of himself is here in the UK, one of the least produced of Moliere’s plays, when comparing to The Misanthrope, Tartuffe or The Hypocondriac. Sganarelle makes life a living hell for his wife. He spends all their money in books and drinks to the point of beating her up. To avenge herself, she makes believe her husband is a doctor but who would only work after being beaten up.  And against all odds, this doctor, in spite of himself, performs miracles.

Le Medecin Malgré Lui was Molière’s return to farces and one of his most succesful plays after trying for several years to be recognised for more serious and deep plays. Prior to these, Moliere, the leader of a travelling company that he took on the roads for ten years, sees himself as a popular entertainer, a village buffoon. Back in Paris, crowned by a national popularity, he was welcome beside the King’s brother, at the court and triumphed again with his trestles comedies. Transported by such a success, he started thinking of himself as a proper playwright and dared tackle some more mature and critical comedies with more dense reflexions. He was then submitted to a very harsh criticism and censorship from false critics, false devouts, all the pretenders he hated so much.

Actor, director, satirist at the top of his art, he wrote -in spite of himself- The Doctor, a farce, in order to regain success. He projected in the main character of Sganarelle – who is forced to lie to the world I order to regin credit – his own deception of not being able to be taken seriously by his more accomplished works. When his previous plays, almost philosophicals, dealt with existentialist matters, Moliere did not hesitate here to fall back into a great triviality. And the play was a absolute triumph. Moliere added a marvellous derisive take to the heritage of Italian Commedia Dell’Arte and defined French farces. Missunderstandings, comedy, wits, prank, mockery: the play’s success goes boeyond any other and offers Moliere an opportunity to even mock his own audience, whilst reflecting on his own creation. Unknowingly, he also defines the heritage of French comedies that would follow and will be studied for centuries in French classrooms, where mostly all the parts about scatology and sex will be kept silent…

 

Molière said himself « comedies are only made to be performed. » Our production of The Doctor In spite of Himself not only offers a British audience the chance to see this rare classic comedy but also the opportunity to have a very contemporary and slightly chaotic look at the ‘upstarts’ from all time and at the mind of a genius, in a very true but contemporary version.

As part of the rehearsal, our research and development work on a Molière produced in Shakespeare’s land, suddenly took us on some path we did not imagine. As if The Bard and his supernatural elements (as in the Tempest or Midsummer night’s dream) would logically have to appear and tease and poke at our classics. As a result, this production is the fruit of many months of work with the laughing energy from Moliere associated with the magic of Shakespeare. What a great exchange.

David Furlong

 

Produced in association with The Lycée Francais Charles de Gaulle and The Young Vic Theatre Workshop, at The Drayton Arms Theatre in South Kensington, London

– Le Medecin Malgré Lui (in French) created in May 2015 – Lycée Francais Charles de Gaulle
REVIVAL June 2016 – Drayton Arms Theatre
– The Doctor in Spite of Himself (in English) created on the 21st June 2016 – Drayton Arms Theatre

Directed by David Furlong
With Anita Adam Gabay, Caroline Roussel, Jacqueline Berces, Rachel Gemaehling, Fanny Dulin, Leo Elso, Victor Klein, David Furlong, Matt Mella, Lula Suassuna, Alexandra Bergeron and Yanouchka Wenger Sabbatini.


 

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