LU Theater Arts presents “Molière Inspired” – The Lawrentian
Season 91 of LU Theater Arts productions presented three one-act plays, one written by Molière – a 17th-century French playwright – and two inspired by him, at the Cloak Theater last Friday and Saturday night. The performance was directed by Kathy Privatt, directed by Nihan Bayfal, and served as a senior experience for Lexi Praxl.
The first of the performances was a play written by Molière entitled The Flying DoctorWhere The Flying Doctor. The comedy follows the character of Sganarelle, who poses as a doctor, and later the doctor’s brother. Eventually, Sganarelle resorts to jumping out of a house window to continue the charade, arguing and fighting with himself in the process. Alec Welhouse really shone in his performance as this “flying doctor”, carrying his performance with charisma, an indomitable wild energy and a passion for his performances. If audiences weren’t laughing at his character’s ongoing charades, they were on the edge of their seat, wondering what they could possibly do next to keep the lie tangled up. Welhouse also continued to impress in his roles in the other one-act plays; however, writing in The Flying Doctor allowed him to fully explore the character he embodied and connect with audience members through the play.
The Flying Doctor was a tough act to follow, between the period costumes, impressive staging and charismatic performances. However, the second of the coins, Scapin’s Tricks: The Trial, achieved this great feat. This courtroom drama saw John Winkler as Scapin, who is accused of one trick too many, and his partner in crime, Sylvestra, played by Hannah Amell. The two had natural comedic timing as they found themselves deeper and deeper into the legal proceedings, creating a sibling dynamic and rivalry that had the theater bursting into laughter every other line. Isabelle Hubert outdid herself in this scenario, between the commentary of “experts” watching the legal proceedings and a twist at the end which left the spectators speechless during the intermission.
The costume department should not be underestimated for what helped set the bar for these performances so high. Between the elegant period clothes of The Flying Doctor and grayscale focus of Scapin’s Tricks: The Trial, the productions were intriguing and enjoyable to watch. Perhaps their expertise shone brightest in the last performance, A misanthrope or the whole scene of the world, which served as a bit of a tribute and homage to Molière and the timelessness of his characters. Following the brilliantly nuanced costumes of the previous piece, this one used pastel colors and bright, flamboyant costume pieces to set each character apart. The costumes themselves seemed to serve as characters of sorts, adding another dimension that simply wouldn’t be possible otherwise. To the cast and crew, be proud and thank you for reminding audiences of the power of theatrical performances.