The Imaginary Invalid: What Lurks Behind The Theater Curtains

1359 words - 6 pages

Classic plays are extremely hard to stage, mostly because they have already been performed a number of times to the point where they seem to have nothing new for directors to explore. However, every new staging of any Moliere’s play reveals new depth in the author’s genius and provides the director with enough room for imagination. Though Stephens’ staging of The imaginary invalid had some problems in terms of lighting and a slightly careless work with the sound, with the help of an amazing cast of actors and the amazing choice of setting and lighting, Stephens managed to reinvent the traditional vision of the famous play.

It seems that there is hardly any reason for retelling the lay – the plot of The imaginary invalid seems to have become one of the stories that are included in the traditional baggage of knowledge for any educated person to have. Anyway, an old Argan, who is obsessed with his health and is constantly under impression that he is ill, tells his physician, Dr. Purgon, that the treatment process needs to be enhanced. Arhon’s wife, Belina, considers her husband’s mania a whim, whereas their daughter Angelique keeps silent about her possible doubts. She is enamored in Cleante, which makes her feel rather distracted and makes it hard for her to leave the realm of dreams and return into the world of reality. Toinette, the maid, seems to be the only one to fight against Argan’s ridiculous fears of diseases. Meanwhile, Argan informs his daughter that he wants her to marry Thomas Diaforious. Cleante is hired as a piano teacher by Argan; as a result, Cleant and Angelique confess their love for each other during the duet song. Once their secret is revealed, Argan is furious. Bertald, Argan’s brother, tries to change the former’s mind, both concerning the marriage and the unceasing treatment, yet with little success. Bertald shows the doctor the door and leaves; Toinette appears, disguised as a doctor, and suggests Argan to trick his family by pretending to be dead. Afterwards, Argan’s wife shows her true colors as a greedy and uncaring person and sees the daughter and Cleant seized by grief. After revealing that he has fooled everyone, Argan blesses the marriage of his daughter and Cleant. Argan decides to become a doctor, and a troop of actors mocks a ceremony of his initiation into doctors.
It was hardly possible to do anything special with the lead character, the “invalid” himself. However, the acting of the person that played the part of Argon was truly stellar. It was not that he chewed the scenery, though there were a plethora of moments where he stole the show from the rest of the actors. On the contrary, hammy acting could hardly do any good for the creation of a character, which has been done over and over again for a thousand times. Instead, the actor was putting emphasis on building a slightly caricature character that could factor in into the reality of the present day world – and, much to the audience’s surprise, the...

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