February 8 – March 1, 2020; Preview on February 7
Published : Wednesday, January 15, 2020 | 11:31 AM
Parson’s Nose Theater (PNT) launches the second half of its 2019/2020 season with Moliere’s final comedy, The Imaginary Invalid, a razor sharp attack on corruption in the 17th-century medical profession.
Wealthy, old Argan lives in his bedroom, obsessed with imagined illnesses while bathing in the fawning attention of the quack Doctor Diafoirus, who bills him by the minute. His daughter Angelique, in love with Cleante, is being forced to marry Diafoirus’ damaged son Tomas, to secure a free doctor in the family. Meanwhile Argan’s crafty new wife Beline, secretly plots his demise in order to inherit his money. Only Toinette the loyal servant, can possibly set things straight.
Moliere, encouraged by King Louis XIV, took great delight in poking fun at the obsessions of social-climbing members of the court.
“Obsession throws nature wildly out of balance,” says Davis. “In 17th Century France it was just as fascinating as it is in today’s America. We love to laugh at, and see ourselves in, those who insist on seeing the world through only one side of the prism.”
Davis says the reason comic classics like Molière’s are relatable and speak to us today is because they’re about familiar dysfunctional families.
Moliere himself played the lead character, Monsieur Argan, in the play, and in an ironic turn of events, collapsed on stage and succumbed to his tuberculosis. He was rushed to his home, near today’s Comedie Francaise, where he died hours later. No Parisian doctor would visit him.
Tickets for The Imaginary Invalid range from $20 to $35 and are available online at parsonsnose.org (https://www.parsonsnose.org/) or by calling the Box Office at (626) 403-7667. This production is family-friendly, recommended for children ages 11 and up.
A “Pay What You Will” Preview performance is available on Friday, February 7 at 8:00 pm.
The Father of Modern Comedy. French playwright and actor, Moliere widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in the French language and universal literature. Born near the Louvre, where his father worked, he watched his mother die, improperly treated by incompetent doctors of the time. Foregoing a career in law he fell in love with actress Madeleine Bejart and joined her family’s company, leaving Paris to tour throughout France for seventeen years, finally returning to Paris to perform his original comedies under the patronage of King Louis XIV. He took the structure, plots and characters of the popular Italian street theater, the “commedia dell’arte”, and gave them a unique French twist. His work forged comedy as we know it today, from Jack Benny to Archie Bunker, from The Jeffersons to The Simpsons.
About Parson’s Nose Theater
Located in Pasadena’s historic Marston/Van Pelt mortuary chapel one block West of City Hall, Parson’s Nose Theater performs condensed classic adaptations that present the language, characters, plot and spirit of the world’s greatest writers – not only Shakespeare, but Molière, Goldoni, Goldsmith, Boucicault – the most revered writers of Western Literature. Voted “Pasadena Weekly 2019 Reader Recommended: Best Live Theater Venue, Best Production, Best Enrichment.”
Since April 2000, co-founders Lance Davis and Mary Chalon have introduced their professional comedies to the delight of over 70,000 Angelenos. PNT is the only company in America devoted to this new way of experiencing the classics. PNT productions are intelligent and fun, reaching out to teens, seniors, and everyone in between. Performances are condensed to a 90-minutes-or-less format, including an intermission featuring wine, cider, and the famous, home-baked “Pat Bell” cookies.