|by Jean Baptiste Molière
English verse by
Comedy: Three Acts plus interludes/finale; Estimated Running Time: 100 minutes (without intermission).
Cast: 12 Male, 4 Female, 10-50 Extras, 26+ Total (see details).
Setting: Single Exterior Setting.
12 Male, 4 Female, 10-50 Extras, 26+ Total*
* It is assumed that this very stylized farce will easily accommodate much double-casting and cross-gender casting, suggesting that the total may well be winnowed down to 15 or so.
MONSIEUR DE POURCEAUGNAC
ORONTE, Julias father
ERASTE, Julias lover
SBRIGANI, a Neapolitan adventurer
A FEMALE PEASANT
A POLICE OFFICER
TWO CADET OFFICERS
JULIA, Orontes daughter
NERINE, a woman of intrigue, from Picardy
LUCETTE, from Gascony
Characters in the Ballet:
A FEMALE MUSICIAN
A TROOP OF DANCERS
TWO DANCING MASTERS
TWO DANCING PAGES
TWO DANCING SWISS
TWO GROTESQUE DOCTORS
TWO SINGING ATTORNEYS
TWO DANCING SOLICITORS
A MASKED TROOP
A MALE SINGING GYPSY
A FEMALE SINGING GIPSY
CHORUS OF MASKED SINGERS
DANCING BISCAYENS AND SAVAGES
Single Exterior Setting: In Paris.
In Monsieur de Pourceaugnac, written in 1669, Moliere returns to the style of some of his earlier farces, this time with a "piling on" effect. In this play, when the sweet young thing is engaged to marry a stranger for the father's financial advantage, the girl's lover and their servants concoct a scheme that is relentless in its attack of the unwitting out-of-towner. Monsieur de Pourceaugnac is subjected to every imaginable indignity: psychoanalyzed, attacked by a team of doctors looking to administer an enema, and dressed up as a woman to dodge a band of mauraders whom he has been convinced are coming to hunt him down. Unlike many of Moliere's plays of this period, there is little aesthetic balance in the argument, but rather an unbridled joy to the attack. In this scene, we find the girl's lover, Eraste, winning Pourceaugnac's confidence, while Eraste's servant, Sbrigani, has already duped Pourceaugnac into believing in his good intentions toward him.
Good Lord! Now runs my heart’s good course on track!
Could it be? Yes! Monsieur de Pourceaugnac!
Oh, how your sudden presence does surprise me!
What’s this? Could it be you don’t recognize me?
Of course, I am your humble servant, sir!
Could it be that some five, six years could blur
The memory with such awful, sore impacts;
Forget the best friend of the Porceaugnacs?
Of course I know you, Sir! Oh, yes! Oh, my!
(Aside to SBRIGANI.) I tell you that I do not know this guy!
There is no Pourceaugnac in Limoges
Whom I do not know each and every way,
With whom I’ve not enjoyed a happy feast,
From greatest on down to the very least.
I stayed with only them in Limoges,
And sat there at your side, it seems, each day.
It was the greatest honor of my visit.
The honor, Sir, was mine. It was exquisite.
Are you sure that you recognize my face?
Of course I do! (Aside to SBRIGANI.) I swear, I can’t quite place --
You must recall the pleasure that we had
In taking wine. I must say we were bad.
Oh, yes we were! On that I must agree … uh …
(Aside.) I tell you Sir, that I have no idea!
Who was that innkeeper? You know, the source
Of such good cheer?
Um, Little John?
Good Little John! Oh, how we loved his inn!
The things we said in there! I can’t begin … !
And where was it? That place we’d promenade?
The cemetery of Arenes?
Exactly where we spent such sweet, sweet hours,
If in the sunshine or in summer showers;
Our conversations! You do not recall?
Oh, yes, of course! I recollect it all!
(Aside.) Be damned if I recall a single thing!
It happens all the time. Some thoughts don’t cling,
But leave your head the moment that they’ve struck.
Embrace me, Sir. Let’s celebrate our luck,
Renew the friendship with the tales we tell …
SBRIGANI (Aside to POURCEAUGNAC.)
There is a man who loves you, Sir, quite well.
But family news, please Sir, if you don’t mind:
How is the one … the one … who was so kind?
Perhaps you are referring to my brother,
Of course! Not any other!
How is he doing?
Oh, he’s very well.
I’m thrilled to hear it, Sir! Oh, now, do tell!
The other … in an office slightly lesser … ?
I think you mean my cousin, the assessor?
The very one!
Oh, ever glad and gay.
I can’t describe the joy you bring today!
And tell me, then, there was the uncle, who …
I haven’t got an uncle.
Back then, of course, he was a fine old gent …
No, just an aunt.
Your aunt! Just who I meant!