by Jean Baptiste Molière English verse by Timothy Mooney
Comedy:
One Act.Estimated Running Time: 50 minutes. Cast: 8 Male, 5 Female, 2 Extras, 15 Total (see details). Setting: Single Interior Setting.
OU’s Evening of Moliere proves great plays are timeless, even if they seem to be confections. … All who attended laughed a lot and left smiling…”
(Johnnie-Margaret McConnell, The Norman Transcript)


Cast, Set Details

CAST:
8 Male, 5 Female, 2 Extras, 15 Total*
* Cast total reduces to 13 when doubling Porters and Bullies.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
LA GRANGE
DU CROISY
GORGIBUS, a bourgeois
MAGDELON, (MAD-EL-UN) daughter of Gorgibus
CATHOS, (KAY-TOE) niece of Gorgibus
MAROTTE, maid to Magdelon and Cathos
ALMANZOR, lackey to Magdelon and Cathos
THE MARQUIS DE MASCARILLE, valet to La Grange
THE VISCOUNT DE JODELET, valet to Du Croisy
TWO PORTERS
LUCILE, Neighbor to Magdelon
CELEMENE, Neighbor to Magdelon
FIDDLERS
BULLIES

SCENE:
Single Interior Setting: Gorgibus’ home, in Paris.


Excerpt

The Precious Young Maidens

Precious Young Maidens

Scene Nine

MAGDELON, CATHOS, MASCARILLE, ALMANZOR

 

 

MASCARILLE

                                    It’s on the shelf.

But I must tell of an improvisation

Which I made up upon an inspiration.

Just yesterday, while visiting a Duchess,

Who loves this sort of writing, insomuch as

I wrote it for her, right there, on the spot.

 

CATHOS

Improvisations are the breath of thought.

 

MASCARILLE

Then listen while I work through this convention.

 

MAGDELON

Believe me, sir, we both are rapt attention.

 

MASCARILLE

Oh! Oh! I contemplated here completely off my guard

With nothing else about or near, it quickly hit me hard

Your eye, so sly, I did espy; with speed beyond belief

You stole my heart and now I cry: “Stop thief! Stop, thief! Stop thief!”

 

CATHOS

Ah, me! Oh, my! Your thing is so gallant!

 

MASCARILLE

It’s cavalier. It doesn’t seem to want

For chivalry. I dodge the dull pedantic.

 

MAGDELON

A thousand, thousand leagues, much more romantic.

 

MASCARILLE

Did you see how I started it? Oh! Oh!

Like something frightful, startling, you know?

Oh! Oh! It’s almost like a man who found

Some something that made him release a sound.

Oh! Oh! He says. Discovery. Surprise.

 

MAGDELON

Oh, yes. Oh! Oh! gives it a gallant guise.

 

MASCARILLE

It’s nothing.

 

CATHOS

                   What? How can you say such things!

That Oh! Oh’s priceless. Good God, how it sings!

 

MAGDELON

Indeed it does! I’d rather those Oh! Ohs!

Than any epic poem I’d compose. 

 

MASCARILLE

By God, Miss, you’ve a plethora of taste!

 

MAGDELON

I flatter myself it’s not gone to waste.

 

MASCARILLE

But how about I contemplated here?

I contemplated here, as free from fear.

I contemplated here, no pain, no doubt,

Completely off my guard: no cause to shout,

Completely off my guard, just like a sheep

It quickly hit me hard. It is to weep.

It quickly hit me hard. As if to say

That there was pain in my delight that day.

Your eye, so sly, I did espy… How’s that?

Does that not keep the verse from reading flat?

What do you think?

 

CATHOS

                              Oh, it’s quite excellent!

 

MASCARILLE

Espy, to look; to sneak a peek. I meant

To summon up a mouse who sees a cat,

 

MAGDELON

The very image! Yes, I noticed that!

 

MASCARILLE

With speed beyond belief, just to convey

The quickness with which all this came in play.

You stole my heart: to take, to snatch, to plunder.

And tell me now: did you catch this, I wonder?

I finished off, Stop thief! Stop thief! Stop thief!

Would you not hear this with the firm belief

It’s shouted by a man now in the chase

To catch a thief who runs a faster pace?

As though the man had stolen of his chief

Possession, thus: Stop thief! Stop thief! Stop thief!

 

MAGDELON

I must say that it’s brilliantly disposed.

 

MASCARILLE

I’ll sing it to the air that I’ve composed.

 

CATHOS

Did you learn music, too?

 

MASCARILLE

                                          Me? Not a bit.

 

CATHOS

How did you manage then?

 

MASCARILLE

                                             One must acquit

Oneself with quality’s true ring,

By knowing all, but not to learn a thing.

 

MAGDELON (To Cathos.)

You must have known that. Obviously, yes?

 

MASCARILLE

Do tell me if it suits you more or less.

Ahem! Ahem! La, la, la, la, la, la

I beg that you forgive my furtive caw.

The harsh brutality of this wet season

Quite violates my voice beyond all reason.

No matter. ‘Tis a lilting folksy air

And here, ‘twixt friends, such discord we might dare.

(Singing.)

Oh! Oh! I contemplated here completely off my guard

With nothing else about or near, it quickly hit me hard

Your eye, so sly, I did espy; with speed beyond belief

You stole my heart and now I cry: “Stop thief! Stop, thief! Stop thief!

 

CATHOS

How passionate a tune, oh, still my heart!

 

MAGDELON

There are chromatic levels to the art.

 

MASCARILLE

And is this thought not elegantly tuned?

Stop thief! And then as one who feels a wound:

Stop thief! And then, now running out of breath:

Stop thief! A small collapse. A little death.

 

MAGDELON

It’s as to know the height of all great heights;

The highest height; a height which may ignite

A high-ness over other elevations.

It’s marvelous. I am in palpitations.

 

CATHOS

It leaves me breathless, buoyant and yet burning.

 

MASCARILLE

It’s inborn. With no study and/or learning.

 

MAGDELON

Fair nature brought you up as her own child;

Such art here in the raw, untrammeled, wild.

 

MASCARILLE

And how do you pass time here in this place?

 

CATHOS

On nothing whatsoever.

 

MAGDELON

                                        Such disgrace!

We’re starved of any prospect or proposal.

 

MASCARILLE

Good ladies, I am at your fond disposal

To take you to a play, if you desire.

There is a playwright whom I most admire,

Whose work is in rehearsal. I was hoping

That you might come with me to see it open.

 

MAGDELON

I can’t imagine that we might refuse.

 

MASCARILLE

I must however beg that you’ll excuse

If I clap with conviction and with vigor.

I told the author I would be a figure

Pronounced in acclamation of his craft,

Just as at other shows I cheered and laughed.

It’s often that these playwrights come recite

Their works to me in light of how I might

Affect opinions of the larger masses,

Ensuring that their inspiration passes

For genius and a sterling reputation.

The pit won’t contradict my proclamation,

For I make sure the work will well acquit

By shouting “Bravo!” ere the lights are lit.


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