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Moliere's
Don Juan
in a new verse adaptation
by Timothy Mooney


About the Adaptation | Excerpt | Timothy Mooney Bio | Home | Order Copy

About the Adaptation
by Tim Mooney

Don Juan (1665) written while Tartuffe was still banned on the stages of Paris, bore many characteristics of Tartuffe, and may even be the better known play in European production, which leads me to question whether it has yet received a successful translation. Like Shakespeare's Hamlet, Don Juan seems to undergo a transformation in every new era, as each director finds something new. In the course of the play, Don Juan defies every warning leveled at him to mend his ways, and thumbs his nose at all convention and obligation. In this scene, he curses his father who dares to challenge him to follow a more moral path, and intimidates his servant Sganarelle, before turning his attentions on the abandoned wife, Dona Elmire, whose almost-saintly transformation inspires only his most primal urges.

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Don Juan
Act IV, Scenes 4-7
DON JUAN, DON LOUIS, SGANARELLE

DON LOUIS
... But know this to your terror, worthless son:
Your father's web of love has come unspun.
I shall conspire to block the path you've trod,
If but to guard against the wrath of God!
If I anticipate the Lord's fell strife
I might wash off the blame for your foul life.

Act Four, Scene Five
DON JUAN, SGANARELLE

DON JUAN
Oh, die, already, won't you, pompous prig?
And on your grave I'll dance a hearty jig!
It maddens me when fathers live as long
As sons who wait their fortune --

SGANARELLE
Sir! You're wrong!
DON JUAN
I'm wrong?

SGANARELLE

Sir ...
DON JUAN
Wrong, you say?
SGANARELLE
Yes sir, you're wrong.
To have endured his insults for so long!
If I were you, I would have put him out!
How dare he task you here, that foolish lout!
Have asses any more annoying brays,
Than father telling you to mend your ways?
Impertinence! Remind you of your birth?
These hundred trifles which he would unearth?
I ask you, how much more must you endure,
From out the mouth of that unrivaled boor?
A man like you knows well of life's adventure!
How dare he misinterpret you and censure?
I marvel at your patience. You're like Job.
I would have sent him packing with a probe!
(Aside.) Oh, cursed cowardice! I make me sick!

DON JUAN
Get dinner on the table, and be quick.

Act Four, Scene Six
DON JUAN, DONA ELVIRE, RAGOTIN, SGANARELLE

RAGOTIN
A lady in a veil has come to call.

DON JUAN
Who could it be?

SGANARELLE
I've no idea at all.

DONA ELVIRE
Don't be surprised, Don Juan to see me thus
My urgent need outweighed the worthless fuss.
I've left behind this morning's wicked wrath,
As I have since set out on greater path.
I am no longer she who uttered threats
So jealous of a few debased coquettes.
The vengeance has been banished from my soul,
Along with the misguided love you stole.
The transports of our criminal devotion;
The heady, violent, sensual explosion,
Leave nothing in my heart but stainless flame,
A tenderness, a love detached from shame,
Fair Heaven makes my love a consecration,
Which seeks to serve as only inspiration,
No longer fixed on manner you abuse me ...

DON JUAN (to SGANARELLE)
I do believe you're crying.

SGANARELLE
Please, excuse me.


DONA ELVIRE
This pure and perfect love sends me with warning
As Heaven weeps at your defiant scorning
I know, Don Juan, of all your sad transgressions,
And Heaven asked me to make an impression
On your disordered mind: They have not glossed it,
The store of mercy you draw from's exhausted.
Good Heaven hesitates e'er scorn is sent
To give you one last chance to yet repent.
A single day may be all you have left
Before you are entirely bereft.
Through Heaven's grace, I have won back my peace,
And seek to know the convent's fond release.
All that I look for is the chance to heal
The damage done my soul in carnal zeal.
Yet as retirement calls me to reckon,
I would be sad if God did not yet beckon
The man I loved, but rather made example
Of how His justice may completely trample.
Such joy for me, if I might turn the blow,
That you might not reap the revenge you sow.
I beg you, grant this final consolation,
That you might not deny your own salvation,
If you won't do this on your own behalf,
Spare me the grief of seeing Heaven's wrath
As you're condemned to the eternal flame.

SGANARELLE
Poor woman!

DONA ELVIRE
You held my heart's only claim,
And no time on this earth was yet so dear
As that fair moment when you did appear.
For you my duty was all but forsaken;
I freely gave the innocence you've taken.
The only recompense which I now seek,
Is you not throw away your life in pique,
But save yourself, reform, for me or you;
It matters not what motive you pursue
But please, Don Juan, I cry here at your feet,
And if a lover's tears can't urge retreat,
I ask in name of anything that might.

SGANARELLE
(Aside, watching DON JUAN)
Oh heart of ice!

DONA ELVIRE
I have no more tonight.
I'm going, I have emptied out my cup.

DON JUAN
It's late, Madame. Please stay. We'll put you up.

DONA ELVIRE
Please, no, Don Juan. Do not detain me more.

DON JUAN
Your staying might allow me to explore --

DONA ELVIRE
I tell you, no. Don't waste my time with chatter.
Don't see me out. But think about this matter.

Act Four, Scene Seven
DON JUAN, SGANARELLE, LA VIOLETTE, RAGOTIN

DON JUAN
You know, I find that she can yet beguile;
There is a certain charm in her new style.
Her simple dress, her sorrow and her tears
Do quite refresh the way that she appears!
My feelings flared a bit for her unchecked --

SGANARELLE
Which is to say, her words had no effect.

DON JUAN
My supper, now!

SGANARELLE
Of course.

DON JUAN (Sitting at the table)
For all the fuss,
Good Sganarelle, you know I think we must
Give thought to all this talk of reformation.

SGANARELLE
Oh, sir!

DON JUAN
We'll give it due consideration.
Another twenty, thirty years of this
And then we'll see our souls are not amiss.

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About Timothy Mooney

Tim Mooney has worked in, with and around the theatre for almost thirty years, as an actor, director and playwright, and everything in-between.

Tim received his bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University, and a master of fine arts degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He went on to internships with the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre and the Seattle Rep, where he was assistant director to John Dillon and Daniel Sullivan, respectively.

Tim taught acting and stage movement for two years with Northern Illinois University, before creating “The Script Review,” a newsletter that reviewed some 700 plays in manuscript form over the course of seven years, distributed to Literary Managers and Directors all over the United States. As a director, Tim’s production of “Secret Obscenities” was one of five winners at the Bailiwick Directors’ Festival in Chicago.

From there, Tim stepped in as Artistic Director of the Stage Two Theatre Company, where he produced nearly fifty plays in five years, most of them original works.

When Stage Two turned to the classics, Tim adapted his own sparkling rhymed, iambic-pentameter versions of the plays of Moliere creating fifteen new Moliere plays in seven years. Stage Two produced “Tartuffe,” “The Miser,” “The Schemings of Scapin,” “The Misanthrope,” “The Doctor in Spite of Himself” and “Sganarelle,” and companies around the world picked up on these plays too, with productions all across the United States, as well as Canada and even India. U.S. venues included the Pasadena Shakespeare Festival, M.I.T., Wayne State University and Universities of Colorado, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio and many more.

Tim’s writing work brought him full circle, back in front of the footlights as a performer, playing the lead role in many of the works he had written. (In fact, all of the roles in which he now found himself cast were the parts that Moliere himself had originated!) This was to give Tim the impetus for a one-man show, “Moliere Than Thou” (Best Adapted Work, San Francisco Fringe Fest). The play serves as a quick introduction to some of Moliere’s greatest works and speeches, and has been seen all over the U.S. and Canada. It has given tens of thousands of students their first exposure to Moliere, and along the way Tim has taught thousands of students in his workshops, introducing the concepts further developed in his upcoming text, “Acting at the Speed of Life,” as well as his collection of Moliere Monologues.

Most recently, Tim has further refined the art of the one-person show, creating a one-man Sci-Fi Thriller, “Criteria,” (Artistic Picks Finalist, Seattle Fringe Fest), as well as “Karaoke Knights” a “One Man Rock Opera.”

Tim continues to write new versions of the plays of Moliere, novels, short stories, songs, children’s stories and screenplays.

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