November 7, 2012

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Theatre and Dance Presents Moliere’s ‘The Would-Be Gentleman’ Nov 8-14

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University Theatre and Dance will present Moliere’s “The Would-Be Gentleman,” a comedy of social ascension, Nov. 8-14 on the Sawyer Theatre stage.

A primary example of the comedy-ballet genre, the play was first performed on Oct. 14, 1670, and represents a rare blend of realism, fantasy, music, and comedy. King Louis XIV, who included in his request that the play contain a Turkish ceremony, as the French during that time period were fascinated with the seemingly different and exotic Turkish culture, commissioned it. Moliere, or Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, played the role of Monsieur Jourdain, a wealthy merchant who longs to become a member of the nobility and, thus, gain the title of gentleman. However, as the show’s title suggests, that is an impossibility, as the title of gentleman during the time period could never be attained, only conferred at birth.

Determined to realize his social aspirations, Jourdain hires music, dancing, fencing, and philosophy instructors to teach him how to be a gentleman. His wife wants him to pay more attention to their daughter, who has fallen in love and wants to marry a member of the middle class. However, he wants his daughter to marry into a noble family. His wife nags him, and his servants laugh in his face. Still, he refuses to stop pursuing his ideal of what the nobility should be — beautiful, refined, elegant, and dignified. He even pursues a relationship with a widowed countess.  

“In interpreting the piece for a contemporary audience,” said Jacque Wheeler, head of VSU’s Theatre and Dance Area, professor, and show director and choreographer, “I have used Moliere’s connection to the broad physical comedy of stock characters, which is derived from the tradition of the Commedia dell’Arte. While we have not used a slapstick, we have explored a farcical humor through the incorporation of acrobatics, ballet, and step dance. The use of mistaken identity, misuse of language, and the marriage of a daughter to an unwanted suitor are part of the comic content of the play. The primary humor, however, derives from the gentleman who would be a member of the nobility, Monsieur Jourdain. Moliere pokes fun at Jourdain’s urgent desire to do anything he can to become a respected member of the upper class.”

Tickets for “The Would-Be Gentleman” are $12 for adults, $10 for senior citizens, $8 for children and non-VSU students, and free for VSU students. Tickets for groups of 10 or more at a single performance are $7.

Season memberships, which include eight admissions to be used as desired by the member throughout the 2012-2013 theatre and dance season, are $58.85 for the public and $53.50 for university faculty and staff. Patronages are also available at a variety of levels, from $150 to $1,000, and benefit scholarships.

“The Would-Be Gentleman” opens at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8, in the Sawyer Theatre on the first floor of the Fine Arts Building, located at the intersection of Brookwood Drive and Oak Street. Additional performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, through Saturday, Nov. 10; 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11; and 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12, through Wednesday, Nov. 14. The show is performed with one 15-minute intermission.

Tickets may be purchased by calling the VSU Theatre and Dance Box Office at (229) 333-5973 between the hours of 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Contact Jacque Wheeler at (229) 333-5820 or learn more.

On the Web:

The Production Staff — Ruth Brandvik, scenic and lighting design; Esther Iverson, costume design; Michael Driggers, technical director; Leslie Kirby, stage manager; Karl Wildman, vocal coach; Jacque Wheeler, director and choreographer; Dr. Christopher Bailey, original music; Abby Vincent and Genna Kasun, assistant stage managers; Sarah Beth Moseley, fight choreographer/fight master; John Timmers, step choreography; Matthew Moran, sound design/engineer; Elie Siegel, assistant lighting design; Ryan Ponsell, assistant technical director; Patrice Trower, assistant costume designer; Dorothy Barnes, draper; Genna Kasun, master electrician; Rebecca Morris, master carpenter; Christa Bynum, properties master; Rebecca Morris, light board operator; Melanie Harkness, paint charge; Kathy Raess-Young, costume shop supervisor; Ryan Ponsell, Elie Siegel, Rebecca Morris, and Genna Kasun, scene shop assistants; Patrice Trower and Rebecca Huguet, costume shop assistants; THEA 2750 and THEA 3720A and 3720B, scene construction crew; THEA 3720C, costume construction crew; Caleb Spivey, box office manager; Asia Johnson and Amanda Markham, house managers

The Cast — Will Stanley (Monsieur Jourdain); Carlie Johnson (Madame Jourdain); Leigha Witt (Lucile); Sarah Beth Moseley (Nicole); Ethan Parker (Cleonte); Chance Wall (Covielle); Emmanuel Davis (Dorante); Ashley Anderson (Dorimene); Josh Barcol (Music Teacher); Maxwell Swangel, Larren Woodward, and Mike Burson (Students of the Music Teacher); Marie Harper (Dance Teacher); Andrew Ritfeld (Fencing Teacher); Dennis May (Philosophy Teacher); Jake Martishius (Tailor); Michael McClain (Tailor’s Apprentice); Blake Fountain and Michael Morgan (Lackeys); Tess Buis, Melanie Harkness, Elie Siegel, Casey Sams, Chae Loveland, Rishik Patel, John Timmers, Donovan Campbell, and Tyrell Ruffin (Zanni); Parish Morgan (Poquelin)