The School of Dramatic Arts is ready to take a crack at French playwright Molière’s famous Les Femmes Savantes or The Learned Ladies. The play, which originally played in the Royal Palace of France in 1672 finds its way to the Bing Theater this weekend. The play is overflowing with satirical jokes on academic pretentiousness and female education — a can’t miss.
The play follows two young lovers, Henriette and Clitandre, who must overcome the mountain of doom: parental approval. (Being single and having no personal connection whatsoever to this predicament makes for an ever better reason to go — laughing at other people’s pain.) Henriette’s father and uncle are more than ready to give Henriette away, but her mother, aunt and sister favor another suitor: Trissotin, a pseudo-scholar and mediocre poet with lofty aspirations — think film production major. Trissotin has three lady friends — Henriette’s sister, aunt and mother — who worship the ground he places his oh-so-talented feet on. The “learned” ladies are drawn to him due to their own obsession with being as pretentious about art and culture as possible. They sound annoying, sure, but Molière isn’t known as a master comedian for nothing.
If laughing is not your cup of arthouse tea, then there seems to be little reason to see this play, but missing it would be unwise, given the director of the show.
SDA has brought in Michael Michetti, co-artistic director of zthe Theatre @ Boston Court in Pasadena, to direct the show. He’s a seasoned pro with credits like A Picture of Dorian Gray, Hamlet, and The Grapes of Wrath. He directed Tom Jacobson’s The Twentieth-Century Way, which recently had an acclaimed off-Broadway run at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. The man has awards and experience, but the best part is that he’s a Trojan.
The play runs this Thursday, Friday, Saturday (two shows) and Sunday. The USC Ticket Office offers tickets for $5 for students, $8 for faculty and staff and $10 for the general public. Online and phone purchases are $12.
Here are some other highlights for SDA:
Camille, another French love story (albeit much more depressing than Learned Ladies) is running March 3-6.
The Oresteia Project is the brainchild of director David Bridel and MFA acting class of 2016 acting students. The show draws on the trilogy of tragedies by Aeschylus but throws in modern twists. Running Feb. 13-March 3 in the Scene Dock Theatre.
Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 features MFA actors in Anna Deavere Smith’s documentary theater work. Feb. 6–March 6 in the Scene Dock Theater.