This play was performed with the same text as presented to Louis XIV, the Sun King on 18 July 1668 in Versailles by the Troupe du Roi. The work is rarely presented in Australia (if ever) as it can be staged as a dark tragedy. MFT chose a more tragi-comedic style which earned its success.
The frustrated husband
[George Dandin ou le Mari Confondu]
Entirely in French with English surtitles
Director Christopher Hosking
Producer Michael Bula
George Dandin, a rich bourgeois, married the young aristocrat Angélique. “Let my marriage be a powerful lesson to all the bourgeois middle classes middle classes who desire to elevate themselves in society and to forge an alliance as I have with the house of an aristocrat”, he cries at the start. The parents of his spouse, Monsieur et Madame de Sotenville, accepted this union to restore their troubled finances. They constantly make Dandin aware that he belongs to an inferior special class and that he must be most grateful for this flattering alliance. From her part, Angélique barely hides the fact that she has a gallant or lover from her own aristocratic milieu in the person of Clitandre.
Dandin catches her out in flagrante delicto. She manages to twist things the first time but on the second time when Clitandre comes at night, she finds herself locked out of the house. Defeated, she recognises her fault and begs Dandin to open up. Dandin believes he has won. He needs to cal the parents, but as soon as he does, Angélique turns the tables on him; she enters in the house and this time it is Dandin who is locked outside. When the parents arrive, she accuses him of being a husband guilty of being out all night drinking.
In this way the master of the situation Dandin, becomes its victim. He must offer his excuses whilst the Sotenvilles retort: “if you return, we remind you of the respect you owe your wife and from the respectable milieu from which she comes”. He can only respond in a final monologue: “when you have like me married an evil woman, the best thing to do is to jump in the lake headfirst”.
A fine comedy-tragedy farce of traditional style, the play is a strong social critique on bourgeois arrivistes and the arrogant nobility. This is a black comedy with points of tragedy, centred upon the drama of a man conscious of his failings and who decries: “you wanted it, George Dandin, you wanted it”.
George Dandin – Faustine Werts
Lubin + Colin – Robin Brugerolle
Monsieur de Sotenville – Michel Bula
Madame de Sotenville – Aurélie Casrouge
Clitandre – Karim Bouriah-Lopez
Angélique – Anna Vranes
Claudine – Ludivine Siret
Reviews & compliments
Thanks very much for inviting us to the Molière, Michael. As always with him, the text was pointedly relevant, and we enjoyed the panache of the performance. All good wishes for the final performance.