‘College for Wives’ Overview: The Enchantment Is Visible
Generally you get a ward and isolate her for years, grooming her to be your naïve bride in opposition to her will, and in the long run, all it’s important to present for it are canceled nuptials and an entire lot of complications. Don’t you simply hate when that occurs?
Cuckoldry is the theme of Molière’s “The College for Wives,” the livestreamed French farce du jour, whose charms are all within the design as an alternative of the efficiency. The play is introduced by Molière within the Park and the French Institute Alliance Française, and in partnership with the Prospect Park Alliance, LeFrak Heart at Lakeside and Theatre for a New Viewers.
The Tony-award winner Tonya Pinkins leads an all-female solid as Arnolphe, a management freak who resolves to keep away from all of the boring, troublesome elements of a mature, grownup relationship — belief, mental engagement, independence, company — by marrying 17-year-old Agnès (Mirirai Sithole), whom he has raised to stay ignorant for that very goal. However when Agnès is courted by a dashing younger suitor named Horace (Kaliswa Brewster) and exhibits she’s not as dumb and obedient as Arnolphe would really like, he schemes to thwart the romance between the 2 lovebirds and regain possession of his supposed spouse.
The follow-up to Molière within the Park’s piquant livestream of “Tartuffe,” “The College for Wives,” directed by Lucie Tiberghien, has noticeably much less pluck. Molière’s textual content, translated by the poet Richard Wilbur, bounces with comedian finish rhymes, however in a play that so firmly adheres to a predictable method, it often feels exhausted, in want of a little bit of trim and tuck.
The manufacturing’s feminine casting performs properly with Molière’s arch satire — the story of a person’s tried dominion over a girl in his care and his final failure seems to be much more ludicrous when each male character seems as a girl. However, sadly, the performances usually stumble; the actors lack chemistry, from their separate screens (sure, chemistry can transcend even Zoom home windows), and the deliveries really feel noticeably unpolished, because the performers both step on one another’s traces or lose the circulate of the dialogue in awkward pauses.
Pinkins seems stiff in her digital environs, however Mirirai Sithole serves a shiny, wide-eyed Agnès and Carolyn Michelle Smith, in short roles as a notary and Horace’s father, offers some much-needed snap.
Nonetheless, Lina Younes’s set design — portraits of New York Metropolis streets and backyards, in vivid colour — is fascinating to take a look at, however solely when the remainder of the visible results (the floating heads and shoulders of characters overlapping; the heads of the actors awkwardly positioned on animated our bodies) don’t get in the way in which.
When it comes all the way down to its fashion and satire, “The College for Wives” doesn’t slouch. As for the remainder, the manufacturing might use extra of an training.
The College for Wives Livestreamed performances on Oct. 24. Out there on YouTube by means of Oct. 28 at 2 p.m.; moliereinthepark.org
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