Faction of Fools to Present The Miser

May 27, 2016
The Miser

Faction of Fools Theatre Company presents Moliere's THE MISER whipped up with the physical flare of Commedia dell'Arte. Performances run June 2nd - June 26th, 2016 in the Eastman Studio Theatre at Gallaudet University. One of Moliere's most popular comedies, THE MISER also shows his deep indebtedness to Commedia, his playful, lightning-fast dialogue perfectly complementing the Fools' signature high-energy physical style. Five daring actors bring a cast of sharp-witted characters to life in a rollicking tale of one man's love for his cash box.

THE MISER closes Faction of Fools Theatre Company's exciting 2015-2016 season as DC's only Commedia dell'Arte theatre company. The company is committed to performing and preserving this Renaissance theatre style by bringing to the stage productions infused with Commedia's best attributes: physical discipline, spontaneous imagination, collaborative energy, and joyous wonder. The Fools are the Helen Hayes Awards recipients of the 2012 John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company.

Faction of Fools commissioned a fresh translation of the 1669 French script from George Mulford, the father of director Toby Mulford and a scholar of French literature. This translation utilizes more modern colloquial language than previous translations, while maintaining Moliere's playfully polite phrasing and infuriatingly indirect assertions. The ensemble of five actors formulates ever more surprising physical comedy to take the miser's household from a state of normalcy and sanity into complete chaos.

According to Mulford, "The soul of Commedia is its ability to convey universal human needs. Moliere gives his characters sharp-witted dialogue to do battle in a society bound by rules of politeness and gentility. In a society where a single wealthy man has power over everyone around him, a single character flaw on his part creates chaos in the whole household."

Faction of Fools' Producing Artistic Director Toby Mulford directs and performs. Mulford directed Faction's The Lady Becomes Him, which was based on the 17th century Italian scenario "Donna Zanni," and has appeared onstage in most of the Faction of Fool's productions since 2010. A graduate of the Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre, Mulford has collaborated on over a dozen new pieces of physical theater nationally and internationally. Companies include Faction of Fools, Dr. Dour & Peach, The Dell'Arte Company, Four on the Floor Productions, Tribe of Fools, BigHeadHouse, and the Calgary Animated Objects Society.

Harpagon the miser, played by Toby Mulford, wishes to engage his daughter Elise, played by Rachel Spicknall Mulford(Faction's Our Town, The Lady Becomes Him, Hamlecchino) to a wealthy old man named Anselme, but Elise loves Valere, played by Kathryn Zoerb (Faction's Our Town; Imagination Stage). Harpagon's son Cleante, played by Clayton Pelham (Theater Alliance's Word Becomes Flesh) courts the young and penniless Mariane, played by Gallaudet senior Jane Enabore. When Harpagon himself courts Mariane through the matchmaker Frosine, a battle ensues. Harpagon's servant MaƮtre Jacques just wishes to serve a nice dinner, and Cleante's servant La Fleche serves up a shady loan broker and a grand heist. The mayhem continues with battles of wit, slapstick showdowns, covert courting in American Sign Language, and a revelatory tale of father and children separated by a shipwreck. All comes out right in the end, even if the heart-warming conclusion leaves one old man blissfully lonely.

The visual world of the THE MISER gives a sense of lightness, rapidity, and entropy in a modern clownish aesthetic with costumes by Lynly Saunders (Faction's Pinocchio!, The Lady Becomes Him, Romeo & Juliet, The Mandrake; WSC; Washington National Opera), scenery by Daniel Flint (Faction's Pinocchio!, The Lady Becomes Him, Romeo & Juliet, The Mandrake; Taffety Punk), lighting by David Ghatan (Rorschach Theatre; WSC; Forum), sound design by Mehdi Raoufi (Faction's Hamlecchino), and masks from the workshop of international mask craftsman Newman.

THE MISER by Moliere, presented by Faction of Fools Theatre Company runs Thursday, June 2 through Sunday, June 26, 2016 in the Eastman Studio Theatre - Elstad Annex at Gallaudet University (800 Florida Ave NE WDC). Friday and Saturday at 8:00pm; Saturday and Sunday at 2:00pm, with a Special Monday Night Performance on Monday June 13 at 7:30pm. The ASL Interpreted performances are Friday June 3 at 8 p.m., Saturday June 11 at 8 p.m., and Sunday June 26 at 2:00 p.m. All performances are Open Captioned upon request. Tickets: Regular: $25; Students, Seniors, & Military: $18; Children 12 and under: $12. Available at the door, 1-800-838-3006, and online www.factionoffools.org/miser . Appropriate for ages 7 and up. Running time is approximately 90 minutes without an intermission.

For more information, visit http://www.factionoffools.org/miser.