Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

November 8, 2012

The Would-Be Gentleman

VSU Theatre finds the timeless wit of Moliere

VALDOSTA — Most people put on airs, at times. Some more than others. Yet, everyone hopes to improve their station in life.

Such is the story of Monsieur Jourdain in Moliere’s comedy, “The Would-Be Gentleman,” opening this evening as Valdosta State University Theatre & Dance’s latest production.

Jourdain is a successful tradesman who wishes to become a gentleman. He’s willing to spare no expense to purchase a bit of class which leads to several masters willing to teach Jourdain the rudiments of dance, manners, philosophy, fencing, etc., to make him a gentleman and make themselves some money. Of course, in their greed, the masters are revealed to be as arrogant and ignorant as Jourdain.

“So many people are trying to be what they’re not,” says Jacque Wheeler, the show’s director. “With Jourdain, we get to enjoy his ridiculousness.”

Through Moliere, audiences can recognize the timeless nature of this character defect while enjoying the French playwright’s satirical genius for skewering the pompous.

“The Would-Be Gentleman” was first performed Oct. 14, 1670 for King Louis XIV, according to VSU Theatre & Dance. At the king’s request, Moliere included a Turkish ceremony, which serves as the crowning touch to this outlandish comedy. Moliere even played the lead role of Jourdain.

For modern audiences, Wheeler has added elements of farce and replaced composer Jean Baptiste Lully’s stiff music of the era with the more uptempo works of Rossini and original songs by Dr. Christopher Bailey.

Wheeler also touched upon the Commedia dell’Arte tradition of slapstick via choreographed acrobatics and dance. But Jourdain remains the primary focus of Moliere’s savage wit.

“Moliere pokes fun at Jourdain’s urgent desire to do anything he can to become a respected member of the upper class,” Wheeler says in her director’s note. “... His bumbling efforts to marry his daughter to someone of high rank lead to humorous complications.”

These bumbling efforts are worth noting. Enjoy the splendor of the outrageous costumes of the French court, but don’t let them or the premiere year of 1670 keep you away from this show. Several years ago, VSU Theatre presented Moliere’s “Tartuffe,” which was a howling comic success, even if it was more than 300 years old.

It is Moliere’s timeless wit that should keep “The Would-Be Gentleman” relevant while the 17th century Jourdain’s attempts to be something he is not will have many in the audience thinking of someone they likely know here in the 21st century.

Text Only
Local News
  • Brown Johnson Solis Cardiovascular Surgeons.jpeg Cardiac, Vascular, Thoracic & Endovascular Surgeons Join South Georgia Medical Center

    The three surgeons will operate a full-time medical practice and professional office named the SGMC CardioVascular Institute.  The medical office, which is located in Suite 230 of the Professional Building which is adjacent to SGMC, will be open 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140729-Gas_Leak002.jpg Roadway closed after second gas line break

    For a second day in a row, workers from Valdosta’s Utilities Department struck a natural gas service line causing a leak that shut down a portion of Forrest Street, officials said.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • dump truck arrest photo.jpg Deputies nab stolen dump truck suspects

    The search for suspected dump truck thieves ended Tuesday afternoon with the arrest of two men in the same area officials searched extensively Monday.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bears sighted on Baytree

    A pair of bear sightings along Baytree Road this week could indicate a growing black bear population in Lowndes County.

    July 30, 2014

  • Johnson family files second suit against school

    Two months after filing a civil suit against Lowndes County Schools, Kendrick Johnson’s parents have filed a second suit against the school system which again claims that negligence and bullying led to their son’s death.

    July 30, 2014

  • Teachers Harvest

    With students and teachers returning to the classroom in the coming days, the need for school supplies is at the top of numerous priority lists. For teachers, this often means spending their money to ensure classrooms are fully stocked.

    July 30, 2014

  • Lake Park holds millage rate hearings

    Lake Park City Council held two public hearings Tuesday to discuss raising Lake Park's millage rate from 5.052 to 6.552, an increase of 1.5.

    July 30, 2014

  • 140729_celebritywaiter004.jpg Celebrity waiters raise $14,000 for CAC

    For local leaders, wearing aprons, counting tips and taking drink orders is quite the change from their day jobs. When it's for a good cause though, these “celebrities” didn't mind stepping out of their comfort zones to help.

    July 30, 2014 4 Photos

  • Jim Zachary Mug shot.jpg Zachary named The Valdosta Daily Times’ editor

    Veteran newspaper editor Jim Zachary has assumed the editor’s chair at The Valdosta Daily Times.
    During the past two decades Zachary has been one of the most decorated community newspaper journalists in Georgia and Tennessee.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140728-griner001.jpg Griner takes oath

     Surrounded by family, friends, and fellow commissioners, Clay Griner took the oath of office Monday morning as the Lowndes County Super District 5 commissioner.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

Top News

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results