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
  • doug henderson.jpg Memorial tourney returns

    The Doug Henderson III Memorial Golf Tournament has raised thousands of dollars for scholarship funds and to help organizations throughout the region.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914-WA-Egghunt021.jpg Park puts wild spin on Easter tradition

    Adventurous egg hunters braved overcast skies and a persistent drizzle to search for hidden prizes Saturday during Wild Adventure’s first Ostrich Egg Hunt.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • FallenTree003.JPG More spills reported

    City of Valdosta employees have spent the weekend responding to spills caused by several inches of rain that have again drenched the city during the past few days.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Underwater Easter_Rich copy.jpg Stories behind ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’

    Christ comes from the Greek word, “Christos,” meaning “the anointed one.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140418_valwood001.jpg Valwood students register to vote

    Valwood teaches its students about the importance of voting. Each year, the school has encouraged eligible seniors to register to vote and participate in local elections.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • wadebrandon14.jpg Police still seeking missing mother, son

    Though their assignments have changed during the past dozen years, Valdosta Police Capt. Bobbi McGraw and Sgt. Chris Crews continue working the case of a missing mother and her son.

    April 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • 041814-TreeDownonRobinHood.jpg Minor flooding expected

    Minor flooding of the Withlacoochee River is expected this weekend thanks to the day-long rains across South Georgia Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041814-TreeDownonRobinHood.jpg Wastewater hazards assessed

    During heavy rain events, five to 15 manholes throughout the city are at risk of overflowing into local waterways, according to the City of Valdosta.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140418-VSU_HSBA003.jpg Valdosta State cuts ribbon for health, business building

    Eighteen months after breaking ground on the project, Valdosta State University held the official ribbon cutting Friday for its Health Sciences and Business Administration Building.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140417-Rail_Plan-001.jpg State Transportation seeks public input on rail plan

    The Georgia Department of Transportation held public meetings across the state this week to discuss its 2014 Georgia State Rail Plan.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results