Williamstown Theatre Festival Announces Reading of “The Misanthrope”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PLEASE
WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL AND THE CLARK
ANNOUNCE READING OF
RICHARD WILBUR TRANSLATION OF
MOLIERE’S “THE MISANTHROPE”
TO BENEFIT HIGHER GROUND
FEBRUARY 27, 2012 AT
THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE
DIRECTED BY LUCIE TIBERGHIEN
Williamstown, MA (2/1/2012) – Williamstown Theatre Festival Artistic Director Jenny Gersten announced today a reading of Richard Wilbur’s translation of Moliere’s classic French comedy The Misanthrope, to be held at The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA on Monday, February 27th at 7:00 PM. Proceeds from the event will go to Higher Ground, a new organization formed in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene to address affordable housing and disaster relief issues in the Northern Berkshires.
The reading will be directed by Lucie Tiberghien (Geometry of Fire, The Pavilion), and will star John Douglas Thompson (The Emperor Jones, Othello) as Alceste with a cast that includes Jon Bass (The Comedy of Errors, Sweet Bird of Youth), Michael Chernus (Close Up Space, In the Wake), Chris Coffey (Frank’s Home, “The Good Wife”), Johanna Day (Peter and Jerry, Proof), Angela Lewis (Milk Like Sugar, The Brother/Sister Plays), Jennifer Mudge (Dutchman, Reckless) and Michael Wieser (The Cherry Orchard, She Stoops to Conquer).
“I think John Douglas Thompson is one of the finest verse actors working today,” Ms. Gersten says. “He and Lucie have been working on this play off and on for a year and I am excited to see how he makes this role his own. We’ll also have a wonderful ensemble of actors to round out this rollicking night of winter fun and are pleased to employ The Misanthrope to meet a philanthropic need for our community.”
With this reading, the Williamstown Theatre Festival brings mischief and mayhem to The Clark to cure mid-winter malaise Moliere style. Outraged and disheartened by the vain flattery and calculated duplicity of Paris society, Alceste declares that henceforth he will only speak the truth – no matter what offense it might give. In an ironic twist of fate, Alceste immediately becomes enamored of the young widow Celimene, whose malicious tongue and unceasing coquetry embody all he has proclaimed to detest. Ultimately, it is Alceste who rejects the match when Celimene's confidential letters are disclosed and scathing secrets are revealed. In a rich translation by Berkshires' own poet laureate Richard Wilbur, this classic French comedy of manners pointedly punctuates that it is often the wiser course to accept for the best that which cannot be changed for the better.
Richard Wilbur is an American poet, literary translator, and scholar. Wilbur wrote his first poem at the age of 8, was named US Poet Laureate in 1987, and has won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry twice – in 1957 and in 1989. As a translator, Wilbur specializes in 17th-century French drama. His adaptations of Molière’s major plays have become the standard English translations. Wilbur began translating The Misanthrope in 1952, and it received its first performance by The Poets’ Theatre in Cambridge, MA in 1955. Three decades later, Wilbur was awarded the Drama Desk Special Award in 1983 for this adaptation.
SCHEDULE AND TICKETS
The reading will be held in the auditorium of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA 01267 on February 27th at 7pm. Reservations are recommended and can be made by visiting clarkart.edu or calling 413-458-0524. There is a $10 per person suggested donation that may be made on the evening of the event to benefit Higher Ground.
WILLIAMSTOWN 2012 SEASON
Jenny Gersten recently announced one new Main Stage and one new Nikos Stage production for the 2012 Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF) season, the Festival’s 58th Season and second under Ms. Gersten’s leadership. A Preview Production of Far From Heaven, a new musical with a book by Richard Greenberg (Take Me Out), an original score by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie (Grey Gardens) and directed by Michael Greif (Rent; WTF’s Three Sisters), will play the Main Stage from July 19 – 29, 2012; the World Premiere of Lucy Boyle’s new play The Blue Deep will play the Nikos Stage from July 11 – July 22, 2012, directed by Drama Desk Award-winner Bob Balaban (Gosford Park; WTF’s “Fridays@3”) and featuring Tony Award-winner (and Williamstown veteran) Blythe Danner (“Meet the Parents”; WTF’s The Seagull).
Special Discount Ticket Bundles for the 2012 Season are available for purchase until March 9, 2012 at www.wtfestival.org. To receive the best discounts offered, purchase ticket bundles before February 25th when package prices increase. Single tickets for the 2012 Williamstown Theatre Festival season will be available in April either through the WTF website (www.wtfestival.org) or by mail order using WTF's season brochure (call 413-597-3400 to join the mailing list). The WTF Box Office will open on June 5th at which point tickets may be purchased online, by phone, or in person at the '62 Center for Theatre and Dance Box Office at 1000 Main St (Route 2), Williamstown, MA 02167.
ABOUT WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL
Since 1954, the Williamstown Theatre Festival has brought America's finest actors, directors, designers, and playwrights to the Berkshires, engaging a loyal audience of both residents and summer visitors. Each WTF season is designed to present unique opportunities for artists and audience alike, revisiting classic plays with innovative productions, developing and nurturing bold new plays and musicals, and offering a rich array of accompanying cultural events including Free Theatre, Late-Night Cabarets, readings, workshops, and educational programs. While best known for our acclaimed productions, WTF is also home to one of the nation’s top training and professional development programs for new generations of aspiring theatre artists and administrators. Now under the leadership of Artistic Director Jenny Gersten, WTF was honored with the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in 2002 and the Commonwealth Award for Achievement in 2011.