Info Pack Misanthrope - EN

Page 1


alternately in english and french

The Upcoming



Creative Team

Director David Furlong Scenic Artist

Annick Bosson

Lighting Designer

David Manson

Stage Manager

Marie Miscopein

Video Creator

Anaïs Le Pape / Marie

Loury / Léo-Paul Payen

Exchange Theatre would like to thank: James and all the staff at Camden People’s Theatre, The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Unity Theatre Trust, Benedict Cooper, Thomas de Toledo, Clara Euler, Yasmine Bizonzolo, Clara Quentin, Eloise Robin, Bébéto Kponton, Anais Le Pape, Sarah Habib






- Summary p.5

- Presentation p.12

- Cast p.6

- Values & services


- Interview p.8 - Reviews p.10



“Let humans be like humans and let them display their genuine inmost hearts in everything they say� - Alceste, Act 1, scene 1

Molière’s 17th century masterpiece Le Misanthrope transposed to a 21st century TV newsroom,

Directed by David Furlong Off West End Award Best Director

In an age when ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’ make headlines in newspapers and on TV news, Exchange Theatre reinvents Molière’s satire on the 17th century French court, The Misanthrope, and relocates it in a 21st century TV newsroom. Costumed in modern dress and surrounded with high tech equipment this production makes relevant this enduring classic as it serves to explore the ideas of gossip, innuendo and ultimately fake news.

Alceste who despises the attitudes of his time, preferring to avoid flattery or deceit, telling the truth no matter what the consequences, searching for genuineness rather than hypocrisy, one’s own interests and treachery, is a handsome news anchorman in love with Célimène, a brilliant television commentator who is slightly vain and a real socialite.




Anoushka RAVA

Simeon OAKES













INTERVIEW, with the Director David Furlong Tell me about the piece and your vision for it. In a world of permanent fast breaking news and emptiness, Alceste remains the most loyal man, but he lacks only one virtue: indulgence for other’s behaviours. His search for genuineness against hypocrisy, interests and treachery is tormenting him and as if it could not get worse, he is in love with Célimène, a free spirit who entertains the surrounding vacuity, and makes it her business. For our time of ‘alternative facts’, the play finds unanticipated echo in the world today, transforming the 17th century society salon into a contemporary newsroom. It’s Molière vs Fake news! What is the most astonishing is to see how relevant the play is today and how our relationship to news or gossip is just the same as it was in the 17th century. For us, the only difference is that now everything is public, and people are willingly exposing their lives on Facebook live or Instagram ‘stories’, so in addition to Molière’s take on falseness, I am exploring this idea that nothing ever happens really privately, any action is always relayed online, on a screen or seen from behind a window... Did you have initial ideas about casting and what you wanted actors to bring to the piece? The fact that we are producing a double parallel production in English and French makes us reach for very singular profiles of actors: bilingual people with a commanding use of both languages. They’re also really interesting people who generally have parents of two different origins, who grew up being multi-lingual, in a place which isn’t their parents’ culture, mostly. They fit a recently-named group of people called third-culture kids and they bring a great variety of identity to the piece. It’s refreshing to finally see an Iranian Célimène or a Mauritian Alceste. It also simply reflects better the time we live in! Have rehearsals altered your initial thoughts, at all? Ahead of rehearsals, Research and Developments on the piece have actually confirmed some intuitions: our version could echo the current trend to make everything public through social networks. I doubted some of the ideas as if they were just gimmicks. But the tangibility of Molière’s situation is astonishing, he speaks about such concrete and universal problems that the very modern and connected situations I tried to emphasize the current relevance of this play. It even took us to the point of finding some more cutting-edge situations than what I had initially imagined! I came to a scene with what I though was a very modern take on it and it became very dull and boring. But by looking at it closely, one of the character’s lines reminded me of a very shocking ‘snapchat’ video I had seen and I thought “My god, this should actually be much more trivial. Molière is totally ahead of us. You can’t just look at transferring his scenes to modern settings, you have to transfer his exceptional events to shocking situations of our world.” Today, people go crazy over their webcams and Facebook live just like what he imagined for some his characters, they just did not do it to thousand of viewers.


”Try if you can to be a shade less vain and treat the world with somehow less disdain” - Arsinoé Act 3, scene 6

REVIEWS « The revitalization of Molière’s Misanthrope is quite probably the most enjoyable production I have seen since moving to London last year and something I would consider a must see. » « One of the highlights of Misanthrope was that for the most part, the delivery of the verse was as natural as if it were prose. » The Upcoming « At a time of fake news and ‘alternative facts’ David Furlong imaginatively adapts this 17th-century tragicomedy, where Twitter feeds and news updates of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un onscreen are juxtaposed with Molière’s verses. » LPTheatres « This rather wonderful production encapsulates Molière’s brilliance. »

RemoteGoat « Original and entertaining. »

London Student « This flashy production puts a modern spin on the classic seventeenth-century tale. » « The acting is generally impressive. » « A polished and fun production and it is definitely worth seeing. »


Exchange Theatre is an international cultural organisation established in 2006 in London in order to translate and produce unknown or rare foreign plays in English. With the use of multilingualism and strong imagery, the productions offer a true sensorial experience. Led by David Furlong and Fanny Dulin, the organisation translated and produced, for the first time on the off West End stages, plays from major French playwrights including Paul Claudel, Georges Feydeau, JeanPaul Sartre and Xavier Durringer (London and off Broadway). Exchange Theatre was resident company at the French Institute in London for two years. The work started as English adaptations then evolved towards a unique bilingual experiment. The response was very positive, moving from the library to the Ciné Lumiere auditorium. Understanding was seen to be universal whatever the language and it became clear that this work should be seen by a wider audience than the French community in London. Besides the production division, their education department offers drama classes in French and also teaches French through drama in schools and nurseries across the UK. Their studios are located at London Bridge at the heart of London,

Each year, Exchange Theatre produces its own theatre Festival, where professionals and amateurs share the ​ stage of a theatre. In 2016, Molière’s The Doctor In Spite of Himself was played alternately in English and French by the same cast over four weeks and was nominated for an Off West Award for Best Direction. Critically acclaimed by both English and French press, Exchange Theatre is « en route » to reaching this goal. Since being appointed to the Royal Opera House, the artistic director of the organization has finally gained a certain recognition which has given more impact to his work. And, in the complex time of the post-Brexit aftermath, such recognition was not easily achievable. Both press and audiences agree: Exchange Theatre is growing and clearly earning its credit. In 2017, the original production of Misanthrope was supported by The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and also Unity Theatre Trust. 2018 is the 11th edition of the festival. Find us on



Diversity and cross culture Our theatre is international and outside any boxes, crossing the borders of cultures and traditions, and creating a cocktail of western pop-culture and non-western influences. The plays often include contents linked with the notions of exile and uprooting.

Theatre in the present Its work is always connected to the current context. It is spontaneous and makes classical or modern translations accessible to a 21st century audience, going beyond conservatism.

A sensorial experience We offer an experience that goes beyond theatre, reaching the public on an emotional level, stimulating our audience on multiple levels of sensations.

Other services • Le Workshop: Drama classes in French, from true beginner to performing amateur • Communic’Act: Workshops provided by actors to improve eloquence and verbal / nonverbal communication skills in a professional setting • Education Department: Teaching French through drama in schools and nurseries across the UK • The T.R.A.P.: Rental of its rehearsal studio


”Yes, people shouldn’t act the way they do but should you turn your back on society too?” - Philinte Act 5, scene 1


Fanny DULIN Executive Director 020 7403 8560 / 0790 3311723

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