Sunday, June 19, 2011

Imaginary Invalid : Live Theatre : Glam Rock : San Jose Theater

"Argan, an aging rocker, has everything - wealth, two lovely daughters, a beautiful second wife... and a bevy of imagined illnesses. 

"Engaging several doctors to prescribe medications and treatments for his supposed afflictions, Argan resents the mounting cost of his therapy, constantly looking for a way to save money." 
-- From the Shady Shakespeare web site.

Argan is the bespectacled and befuddled hypochondriac anchor character around whom all of the action occurs. The lovers scheme to be together, the other eccentric characters - good guys and bad guys and guys who'll make you go, hmmmm - thrive.

"It infuriates me to be wrong when I know I'm right." --  Moliere

In this version of his 17th century comedy, baroque meets glam rock. The two styles intermingle in set design, music and definitely in the very luscious costumes.

I knew if I waited long enough the 1970s would be hot again. We have enduring hit shows (coming in multiple permutations) such as Mama Mia by Abba, the adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Better still do you ever watch Gene Simmons Family Jewels? Can you imagine a glitter rock version of the second series of Blackadder?

"The duty of comedy," Moliere once said, "is to correct men by amusing them."

 Mr. Diaforious (David Toda), Argan (Chuck Phelps) and Thomas (Christopher Mitchell)

Can't get enough talk of doctors and health care? You'll find some very clever and surprisingly timely discourse coming from back in the 1660s. There's some potty humor and some parts of the show are slightly risque. It all flows deliciously.

You don't have to be a baby boomer to enjoy this production, but those of us who are of a certain age will just eat it up. ;)

** Whatever you do, be sure to stay until the very end. You won't be disappointed. This is a great and budget-friendly night out that you'll enjoy and remember.

The show is at the Historic Hoover Theatre in San Jose CA and runs through July 2nd.

Doll Piccotto as Toinette the maid with Chuck Phelps as Argan

This show is over. Tickets to their current shows may be available at the Shady Shakespeare site.

"Get your tickets while they last."
Moliere probably said this, perhaps in French

This is his final play. During one of the very first productions in 1673, the playwright, who was also an actor, was playing the role of the hypochondriac, Argan in his own production. 

Moliere became ill during the show but managed to carry on until the end of the play. He collapsed and died hours after the play concluded.

Inside Information:
For fun, bring your Mustache on a Stick, wear your Mustache necklace and/or your FingerStache temporary Mustache Finger Tattoo to the show. 

Loyalty and good taste forbids me from saying anything beyond the fact that you may very well be glad you had them with you! A little audience participation can be fun, too.

Fingerstache Tattoo Pack

Fingerstache Tattoo Pack

Shady Shakespeare offers two Shakespeare camps over the summer. Be sure to check them out.

Top left Image is Chuck Phelps as Argan and Angie Higgins as his wife, Beline

Play images used by permission

Information about Moliere's last show from The Cambridge Guide to Theatre, 1995, Cambridge University Press

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