Parson’s Nose begins its 23rd season this month with a new pilot series, “PNT Friday Night Films”. A film “club”, as it were - informal, intimate, with popcorn, wine, lemonade and air conditioning! It’s a chance for us to showcase rarely available films that we believe would be of interest to fans of the arts, with a brief introduction to the film and discussion after. We hope to further our PNT mission: making classic works more accessible to today’s audience.
First up will be French theater director Ariane Mnouchkine’s “Moliere” – not the smaller 2007 Laurent Tirard film, but the Theatre du Soleil’s two-part epic made for France TV in 1975, telling the actor/producer/playwright’s life story, from his Parisian boyhood to touring France with his company to his triumphant return to Paris as King Louis XIV’s favorite
Mnouchkine brilliantly uses 17th Century France as her canvas, from the Italian comedia stalls of Paris to the southern countryside to the court at Versailles. And, of course, she takes us through the dramatic romances, successes and failures of the man who would come to be known as "The Father of Modern Comedy".
I’ve always thought the great comedy creator Norman Lear might well make a donation to the Moliere Society. Though his acknowledged sources were from British TV, his Archie Bunker was in direct line with Moliere’s “Misanthrope”; his “George Jefferson” was a direct descendant of Moliere’s “Would Be Gentleman”, and his “Sanford and Son” weekly brought us characters from Scapin to Sganarelle. Everything old is new again in the classics.
In future we’ll bring Marcel Carne’s “Les Enfants du Paradis” (Children of the Paradise), a romance set in the theater world of early 19th Century Paris, and for pantomime artists what “The Red Shoes” is for dancers. As an “acting” exercise we also plan on showing Alec Guinness’ brilliant portrayal of the painter Gully Jimpson in this British 1958 comedy based on the book by Joyce Cary.
And many more. Let’s see where it goes. We want it to be an “education through entertainment” series, giving a further glimpse into the artistic world and its appreciation.
“Moliere” will be shown in two parts, each one 90 minutes long, over two Friday evenings:
We do hope you’ll make a donaeservation and join us for a new adventure!
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- Lance Davis