Moliere’s Learned Ladies to be Presented at Reitz

Conman Tissotin (Ryan Haggerty, center) poses as a poet and mesmerizes Armande (Jessalyn Penvose, far left), Belise (Jennifer Gonzalves, second left) and Philamente (Jenny Gordon, far right), while Henriette (Cody Buck, second right) seems unamused in Moliere's The Learned Ladies at the Reitz Theater.  (Provided photo)

Conman Tissotin (Ryan Haggerty, center) poses as a poet and mesmerizes Armande (Jessalyn Penvose, far left), Belise (Jennifer Gonzalves, second left) and Philamente (Jenny Gordon, far right), while Henriette (Cody Buck, second right) seems unamused in Moliere’s The Learned Ladies at the Reitz Theater. (Provided photo)

DUBOIS – “A learned fool is more foolish than an ignorant one!”

That comment becomes reality, as the Reitz Theater Players and Cultural Resources Inc. presents the theatric classic, The Learned Ladies by Moliere, on Aug. 15-16 and Aug. 21-23 at 7:30 p.m. and Aug. 17 at 2 p.m. at the Reitz Theater in DuBois.

The piece was a satire on academic pretention, female education and preciousness, and is one of Moliere’s most popular comedies, and first premiered back in 1672.

The play has special meaning to director Ben Fitzgerald-Fye, who calls Moliere one of the titans of theater. “His work,” Fitzgerald-Fye said, “offers a sarcasm, wit and advanced level of humor that has been part of shaping our modern approach to comedy. It’s an adaptation intended to approach the work of Moliere in a way that emphasizes humor, wit and approachability.

Two young people, Henriette (Cody Buck) and Clitandre (Vincent Barnard), are in love. In order to marry, they must overcome an obstacle: the attitude of Henriette’s family.

Her sensible father (Drew Gordon) and uncle (Ed Bach) are in favor of the marriage; but unfortunately her father is under the thumb of his wife, Philamente (Jenny Gordon). She’s supported by her sister (Jennifer Gonzalves) and daughter (Jessalyn Penvose), and wishes Henriette to marry Trissotin (Ryan Haggerty), a conman posing as a poet, who has these “learned women” completely in his thrall.

Jessica Haggerty, Josh Alderton and Ben Fitzgerald-Fye will round out the cast.

“This is a challenging adaptation for actors,” Fitzgerald-Fye added, “and this group has really done a masterful job making these characters very funny and the show delightfully entertaining. People can expect to laugh, roll their eyes and laugh some more. It is a good time!”

Fitzgerald-Fye has set this 17th-century story in the year 1969. “The brilliant thing about great playwrights is the timelessness of their work,” he said. “This play is about people getting wrapped up in pseudo-intellectual fads and falling victim to social appearances. 1969 had a distinct look, feel and set of social classifications that were as deliberate as they would have been in Moliere’s time. It was also a pretty groovy time period; so, why not?”

Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and students and are available at Kohlhepp’s True Value, Rosie’s Book Shoppe, Stew’s Brew Coffee House, Ms. Cat’s Cache, Tannery Bar and Grille and S&T Bank on Liberty Boulevard, all in DuBois. Reservations can also be made by calling 814-375-4274 or online at reitztheater.com.

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