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This production closed on February 16, 2014.
Scapin

adapted from Molière

by Bill Irwin and Mark O’Donnell

directed by Kathryn Chase Bryer

In this wild physical comedy, the crafty Scapin, servant to the household of Geronte, jumps into the story as he first promises to help in affairs of his neighbor's son, Octave, then to aid in those of his own charge, Leander (Geronte's son). Both young men have fallen in love with unlikely, and penniless beauties (Hyacinth and Zerbinette), and both need money to help solve their dilemmas. Scapin knows a good ruse will always win the day and he drafts Sylvestre, Octave's servant, into his schemes. Brimming with zany characters and improvisation, this play is an uproarious romp of hugely theatrical proportions.

Run Time: 2 hours, plus 1 intermission

Ensemble
Sylvestre
Octave
Scapin
Hyacinth
Argante
Geronte
Leander
Zerbinette
Nerine
George
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*Member of Actors' Equity Association

Creative Team

Director

Kathryn Chase Bryer

Scenic Designer

A.J. Guban^

Costume Designer

Kendra Rai^

Lighting Designer

A.J. Guban^

Composer & Musician

Travis Charles Ploeger

Properties Designer

Samina Vieth

Fight & Movement Choreographer

 Matthew R. Wilson

Dance & Movement Choreographer

Kelly King

Production Stage Manager

Cheryl Ann Gnerlich

ASM

Lauren Klamm

ASM

Kara Sparling

Technical Director

Jason Krznarich

Scenic Artist

Marisa (Za) Jones

Master Electrician

Alex Keen

Asst Costume Designer

Courtney Wood

Stitcher

Sandy Smoker

Audience Services Manager

Lindsey Ruehl

Assistant Director

Nick Vargas

Photographer

Stan Barouh

Photo Gallery
Program Note
Borrowing is one of the longest standing traditions in theatre. Every idea, big or small, has either been directly or subconsciously influenced by something that has come before it. Bill Irwin’s Scapin is no exception. However, Irwin’s source material, Molière’s Les fourberies de Scapin, was hardly original itself. This is not to say that Molière didn’t write the dialogue and develop the theatrical arc, but rather he pulled material from his own life and the world around him.

Writing and working in the 17th century, Molière is championed as one of the great French playwrights. His most celebrated works, Tartuffe, Don Juan, and Le Misanthrope are staples in the canon of theatre history, serving as prime examples of social satire and farce. A favorite of King Louis XIV, Molière’s plays mock the “one percent” of Paris, exploiting the hypocrisy of its social and religious life.

With no lack of material, Molière was further influenced by the commedia dell’arte troupe sharing the theatre with his company. Commedia, an Italian form of theatre based on stock characters in a basic plot line, was extremely popular during the 16th to 18th centuries. Being surrounded by this work, Molière’s characters, settings, physical gags, and plots carry a hint of, if not draw directly from, the commedia tradition. The character of Scapin comes from a servant character, Scapino, that was originated by commedia actor Niccolo Barbieri who was working at the same time as Molière.

When Molière first produced Les fourberies de Scapin, the show was a failure. The play presented a resourceful servant and a bumbling and incompetent aristocracy; audiences were unreceptive to the role reversal. Molière eventually pushed it too far, and even his longtime patron, the king, banned him from producing theatre in and around Paris. However, where Molière left off Bill Irwin picked right up.

Irwin, famous for his clown work with San Francisco’s Pickle Family Circus, first produced his adaptation of Scapin at Seattle Repertory Theatre in March of 1995. Later in 1997, at the Roundabout Theatre Company, Irwin and collaborator Mark O’Donnell’s Scapin received its New York debut. The team’s version of Molière’s classic was infused with modern language and popular references while still retaining all of the original characters and story. Irwin himself portrayed the title character in both productions, as well as serving as the director. In addition to necessary updates, the adaptation played to Irwin’s clowning background, modernizing the commedia style of the play to feel more hip and recognizable while still retaining a timeless quality.

Eighteen years since its premiere this adaptation has found an opportunity to spring to life once again.  Our production’s challenge is to find relevance in Scapin’s story in the year 2014. Irwin has invited us to join him in the tradition of borrowing and discovering the newness in something nearly four centuries old. In the very last scene in Scapin a stage direction says, “every production can stage a chase to suit its own stage and players…” - a challenge we’ve certainly heard and accepted.

- Nick Vargas

 

Constellation Theatre Company

1835 14th Street NW | Washington D.C. | 20009 | 202.204.7741 | boxoffice@ConstellationTheatre.org

A Non-Profit, Tax-Exempt, 501 (c) (3), Organization | Copyright 2020 Constellation Theatre Company. All Rights Reserved.

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