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Alumni Weekend 2018

Latest News: Press Release

Seventeenth-Century Comedy and Independent Heroine Come to Life on George School Stage

Tuesday, January 3, 2006  
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Issued: October 28, 2005

The Advanced Drama class at George School will perform Molière's comedy The School for Husbands on Friday and Saturday, November 4 and 5, at 8:00 p.m. in Walton Center Auditorium. The shows are free and open to the public.

According to drama teacher Nelson Camp, although The School for Husbands was first performed in 1661, it carries a message that is surprisingly relevant today--in Nelson's words, "If you love someone, you free them to be themselves as truly as possible." The farcical plot revolves around the romantic complications that arise after two elderly brothers, Ariste and Sganarelle, are each given one of two orphaned young sisters to raise as they see fit. Ariste gives his orphan (Léonor) the freedom to enjoy society and follow her own mind and heart. Sganarelle, on the other hand, locks up his orphan (Isabelle) and trains her to become his wife. When a young man (Valère) enters the picture, Isabelle falls in love with him and gets him to help her devise an escape from Sganarelle.

Nelson said that the clever, independent character of Isabelle prompted him to choose this play for his students. "I like that she doesn't get squashed by her situation. For 1661 that was a pretty radical concept," he said. "I like that liberating message."

The French playwright Molière (1622-1673) was known as a master of comedy. George School senior Liam Scully-Wolfe of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, said he has enjoyed having the opportunity to play a comedic role. He described his character, Valère, as "a young, lovestruck guy" and said he likes the humor that arises when Valère becomes a part of Isabelle's plan for escape from the despotic Sganarelle. Valère uses flattery to give Sganarelle the illusion of control, and, according to Liam, "He's so caught up in himself that all the compliments just go to his head."

Molière wrote The School for Husbands in rhyming verse in French. Nelson's students will be performing a rhyming English translation of the play created by Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet Richard Wilbur in the twentieth century. George School senior Christina Saggiomo of New Hope, Pennsylvania, said she learned in rehearsals that the rhymes make it particularly important to focus on her character's emotions; otherwise, the lines can easily sound like routine recitation. Christina, who plays the role of Isabelle in one of the performances, explained, "You don't want it to sound like a poem. You want it to sound like something you're saying."

The meaning of the play's title, Nelson said, becomes clear only at the end of the comedy when the results of the brothers' efforts are evident. "It turns out it's the women who teach the men how to be husbands," he said. "It really is about how our treatment of other people can determine the outcome of the relationship."

As with all mainstage productions at George School, costumes are by Liz Lukac, and sets are designed by Scott Hoskins and built by his Stagecraft classes.

All George School students take four year-long courses in the arts. In addition to theater arts, the arts department offers courses in vocal and instrumental music, dance, video production, journalism, painting and drawing, woodworking and furniture design, ceramics, and photography. The arts department encourages students to be creative and enjoy themselves while they practice and appreciate a specific art form. In addition, students learn to be discriminating when they evaluate their own and others' work.