Gail Sachson is Vice-Chair of the Dallas Cultural Affairs Commission and a member of the Dallas Theater Center’s board of trustees.
We’re invited to a party at the Dallas Theater Center! And what a party it is! There are baubles, balloons, champagne, friends-or are they foes?- frilly gowns and seriously fabulous shoes! And fans in constant motion to cool all the hot air (from the partygoers and from the balloons, which are refilled from the helium tank onstage).
Although set centuries ago, The Misanthrope, now at the Dallas Theater Center thru May 18th, is timeless and timely. Lesson in love and trust and truth and masks and morals know no boundaries in time or space. But just to make sure we realize the relevancy of Moliere’s rhymes, Director David Kennedy nudges us awake and makes us notice, with a smile, the party-colored very-now Lucite chairs, (which , by the way, are TRANSPARENT, which the characters are not!), the global, very-now music (help me name those tunes and bands!), all played on a contemporary stero system…with a little karaoke thrown in.
The 20-year-old femme fatale who plays the field…well…it’s inferred the entire land, is “…terrified of solitude”. She could be of then, of now and of tomorrow too. Her devoted lover, who disdains the courtly world of feigned niceties, understands that “love is madness”, but he cries, “I’ll love you to the bitter end.” The end comes, and it’s bitter. He begs for truth. Who do you love? Then, no- he begs for pretense. Then, no- he reverts to truth. In the end, the soft light of the chandelier that once beautified and lied, flashes to the harsh glare of white flouresence…like a surgical operating room, as the characters have their hearts exposed and torn apart by the truth. Our hero exits, throws off his only vestige of pretense, his courtly wig, and leaves to escape, he hopes, the false faces and costumes of a world “where vice is King”. (all too similar to the world we will hear about on the KERA news report tomorrow.)
This is David Kennedy’s farewell directing effort, and he has left us with a smile and some learned advice from Moliere: Never put anything in writing. (You had to be there!)