THE STORY: It's 1666 and the brightest, wittiest salon in Paris is that of Celimene, a beautiful young widow so known for her satiric tongue she's being sued for it. Surrounded by shallow suitors, whom she lives off of without surrendering to, Celimene has managed to evade love since her beloved husband died—until today, when Frank appears. A traveler from England known for his own coruscating wit and acidic misanthropy, Frank turns Celimene's world upside-down, taking on her suitors, matching her barb for barb, and teaching her how to live again. (Never mind that their love affair has been engineered by a couple of well-placed lies.) This wild farce of furious tempo and stunning verbal display, all in very contemporary couplets, runs variations on Molière's The Misanthrope, which inspired it. Another incomparable romp from the brilliant author of All in the Timing.
"When you emerge from this impish comic playwright's glittering tribute to Molière, written entirely in verse, your head will be so dizzy with syncopated rhyme that you'll almost expect to find yourself speaking and thinking in chiming couplets…[Ives] adds farcical flourishes to Molière's trim plot and blends generous helpings of up-to-the-minute vulgarity into verse that mostly mimics the prancing gait and more decorous tone of the original…In a witty prologue to the play Mr. Ives credits Molière with having mixed 'the batter for tonight’s soufflé,' but it is his own inexhaustible verbal dexterity that makes it rise so deliciously high." —NY Times. "Mr. Ives has done the seemingly impossible: He has taken a beloved masterpiece of Western theater and created a parallel version which, though unmistakably based on the original, is both wholly personal in tone and similarly dazzling in effect." —Washington Post.