Gustavus Adolphus College Presents The Misanthrope

Gustavus Adolphus College’s fall theatre production, The Misanthrope, takes a deeper look at the balance between societal conventions.
Posted on November 2nd, 2021 by

Photo Credit: Kimberly Braun

Have you ever wondered what the difference between 1660s French culture and modern reality TV is? Gustavus Adolphus College’s fall theatre production, The Misanthrope, takes a deeper look at the balance between societal conventions and upholding personal morals. Performances are November 11-13 at 8 p.m. and November 13 and 14 at 2 p.m. in the Rob and Judy Gardner Laboratory Theatre. 

Directed by Kimberly Braun ’11, The Misanthrope tells the story of Alceste and his somewhat ironic love for the flighty Célimène. Alceste believes in complete honesty, and detests the societal norms of the time, while Célimène moves through society with ease. “The play is about balancing integrity with kindness, finding compromise in love, and the consequences of gossip and moralizing,” Braun says. “This show is a comedy of manners, so it is poking fun at the niceties of socialites. There are also themes of love, honesty, and kindness.”

In this production, a traditionally male character, Philinte, is played by female first year Aubrey Kosters ’25. “Having Aubrey play Philinte is exciting because she is playing the Misanthrope’s best friend, and it’s so nice to see heterosocial friendship and LGBT visibility onstage!” Braun says.

“We’ve set the show in 2021 on a reality show about the 1660s. So the politics are totally relevant to today, and you get to enjoy the gorgeous styles of the 1660s,” she says. “I have been so delighted to see the choices actors bring to rehearsal each night! The actors come up with very funny bits that end up being some of the highlights of the show,” she says. 

The production is using the translation by Richard Wilbur, which is written entirely in rhyming couplets. “The actors have risen to the challenge of making this text feel timeless and relevant today, not stuffy and old, and to make the rhyme sound natural and like someone speaking,” Braun says. 

Braun is a Visiting Assistant Professor for the 2021-2022 year, replacing Professor Henry MacCarthy, who is on sabbatical. “It has been so much fun to get to know the students’ strengths and to watch them grow over the past several months. They are an awesome team and I think they embody the characters and the comedy of Moliere with a grounded reality that makes the story feel timeless and proves the qualities that have held it up to the test of time as a classic,” she says.

Performances of The Misanthrope are November 11-13 at 8 p.m. and November 13-14 at 2 p.m. in the Rob and Judy Gardner Laboratory Theatre. Tickets are on sale now to the general public. Tickets are free to Gustavus students, $10 for the general public, and $7 for seniors and non-Gustavus students. 

PLEASE NOTE: All ticket holders must show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative COVID-19 test result received within 72 hours of the performance, and a valid photo ID to attend the performance. Ages 11 and under are exempt from this requirement. Masks must be worn at all times, regardless of vaccination status.

 

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