We saw Moliere’s Don Juan last night at the Westport Playhouse, and were deeply impressed by the script and the acting. Don Juan explains to his servant how his new piety will be the perfect con, is so appropriate to understanding the giant hypocrisy of the GOP today.
The review below ends, ” One question that’s highlighted by having Don Juan be so dastardly and Sganarelle so dutiful: Why does the servant stick around? The theme of blind obedience is one that Kennedy and Pelsue are happy to explore, right up to the closing of the curtain.
Brendan Pelsue’s adaptation is full of respect for Moliere’s original. He cuts a few scenes down to their essence, but since the show runs two and a half hours (including intermission) even with those cuts, he’s doing us a favor there. When a joke won’t work without explaining it, Pelsue explains, usually by adding more jokes. He turns monologues into snappy dialogues just by adding a few reaction lines or back-and-forth expressions. The debates about love and honor don’t get tedious. Religious dogma is downplayed. This new version, coupled with Kennedy’s clear direction, is about accenting what we find objectionable about Don Juan today, and that’s plenty.
“Don Juan” is not a morality play. Its anti-hero stays immoral to the end. His story is crazed and complicated, and very much a comedy. This underappreciated 350-year-old play by one of theater’s all-time master satirists is scarily appropriate for our times. It can be hard to take, but so worthwhile. “A cruel nobleman is a horrible thing,” the play tells us. But he can also be terribly entertaining.
DON JUAN by Moliere, translated and adapted by Brendan Pelsue, directed by David Kennedy, runs through Nov. 23 at Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, Westport. Performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 2 and 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $40-$70. 888-927-7529, westportplayhouse.org.”