Trio of classic French readings presented at Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts


Comedy and caricature temper pretension, oppression and greed in a trio of classic French readings presented by Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, in collaboration with Theatre Artists Workshop of Norwalk. Molière's "The Learned Ladies" is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 21, followed by Jean Anouilh's "Antigone" on Thursday, March 14 and Jean Giradoux's "The Madwoman of Chaillot" on Wednesday, April 3. The dramatic readings, part of Fairfield University's "French Showcase: Evolving Arts" celebration, begin at 7:30 p.m, with a post-show "Art to Heart" discussion following each.

Molière, a 17th-century dramatist considered the Shakespeare of French literature, completed "The Learned Ladies," his most accomplished work, in 1672, a year before his death. In "The Learned Ladies," directed for the Quick Center by Katie C. Sparer of Stratford, Molière pokes fun at those who pursue knowledge in an attempt to emulate the lifestyles of their social superiors. In other words, he finds comedy in people who live untrue to themselves.

Actors in "The Learned Ladies" are: former Metropolitan Opera star Brenda Lewis of Westport; Quick Center Executive Director Thomas Zingarelli of Bridgeport; Mark Basile of Weston; Marty Bongfeldt of Bethel; Herb Duval of Rye, N.Y.; Sean Hannon of Weston; Betty Jinnette of Norwalk; Tess Link of Westport; Ken Parker of Fairfield; and Sidney Symington of Southport.

"Antigone," based on Sophocle's ancient Greek tragedy by the same name, was produced in 1942, during France's occupation by Nazi soldiers. In Antigone's defiance to the dictator Creon, the French audience saw its own resistance to the German occupation. "Antigone" is directed by Muriel Nussbaum.

Giradoux, a French novelist and dramatist who softened tragic themes with rueful comedy, first presented the "The Madwoman of Chaillot" in 1948. It is the story of a group of greedy speculators who threaten to tear up a Paris neighborhood in their search for oil. It is the Madwoman of Chaillot, who, though slightly imbalanced, turns out to be the voice of reason. Mark Basile directs.

"French Showcase: Evolving Arts" is a six-week festival celebrating the contributions the French have made in the areas of arts and letters. Tickets for all three dramatic readings are $15. Single tickets are $7. For tickets, call the box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396, or visit www.quickcenter.com.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 11, 2002

Vol. 34, No. 154