La Dispute at Rooke Theatre October 19-22

Posted: October 3, 2006

Updated: October 25, 2006 - Photo Gallery

The Mount Holyoke College Department of Theatre Arts will present Pierre Marivaux's La Disputedirected by Roger Babb from Thursday, October 19 through Sunday, October 22.

In 1744, when Marivaux's groundbreaking play La Disputepremiered at the Comédie Française, audiences were perplexed. Today, this dark, racy drama of aristocratic power and doomed desire speaks to us in ways Marivaux could never have imagined.

The play's premise is still as provocative as it was in the eighteenth century: In a cruel experiment meant to test the comparative faithlessness of men and women, four children are raised in complete isolation and then, 18 years later, set free. The strange new world they enter is part scientific laboratory, part theatre stage, and what they discover about themselves--and human nature--is shocking.

Inspired by the theatricality of commedia dell'arte, director Roger Babb presents this neoclassical drama with daring humor, as the unwitting subjects are embroiled in a plot to unmask the true "essence" of gender, race, and sexuality. Audiences for La Disputewill find themselves seated on stage, inches from the action--participants in a depraved but highly entertaining drama that plumbs the depths of erotic power.

In Mount Holyoke's production, adapted from Daniel Gerould's distinguished translation, seduction, betrayal, and survival intersect with highly charged political questions, forcing us to confront our own relationship to power.

Performances in the Rooke Theatre run Thursday, October 19 at 8 pm; Friday and Saturday, October 20 and 21 at 8 and 10 pm; and Sunday, October 22 at 2 and 8 pm.

Ticket prices are $5 for general admission and $3 for students and senior citizens. Seating is limited. Early reservations are recommended. Please call our box office at 413-538-2406.

The translator, Daniel Gerould (Lucille Lortell Distinguished Professor of Theatre and Comparative Literature at C.U.N.Y. Graduate Center) will speak at Rooke Theatre following the opening night performance October 19.

The director, Roger Babb, was for many years the Artistic Director of Otrabanda Company, an experimental theatre group based in New York City. He has taught at Princeton University, Swarthmore College, and New York University. Currently he teaches directing and acting at MHC and is most interested in collaborations with other artists and scientists.

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Theatre at MHC