Liz on Theatre

Moliere's 'The Bungler'

a67b76370ae1be1f8de8_STNJ_The_Bungler_9.jpg
62b59997903a02aabbc7_STNJ_The_Bungler_8.jpg
c7845b67135c0ad6e25c_STNJ_The_Bungler_7.jpg
39e7379c2bd83545a565_STNJ_The_Bungler_6.jpg
d9f8ad8a719537f9339f_STNJ_The_Bungler_5.jpg
7b8e2031731d5512cda1_STNJ_The_Bungler_4.jpg
067589f54f3f672a34ef_STNJ_The_Bungler_3.jpg
2126c3ad470a98677d66_STNJ_The_Bungler_2.jpg
62c0fccc13e9ace8f7bb_STNJ_The_Bungler_1.jpg
a67b76370ae1be1f8de8_STNJ_The_Bungler_9.jpg

Moliere’s ‘The Bungler “flits along on Shakespeare stage

By Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ – It’s always refreshing to see a play that just isn’t done that often. Such is the case of “The Bungler,” an early Moliere play from 1655. Most of the dialogue is in rhyme, although every now and then the actors take off in other directions.

Sign Up for E-News

The translation by Richard Wilbur is fluid, although the play itself lacks the cleverness of “The School for Wives” and “The Misanthrope.”

Director Brian B. Crowe has assembled a fine cast to carry off this light-hearted tale of blundering escapades. Aaron McDaniel as Lelie is the hapless young man who falls in love with the fetching Celie, played with charm and a certain reserve by Sophia Blum.

Lelie’s valet, Mascarille, keeps concocting various ruses to help Lelie win her hand. Kevin Isola is superb, along the lines of a court jester, creating havoc as he creates one intricate plot after another.  Unfortunately, the somewhat dimwitted Lelie can’t quite follow the nuances and consistently blunders along.  Of course, other characters add to the frenetic pace.

Devin Conway as Hippolyte is initially desired by Lelie and Lenadre, until Celie appears on the scene.  Hippolyte is cunningly costumed by Paul Canada with an enormous white wig, high heels, a puffy short dress and satin bows, all in creamy white. In fact, Canada’s exuberant costumes add tremendous flair to the entire production.  

When we meet James Michael Reilly, decked out as Anselme, he’s all flourishes  and pretention, waving around his silk purse, which Mascarille tries several times to steal. We see at the end that  he and his daughter Hippolyte, as well as her would-be husband, Leandre (Sam Ashdown) are color coordinated.

Drew Dix is stalwart and determined as Lelie’s father and Eric Hoffmann enters the fray as Trufaldin, who has taken in Celie as his slave.  Danilo Ottaviani is a staunch messenger and also appears as Andres, a supposed gypsy.

In one scene, masked dancers are presumably present to distract Trufaldin and abduct Celie, but that plan falls by the wayside. Like so much of Moliere’s work, this exaggerated tale makes little sense, but does reveal how gullible most of us are in various circumstances.  Even Lelie captures our sympathy as he continues to wreak havoc from his valet’s cunning deceptions.

Dick Block has designed a set replicating a public square in Messina, Sicily, with pastel houses, a balcony and shades of terracotta and blue.

“The Bungler” is a perfect escape for a warm summer evening or afternoon. Performances continue at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, located on the campus of Drew University, through July 30. For tickets, call 973-408-5600 or visit ShakespeareNJ.org.

Liz Keill reviews professional theatre in the New Jersey area, ranging from the McCarter Theatre in Princeton to Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn. In addition to writing for Tapinto.net, she does theatre analysis for HometowneTV in Summit. She holds a Bachelor's in Journalism from Penn State and a Master's in Communication from Syracuse University. Liz is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, which holds seminars at regional theatres across the country as well as in New York City.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Denville

Talking Baseball in Februrary; Roxbury Teen Keeps Swinging for Cancer Patients

February 23, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ - Major League pitchers and catchers reported for their first workouts last week, one sign that baseball season is on its way. Another: The beginning of Roxbury High School student Landon Monro's annual effort to register players and sponsors for his anti-cancer baseball tournament.

The 5th Annual Landon Monro Stand Up to Cancer tournament ...

Annual Health Fitness and Fun Fest March 24 To Include Collection For Randolph Animal Shelter

February 24, 2018

Randolph, NJ — Randolph Pain Relief and Wellness Center (PRWC) is hosting the fourth annual Health, Fitness and Fun Fest (previously Community Wellness Fest) on Saturday, March 24 from 12 pm - 3 pm at Randolph Middle School.

This year, Randolph PRWC will partner with the P.A.W.S. Club at RMS, advised by guidance counselor LuAnn Mizzoni, to hold a collection drive to ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_96a04fccc3c32f4540b7_charlie-zahm-and-tad-marks_sm

Sat, March 10, 7:30 PM

Investors Bank Theater, Succasunna

Charlie Zahm

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, March 10, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork Chorus to Perform All-Bernstein Concert

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, March 11, 1:30 PM

Rockaway Lanes, Rockaway

Kiwanis Pins for Pets to benefit Randolph ...

Arts & Entertainment Home & Garden

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb (Altria, 2015)

 

Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. That was the cause of it, they said, because the ritual wasn't a game after all. It really was magic, but magic has rules, and she broke them. Even when they call it a 'senseless tragedy,' people always try to find a ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...