by Paula Citron
Director Jean-Stèphane Roy’s updated production of Molière’s Le Misanthrope for Théâtre français de Toronto is a giddy collision of styles. He has opted for an urban chic veneer that outrageously ricochets between neoclassical tragedy and slapstick comedy.
The focus of Molière’s 1666 satire is hypocrisy. The anti-hero Alceste (Julian Doucet) rages against two-faced behaviour in court circles where insincerity is the norm – yet he is obsessed with Célimène (Karine Ricard) who is the epitome of insincerity. The other characters signify various degrees on the hypocrisy scale.
Roy has taken his directorial vision from today’s obsession with celebrity, which for him is obviously a metaphor for both a double standard and total self-absorption. Videocams track all the stage action and so we see a live performance through both our own eyes and the lens of the paparazzi.
Le Misanthrope continues in French until Nov. 10. English surtitle performances are Nov. 2 and 10.
From the Berkeley Street Theatre Upstairs, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for THE NEW CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.