In a new adaptation by playwright Constance Congdon (Tales of the Lost Formicans), Moliere's The Misanthrope opens on the American Conservatory Theatre's stage Oct. 25. The San Francisco theatre's artistic director, Carey Perloff (The Invention of Love, Indian Ink), directs the piece, commissioned specially for ACT.
The Misanthrope of the title is Alceste, an idealist who believes in truth above all else. He is in love with Celimene, a creature of society and beautiful young widow, who uses the lies of her suitors and society for survival. Despite this vast difference in philosophy, Alceste determines to woe and win Celimene, even if it means living in the dishonest world.
Moliere's other works include Tartuffe, The Imaginary Invalid and The Miser. Aside from Lost Formicans, Congdon also wrote Losing Father's Body, Casanova, Dog Opera, Lips and Automata Pieta.
David Adkins is Alceste with Rene Augesen as Celimene. A nine year vet with the Berkshire Theatre Festival, Adkins is making his ACT debut. Augesen, recently the title character in Huntington Stage's Mary Stuart, is also making her ACT debut. Also in the cast are Kimberly King (Arsinoe), Anthony Fusco (Oronte), Steven Anthony Jones, Gregory Wallace, Chris Ferry, Kathleen Kaefer, Patrick McNulty and David Mendelsohn.
Designing The Misanthrope are Kate Edmunds (sets), Beaver Bauer (costumes), Rui Rita (lighting) and Garth Hemphill (sound). Performances began Oct. 19 for a run through Nov. 25. Tickets are $38-$11. American Conservatory Theatre's Geary Theater is located at 415 Geary Street. For reservations, call (415) 749-2250. American Conservatory Theatre is on the web at www.act-sfbay.org.
-- By Christine Ehren