The troupe, which is touring with its production of The Imaginary Invalid (Le Malade imaginaire), will make a June 17-20 stop at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. For the occasion, CST's Courtyard Theater will be transformed to a proscenium setting closely resembling the Comédie Française's resident theatre in Paris.
The Comédie-Française played a June 9-12 stand at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Over the past few seasons, CST has swiftly established itself as a welcoming forum for international artists. The company scored a major coup in 2001 when the Paris-based, English-born director Peter Brook brought his praised Hamlet to the Navy Pier theatre. Brook returned in 2002 with Le Costume (The Suit). Another Englishman to visit was Simon Callow, whose one-man show The Mystery of Charles Dickens played CST in 2001. Additionally, esteemed Canadian actor Brian Bedford has made the Chicago company his Midwest home, starring there in Sheridan's The School for Scandal in 2001 and, most recently, in The Moliere Comedies.
One of CST's most prestigious guests paid a call last fall when Shakespeare's Globe Theatre of London performed Twelfth Night at the Navy Pier theatre (which itself is a recreation of the Bard's original Globe Theatre).
The Comédie-Française began life in 1680 as the artistic home of Moliere's company (the playwright had died in 1673 after starring in the fourth performance of The Imaginary Invalid, his final play). Claude Stratz will direct the new production, which has scenic and costume design by Ezio Toffolutti, lighting design by Jean-Philippe Roy, original music by Marc-Olivier Dupin and choreography by Sophie Mayer. The company has made only four tours to the U.S. in the past 25 years, including productions of Molière's Le Misanthrope and Georges Feydeau's A Flea in Her Ear in 1979, and Molière's Don Juan and Marivaux's The Inconstant Lovers in 1996.
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