The Guthrie Theater production of Jean Anouilh's 1939 comic fantasy, To Fool the Eye closes Nov. 5. To Fool the Eye, translated by Jeffrey Hatcher from Leocadia, began previews Oct. 7. The show opened Oct. 13.
As reported earlier, John Miller-Stephany directed the comic fantasy. Of Hatcher's new adaptation, Guthrie artistic director Joe Dowling said the production marked a "thrilling collaboration between playwright and director.”
The play involves an adoring aunt who hires a look-alike girl to help her nephew get over the loss of his love. Things get interesting when the look- alike falls in love and finds herself trying to reclaim her identity...all while trying to coax the nephew back to the real world.
Playwright Jean Anouilh was a "strange combination of romantic and cynic," says director Miller-Stephany, “so his play is an unusual, bittersweet entertainment - something quite unlike anything recently produced at the Guthrie. While the play neatly fits into the category of fantasy, there are also generous helpings of farce and romantic comedy as well as a sprinkling of social satire.”
While Anouilh's oeuvre has often been associated with a theme of innocence lost in the struggle to survive, To Fool the Eye offers both a comic aspect as well as some music in the Guthrie presentation: Production notes indicate that a "vibrant musical score [has been] composed specifically for this production." The cast for the show featured Joey Babay (Bela, a gypsy/valet), Barbara Bryne (duchess), Steven Epp (butler), Scott Ferrara (the nephew, Prince Albert), Dan Foss (inn proprietor/valet), Melinda Page Hamilton (Amanda), Denis Holmes (Hector), Michael Kissin (Flagel, a gypsy/valet), Jim Lichtscheidl (head waiter), Richard Long (Nikos, a gypsy), Molly Sue McDonald (Maria, a gypsy), Kris L. Nelson (taxi driver), Dudley Riggs (ice cream vendor), Mark Rosenwinkel (hunting aide), and Peter Vitale (Peshke, a gypsy/valet). The creative team comprises scenic designer John Lee Beatty, costume designer Mathew J. LeFebvr, lighting designer Kenneth Posner, composer/musical director Andrew Cooke, dramaturgist Michael Lupu, movement coach Marcela Lorca and voice and speech consultant Robert Neff Williams. Tickets range from $16- $42. The Guthrie Theater box office an be reached at (612) 377-2224 or toll-free at (877) 447-7243.
-- By Murdoch McBride