Lovers and Executioners, a comedy in verse based on Montfleury and adapted by John Strand, is set to begin performances Feb. 27 at Arena Stage in Washington, DC. The swashbuckling tale of passion and revenge is scheduled to run through April 5, with an official opening night slated for Mar. 4.
The director is Kyle Donnelly, who also collaborated with translator/adaptor Strand on last year's Arena Stage production of Moliere's The Miser.
Montfleury was a contemporary of Moliere but the two had a venomous lifelong relationship. Lovers and Executioners, originally titled La Femme juge et partie ("The Wife, Judge and Accuser") was popular in its day, when it was performed more than 400 times on the stage of the Comedie Francaise.
Unfortunately, the family feud between Moliere and Montfleury exiled the latter to a relatively obscure position in the pantheon of French playwrights -- while Moliere's star continued to rise.
Director Donnelly has said that Lovers and Executioners, about a betrayed wife who finds a daring and creative route to revenge, puts one in mind of a more contemporary parallel. "I know Hillary Clinton must have revenge in her heart," said Donnelly in a recent interview, "but I don't know for whom." The cast includes James Warwick, Judith Hawking, Ellen Karas, J. Fred Shiffman, Wesley Mann, T.J. Edwards and Nancy Robinette.
For tickets, $24-$45,call (202) 488-3300.
--By Rebecca Paller