The McCarter Theatre's new production of Molière's Don Juan will open on May 3. Stephen Wadsworth, who has directed many a classic over the years at the New Jersey company, will pilot the show.
Moliere wrote Don Juan in 1665. Its initial staging was a public success, but the show was nonetheless swiftly shut down by the censors of the day. According to Wadsworth, "Molière's Don Juan is not the romantic-fantasy Don Juan of legend. He has a healthy appetite for women, but this is only one symptom of the powerful anarchic energy that fuels his life. This Don Juan is a political and religious skeptic, one of the first rationalists, who spoke out so frankly about the hypocrisy of his age that he was instantly and lastingly censored by Louis XIV's eager thought police.
"This censorship was so successful that Molière's edgy, defiant hero has come down to us as a sort of domesticated rake," Wadsworth continued. "Joan DeJean, a cutting-edge Molière scholar, challenged me to imagine the pre-censored text, and I've based this adaptation on an Amsterdam printing of the play, published in the 1680s, which gives some indication of where and what those censors slashed."
Adam Stein plays the title reprobate. Bruce Turk is Don Carles and Frank Corrado is Don Luis. Also in the cast are Burton Curtis, Francesca Faridany, Cameron Folmar, Steve Hamm, Lee Ann Hutchinson, Laura Kenny and Ahren Potratz.
For more information about the McCarter in Princeton, NJ, call (609) 258-2787. —By Robert Simonson