The Yale Repertory Theatre launches its 2000 season on Sept. 16 with a world-premiere James Magruder translation/adaptation of Molière's The Imaginary Invalid. Directed by Mark Rucker The Imaginary Invalid runs through Oct. 9.
Argan, the invalid of the title, is an absurd hypochondriac desperate to have his daughter marry a doctor, ensuring his own round-the-clock medical care. His daughter Angélique, however, has already set her cap for Cléante. Complicating matters are the saucy servant Toinette, Argan's conniving wife Béline, various medical professionals, and an array of neurotic diseases and fad treatments.
Invalid stars Veanne Cox. Cox, a veteran of such New York productions as Company, The Food Chain and The Waiting Room, will play the mischievous servant Toinette.
Raye Birk plays Argan, Susan Marie Brecht as Béline, Brennan Brown as Thomas Diafoirus, Maria Francesconi as Zerbinetta, Paul Mullins as Bonnefoi, Dr. Diafoirus, and Dr. Purgon, Jennifer Brooke Riker as Angélique, Danny Scheie as Polichinelle, Louise, and Fleurant, Jay Snyder as Cléante, Susan Spencer as Shepherdess, and John Wojda as Béralde.
Mr. Magruder's translation/adaptation of Invalid was commissioned by the Yale Repertory Theatre. Magruder's translation of Marivaux's The Triumph of Love premiered at Baltimore's Center Stage in 1993 and was subsequently produced across the country. Its musical counterpart, Triumph of Love, for which he wrote the book, appeared on Broadway in 1997 after premiering at Center Stage and Yale Repertory Theatre. The new adaptation features original music composed by Gina Leishman, whose work includes the recent world premiere of Alice: Tales of a Curious Girl at the Dallas Theater Center, composition and sound design for Tongue of a Bird at The Joseph Papp Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival, Mark Taper Forum, and Intiman Theatre, as well as Iphigenia and Other Daughters and Thérèse Raquin at Classic Stage Company. Leishman's latest opera, Actaeon, premiered last January at La Mama Experimental Theater Club in New York City. She is co-founder of the septet Kamikaze Ground Crew, whose fourth album is due for release this winter.
Production staff for The Imaginary Invalid includes scenic designer Luke Cantarella, costume designer Miguel Angel Huidor, lighting designer Marcus Doshi, sound designer Fitz Patton, production dramaturgs Anne T. Davison and Christiane Salomon, movement advisor Wesley Fata, and stage manager Karen Quisenberry.
Invalid performs Mon. at 7 PM, and Tue-Sat at 8 PM, with 2 PM Sat. matinees on Sept. 25, Oct. 2, Oct. 6 and Oct. 9. Tickets for are currently on sale and range in price from $26-$34. Discounted tickets are available for students, senior citizens, and groups. For information, call the Yale Repertory Theatre box office at (203) 432-1234.
The season continues with Yale Rep resident director, Liz Diamond. Diamond, known primarily for her long association with playwright Suzan Lori-Parks (Death of the Last Black Man in the Entire World, and Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom), will helm Harold Pinter's Betrayal, running Oct. 21-Nov. 13. Betrayal is Pinter's marriage drama that tells its story in reverse, revealing the climax first and then its previous episodes.
Next up for Yale will be Preston Sturges' A Cup of Coffee, directed by Joe Grifasi, Nov. 26-Dec. 18. Known primarily as a screenwriter and director of such Hollywood comedies as "The Lady Eve," "Sullivan's Travels" and "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek," Sturges first tasted success on Broadway. His play Strictly Dishonorable, his second after The Guinea Pig, opened to great success in 1929 under the direction of Antoinette Perry, later the namesake of the Tony Awards. Sturges was at the time working as an assistant stage manager and soon afterwards left for Hollywood.
Sam Shepard's dysfunctional family classic, Curse of the Starving Class will play Yale Rep's stage, Feb. 3-26, 2000, with a director TBA. The dark comedy looks at the Tate family struggling to make it on a run down farm in a country being sold off by developers.
Artistic director of Yale Rep, Stan Wojewodski will take the next spot in the season when he helms William Shakespeare's Richard III as a special project with Yale School of Drama's graduating class, Mar. 16-Apr. 8, 2000.
Yale Rep associate artist, director-choreographer Ralph Lemon will wrap up the season with the world premiere of his Geography: Asia/Belief, Apr. 20-May 13, 2000. Lemon previously staged his the first part of his "Geography" trilogy, the "Africa" section, at Yale in 1997. The "Asia" section will look at Asian spirituality through the eyes of an American black man who's also a Buddhist.
For information on any of these productions, call (203) 432-1234.
-- By Murdoch McBride