David Grindley-Directed Misanthrope With Sara Topham and Ben Carlson, Opens at Stratford Festival

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12 Aug 2011

Ben Carlson in <i>The Misanthrope</i>
Ben Carlson in The Misanthrope
Andrew Eccles

Tony Award-winning director David Grindley, who shepherded Journey's End in London and on Broadway, directs Molière's comic masterpiece The Misanthrope, opening Aug. 12 at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada.

The famed satire about a cynic undone by love began previews at the flagship Festival Theatre on July 31.

The French script was translated into English verse by Richard Wilbur and features Ben Carlson as Alceste and Juan Chioran as Philinte. Sara Topham, returing to Ontario after her acclaimed performance as Gwendolen Fairfax in the Broadway remount of the Festival's 2009 production of The Importance of Being Earnest, plays Célimène.

The cast also includes Martha Farrell as Eliante, Kelli Fox as Arsinoé, Peter Hutt as Oronte, Trent Pardy as Acaste and Steve Ross as Clitandre.

Here's how Stratford bills the classic: "Perpetually scornful of the hypocrisy around him, Alceste can't help speaking frankly, regardless of whom he might offend. But even the sternest rectitude can succumb to the follies of the heart — and Alceste's devotion to the beautiful and flirtatious Célimène is about to turn his world hilariously upside down."



Set in ornate 18th-century France, this production features set design by John Lee Beatty, costumes by designer Robin Fraser Paye, lighting by Michael Walton, sound by Jim Neil. Production stage manager is Margaret Palmer.

Grindley made his Stratford directorial debut in 2009 with his imaginative and contemporary production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Grindley's Journey's End was recently revived on the West End in July for a limited run of 55 performances.

The Misanthrope continues in rep to Oct. 29. For tickets, visit www.stratfordshakespearefestival.com or call (800) 567-1600.

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The Stratford Shakespeare Festival's 2011 season runs until Oct. 30, featuring The Merry Wives of Windsor, Camelot, Twelfth Night, The Grapes of Wrath, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Homecoming, Richard III, Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare's Will, The Little Years and Hosanna.