Sul Ross State University’s spring theatre season opened Feb. 25 with Moliere’s timeless farce, “The Miser.”
Directed by professor of Theatre Gregory M. Schwab, “The Miser,” a tale of greed, addiction to money and other issues, plays in the Studio Theatre, Francois Fine Arts Building. Performances are at 8:15 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 25-27 and March 3-5, and 2 p.m. Sundays, Feb. 28 and March 6.
Moliere blends satire and farce in a fast-moving plot. Schwab has updated the setting to the Hamptons of the 1980s and the era of Reaganomics.
“What I find appealing about Moliere is the fact that he is truly timeless,” said Schwab. “The things he discusses, like greed, religious hypocrisy, misanthropy and infidelity, are universal themes that never age. So taking his plays and updating them to contemporary times is easy, fun, and makes his satiric point-of-view accessible to modern audiences.”
Harpagon, the title character (played by Fernando Powers, Fort Stockton), is obsessed with the wealth he has amassed and always ready to save expenses. Now a widower, he has a son, Clint (David Joshua Martinez, El Paso), and a daughter, Élise (Elizabeth Watson, Corpus Christi).Although he is over 60, he is attempting to arrange a marriage between himself and an attractive young woman, Marianne (Gabrielle Rule, Brady).
She and Clint are already devoted to each other, however, and the son attempts to procure a loan to help her and her sick mother, who are impoverished. Élise, Harpagon’s daughter, is the beloved of Vahid (Westin Huffman, Fort Davis), but her father hopes to marry her to a wealthy man of his choosing, Mr. Abbasi (Matthew C. Hymer, Coppell). Meanwhile, Vahid has taken a job as butler in Harpagon’s household so as to be close to Élise. The complications are only resolved at the end by the rather conventional discovery that some of the principal characters are long lost relatives.
When the miser’s hoard is stolen and he is asked by the police whom he suspects, Harpagon replies, “Everybody! I wish you to take into custody the Hamptons and all of New York,” and indicates the theatre audience while doing so. The play also makes fun of certain theatrical conventions, such as the spoken aside addressed to the audience, hitherto ignored by the characters onstage.
Other cast members are: La Fleche (Eddie Molinar, Alpine); Francine (Lizzie Simpson, San Antonio); Jack (Michael Amerson, Missouri City); Simon (George Garcia, Kerrville); Chief of Police (Collyn Glaspie, San Angelo); Marianne’s Mother (Amanda Almaraz, San Antonio) and Police Officers (Callie Jones, Midland; Jonathan Fields, Venus).
Tickets are on sale now. For advanced tickets, please go to www.sulross.edu/theatre or call (432) 837-8218.