Meadows opens 2011-12 theatre season with ‘The Miser’ Sept. 28-Oct. 2

Teddy Spencer and Katherine Bourne in the 2011 Meadows Theatre production of 'The Miser' at SMUThe Division of Theatre in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts opens its main stage season with a new adaptation of a French classic. Assistant Professor of Theatre James Crawford directs Molière’s The Miser from a version translated and adapted by James Magruder. The production runs Sept. 28-Oct. 2 in the Greer Garson Theatre, Owen Arts Center.

The title character is the wealthy moneylender Harpagon, whose obsessive frugality leads him even to search his servants before they leave his house to ensure they haven’t taken anything from him. His son, Cléante, and daughter, Elise, want nothing more than to marry their respective lovers, but Harpagon’s penny-pinching and greed stand in their way.

The play was first performed in 1668, with Molière himself in the title role. It served not only as a comedy of manners but as a pointed send-up of theatrical conventions of the age and even of the French idea of comedy.

Molière biographer Hobart Chatfield-Taylor wrote in 1906 that the playwright’s genius “lay, above all else in telling the truth about mankind…. As a poet, he has been surpassed, but never as a writer of concise, vigorous, and truthful prose dialogue … a dialogue so expressive of human thoughts and human emotions that his characters are still as lifelike as on the day they were drawn.”

The Washington Post described Magruder’s new translation as “a saucy serving … for those who like their French fare spicy and au courant.”

Tickets are $7 each for faculty, staff and students. Buy tickets online or contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

(Left, M.F.A. candidate Teddy Spencer as Harpagon and senior theatre major Katherine Bourne as Jacqueline in the 2011 Meadows Theatre production of The Miser by Molière. Photo by Linda Blase.)

> Find performance times and buy tickets online for The Miser
> Read The Miser in its entirety at the Project Gutenberg website

Meadows Theatre continues 2010-11 season with You Never Can Tell Feb. 23-27

Meadows Theatre production of 'You Never Can Tell'Love strikes at first sight, a father is reunited with lost children, youth shocks polite taste, a young dentist misbehaves, a waiter saves the day, and in the end a mysterious stranger resolves all.

It’s You Never Can Tell, George Bernard Shaw’s frothy romantic comedy, presented by the Division of Theatre in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts Feb. 23-27, 2011. Performances will take place in the Greer Garson Theatre, Owen Arts Center. Show times are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

Set in an English seaside resort in the Edwardian era, the play centers around the Clandon family, recently returned to England after 18 years in Spain. When they invite a local young dentist and his landlord for lunch, they are shocked to learn the landlord is the family’s long-estranged father. Meanwhile the dentist falls for the Clandons’ oldest daughter, an emancipated modern woman with her own ideas about love.

Shaw’s play, which pokes fun at Victorian social mores and the follies of relationships, has remained an audience favorite since its debut in 1897.

The production is directed by alumnus Patrick Kelly ’68, a three-time winner of the Dallas Theatre Critics’ Circle Award for Best Direction and former chair of the Drama Department at the University of Dallas. Kelly has directed numerous productions for the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival as well as for theatres in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.

Set design is by New York-based guest artist John Arnone ’70, a Tony Award-winning designer and fellow Meadows alumnus. Arnone began his distinguished career in 1976 with Vanities, an off-Broadway hit that launched the careers of Academy Award-winning actress Kathy Bates ’69 and playwright Jack Heifner ’75. Arnone has designed numerous Broadway shows, including Grease, The Full Monty and Edward Albee’s The Goat, winning the Tony for The Who’s Tommy.

Tickets are $7 for SMU faculty, staff and students. Parking is available at Hillcrest and Binkley and in the garage beneath the Meadows Museum. For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS), or visit the Meadows website.

Above, Cliff Miller (left) as Dr. Valentine, Tiffany Hobbs as Miss Gloria Clandon, and Teddy Spencer as The Waiter at the Marine Hotel (with umbrella).