Tim Mooney put on a one-man show where he masquerades as different characters from Molière’s plays. Molière, who was a French playwright from the 1600s, has had his plays translated by Mooney into rhymed English. Some of Molière’s most famous plays are Tartuffe, Don Juan, and The Misanthrope. Mooney performed selections from some of the plays he has translated on stage, and his background is in acting, teaching, and theater.
The audience consisted of mostly students, some from Millersville, and some from a nearby high school. Mooney would perform a short selection from a play, and then, often while still talking, change a piece of his attire and then start a scene as another character. He had an impressive trunk with many different costumes and wigs. Members of the audience were pulled to act as props for Mooney, mostly during when scenes where he was acting as a sly lover. His characters were all well played, and it was clear that this was a trade Mooney had been working at for quite a while. The hour and a half show did not slow down at all, and at times it seemed like he was speaking too quickly. The fast pace made it seem very condensed and I think there were times the audience had no idea what he was saying. However, the language of Molière is designed to be verbose.
In between each monologue or short scene, he would revert back to his primary character, that of a lone actor who’s been forced on stage to entertain a crowd because the rest of the company had gotten sick off bad shellfish. It reminded me a little bit of the type of assemblies that one would have at elementary or middle school – it was meant to be broadly entertaining, while also informing the audience about the life and works of Molière. Afterwards, the audience asked questions – one that must have been on everyone’s mind: how long did it take him to memorize an hour and a half show that he performs entirely by himself? He said it took him six months to learn it, but about a year for him to be confortable with performing it. He loves it most when people of the modern day are able to feel connected to a play written 350 years ago, proving the timelessness of humor in Molière’s plays.
If you want to know more about Tim Mooney and his work with Molière, his website is www.moliere-in-english.com.