Friday night we went to see the first preview performance of Ivo Van Hove’s The Misanthrope at NYTW. It was still really rough around the edges but it was definitely interesting. Very contemporary, hip, European – lots of video, clever props, stylish costumes and set. The translation was also very “of the moment” – which was interesting and mostly effective. Once again, its been a while since I’ve read the play so I don’t know how much is Moliere, how much is translator Tony Harrison and how much Van Hove. But, if memory serves, they seem to have shifted the focus a little bit and pulled Celimene (Alceste’s love interest) more clearly into the foreground. This version seems a little less about Alceste’s misanthropy than it is about Celimene’s fickle wantonness (is that a word?). But, once again, like with the RSC’s Seagull, we are reminded why the great dramatists are great dramatists – Moliere’s depiction of social manipulation, scheming, flattery and deception is completely relevant to contemporary NYC.
Anyway, if I had time I would go back and see it again once they’ve worked out all the kinks and settled in a little more. Definitely worth checking out.
Saturday night we went to see Yehuda Duenyas’ (and a cast of thousands!) One Million Forgotten Moments which was a sheer delight. It was funny, moving, messy, clever and spectacular. If you missed it, you missed out. No need for me to re-cap the whole thing here when The NY Times did such a good job of writing it up. I’ll just say that it was incredibly fun and heartwarming. Almost everyone I’ve ever seen in a downtown production was in this show and it was a real celebration of the best of what it means to live in NYC. Totally cool.