The Misanthrope at Theatro Technis is an interesting yet ineffective interpretation of Moliére’s work!
Having studied the play, I was immediately conscious of the wannabe edgy adaptation; that Alcese’s work is as a photographer rather than a writer, which unfortunately doesn’t work in the scansion of the later scenes. The fast-paced humour of Moliére’s writing is also not met and the wit is completely lost.
The fundamentals of acting are neglected with actors not knowing what they are talking about, actors moving because they are told to do so by a director and even incorrect entrances! There is no chance I could use my suspension of disbelief and allow myself to be in the world of the play as I was consistently aware that each and every actor was trying to remember his or her lines.
The only actor that has professional potential about him is Sunil Patel who didn’t lead me to believe in the story or his character whatsoever due to ludicrous arm gestures and his inability to convey what he is saying understandably. At times Tawny Fontana as Célimène adapts an accurate and accessible rhythm, finding the need to say the words rather than “I am saying these lines because I am in a play”, however, this is more miss than hit and a lot of the time it seems like she didn’t have a clue what her objectives are and therefore neither do we.
I don’t like slating a play, however, with the resources at Theatro Technis and the potential of their lovely theatre space, I become highly critical when I believe theatre space has been wasted when it could have been used for highly influential and life changing theatre. Director, Gavin McAlinden’s concept is immediately distracting with a slip of paper given to me upon entrance with a variety of locations for different scenes – is this not what acting is all about!? I might as well have just been given the play and told to sit and read it and imagine it; the point of a theatrical production is to tell a story and use various techniques to enhance an audience’s imagination to be in the given circumstance of said story. A slip of paper stating different locations does not replace the effort provided by the actors, directors and whole producing team in doing their jobs to transport an audience into a story.
For an amateur production, I think as a whole, they did very well to get through a text that needs to be heavily mined and I’m not saying I’d be able to bat it out of the park! However, for a show harnessing such a good theatre space; the production just isn’t up to par when there are theatre companies fighting for funding and performing free theatre just to change people’s lives!
The Misanthrope played at Theatro Technis until 5 May 2018
Photo: Acting Gymnasium