“The School for Wives” opens in Brooklyn

PROSPECT PARK — Moliere in the Park has teamed up with Prospect Park Alliance to present two free staged public readings of one of Moliere’s most beloved and acclaimed works, “The School for Wives.”

Directed by Moliere in the Park’s Founding Artistic Director Lucie Tiberghien, performances will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 13 and Thursday Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Picnic House in Prospect Park, behind Litchfield Villa at 95 Prospect Park West between Fourth and Fifth streets.

The story revolves around the main character, Arnolphe, a 42-year-old man who has groomed and supported a young girl named Agnes since she was four years old. Following her 17th birthday, Arnolphe, having assumed a new identity as “Monsieur de la Souche,” takes Agnes out of the convent where she has been “raised in ignorance of life,” and brings her to his home with plans to marry her as his innocent and dutiful wife.

But Horace, the son of Arnolphe’s friend Oronte, comes to the house and falls in love with Agnes, who confesses to him that “Monsieur de la Souche” has kept her hidden away from the world. Not knowing Arnolphe’s new identity, Horace confesses his love for Agnes, and on the eve of their wedding Arnolphe discovers Horace’s affections for the girl.

Emmy and SAG Award-winner Samira Wiley (“The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Orange Is the New Black”) and Dominic Fumusa (“Nurse Jackie,” “The Report,” “Homeland”) star in “The School for Wives,” with Christopher Henry Coffey and Tamara Sevunts.

“The play, to me, is at the intersection of a classic tale of youthful love, Lolita, and Harvey Weinstein,” Tiberghien told this paper. “In the end, love wins. The character of Agnes, who knew what was what all along, takes off her mask, and stands proudly at the center of her truth. She confronts the man who designed her fate, the tables turn and he is cast out and publicly shamed. I am curious to hear how the play hits a modern audience and whether or not it illuminates our current moment.”

Tiberghien explained that the reading was put together to further Moliere in the Park’s mission to put on free, classic comedies with rich language, provocative stories and beautiful acting, allowing the community to come together for a laugh. This reading is also part of the group’s process for selecting plays to produce in full during its outdoor spring season at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside in Prospect Park.

Fumusa said he was thrilled to be a part of this production. “First and foremost, I was excited to get to work with Lucie, who is a wonderful director,” Fumusa told this paper.

“All acting is about trying to find the truth in the writing,” he said. “Moliere’s gorgeous language and wit are comparable to Shakespeare’s.”

For more info, please visit https://www.moliereinthepark.org.

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