THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES
Translated by Richard Wilbur
October 24th, 2020
"The story of a man’s attempted dominion over a woman in his care and his ultimate failure looks even more ludicrous when every male character appears as a woman."
-The New York Times
co-presented with French Institute Alliance Française
in partnership with LeFrak Center, Lakeside, Prospect Park Alliance, and Theatre for a New Audience
Tony Award-Winner Tonya Pinkins
Kaliswa Brewster, Cristina Pitter, Tamara Sevunts, Mirirai Sithole, Carolyn Michelle Smith, Corey Tazmania
Director: Lucie Tiberghien
Producer: Garth Belcon
Production Manager: Thyra Hartshorn
Technology Consulting Group: Liminal Entertainment Technologies, LLC
Video Engineer: Andy Carluccio
Set Designer: Lina Younes
Costume Designer: Ari Fulton
Light Designer: Marie Yokoyama
Composer: Paul Brill
Sound Designer: Daniel Williams
Animator: Emily Rawson
Assistant Video Engineer: Jonathan Kokotajlo
Production Stage Manager: Madison Lane
FREE and open to all. Closed captions will be available in French. RSVP required to receive links for the live stream.
When the obsessive Arnolphe realizes that his ward, 17 year-old Agnès, actually has a mind of her own, he is flabbergasted. Nevertheless, intent on saving face and maintaining control, he doubles down on his decision to marry her.
Agnès, despite having been raised to remain completely ignorant, is saved by her own innate intelligence, Arnolphe's utter failure to see what is right in front of him, and the one thing he cannot steal from her; her humanity.
A Statement from Lucie Tiberghien & Garth Belcon
The School For Wives, at its core, is about gender power dynamics. We are looking forward to telling this classic 17th century French tale through the lens of a contemporary aesthetic and an all female, primarly non-white cast to further bring into focus the inherent power of justice and equality over racism and sexism. Furthermore, by casting a Black woman in the central role of ARNOLPHE - a white man of power and privilege, who is forced to realize that he cannot control or snuff out ANYONE's humanity - we are shining a light on the ultimate absurdity of similar American systems of oppression.
Praise for The School for Wives
"Pinkins and the rest of the able cast create the convincing interplay this absurd fable demands."
"Pinkins, as Arnolphe, exuberantly leads them all. It may be that she and the other quasi-cross-dressers are relishing the opportunity to send up men they’ve encountered over the years who’ve behaved toward them in annoying Molière-like manner".
"Set in Brooklyn, NY, Moliere in the Park’s The School for Wives uses its creative technical wizardry to meet Covid-19 standards with enhanced, virtual sets by Lina Younes transporting actors from a regal city garden to a carefully-detailed bedroom to an inviting cafe. At one point, it also gives the illusion that the characters are all together. Ari Fulton’s colorful costumes stay faithful to the time period while providing a certain modern edge."
Carolyn Michelle Smith
This program is made possible through the generous support of the French Cultural Services of the French Embassy.
We thank our season major supporters: The de Groot Foundation, Samira Wiley, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Elizabeth and Jonathan Weiswasser, Caroline and Paul Cronson, and The Cultural Services of The French Embassy in New York.
We wish to express our gratitude to the Performers’ Unions:
ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION
AMERICAN GUILD OF MUSICAL ARTISTS
AMERICAN GUILD OF VARIETY ARTISTS
through Theatre Authority, Inc. for their cooperation in permitting the Artists to appear on this program.
Graphic Design: Unterdruck - Liane Fredel