Moliere's veneer of artifice and core of logic are extended to a zany, funny extreme in George Washington Univresity Theater's "The School for Wives." This original treatment by the faculty's Paul Parady and Leslie Bravman Jacobson will be repeated tonight and next Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. in Marvin Center.
Taking a cue from Moliere's subsequent "The Critique of The School for Wives" and "Impromptu at Versailles" (written at Louis XIV's suggestion as response to the initial play's critics), this production imagines that "The School for Wives" is about to be presented by a tacky company called "La Comedie Incroyable." When a principal turns out to be missing, parts are reassigned.
The old duffer who has educated a 4-year-old to total ignorance with the intention of ultimately marrying a reliable virgin will be acted by the pushy soubrette. The girl now must be played by a pretty male with a deep voice and her lover performed by a female.
This twist has the subliminal effect of deepening Moliere's insights, for he wrote the middle-aged fool for himself after marrying the younger actress who would play his younger wife.
Avoiding obvious, tastless slants, this makes a funny, unisex point.
Because Jacobson has been so active with the Washington Area Feminist Theater and as an original erroneously, the basic prank to her. At all events, barring some milked scene endings, they've worked knowingly together in the physical production designed by Bradley W. Sabelli.
Carole Myers as the soubrette-turned-leading-man, Mark Donovan as sweet Agnes and Rosemary Walsh as her-his lover, are spirited fun. The program artfully mangles further credits but Kevin Hall, of basketball stature, is very deft as the rattled understudy who can't wait to play Othello.