I would like both to add to Lloyd Rose's praise of the production of Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux's "The Game of Love and Chance" at the Kennedy Center and correct a misimpression she gave with regard to the history of French theater ["Crystalline Comedy," Style, June 30].
Marivaux and Moliere are indeed very different playwrights, but they were not, as Ms. Rose suggests in passing, contemporaries. Their major works are 50 to 60 years apart and distinct in a way that the works of their respective operatic contemporaries, Jean Baptiste Lully and Jean Philippe Rameau, are different. Ms. Rose's sports analogy may be apt in that the comedie-ballets on which Moliere and Lully collaborated during the 1660s are physical in their language and staging; one can imagine these two 17th-century theatrical geniuses on stage playing buffoons together. Marivaux and Rameau, on the other hand, are 18th-century masters of psychological subtlety, as was brought to the fore in the Theatre des Amandiers' marvelous production.
Finally, as Ms. Rose points out, such productions inevitably lose money. They come to us as gifts, I might add, through a combination of French governmental support and American private philanthropy. The more we are able to hear and see these great works, the more we may laugh and learn about ourselves.
The Violins of Lafayette