A glorious satire of polite society, where compliments are commerce and honesty is unwelcome, Bell Shakespeare, in association with Griffin Theatre Company, will present a new Australian version of Molière’s The Misanthrope by Justin Fleming, in the Playhouse – Sydney Opera House until 28 September 2018.
The production will be the third time Griffin’s Artistic Director Lee Lewis works with talented Australian playwright, Justin Fleming for Bell Shakespeare on a Molière play following the success of The Literati in 2016 and The School For Wives in 2012. Bell Shakespeare also presented Fleming’s Tartuffe in 2014, directed by Peter Evans, to critical and popular acclaim.
With a gender flip from the original, Danielle Cormack (Rake, Wentworth) will play the titular cynic, a woman who rejects social conventions and false flattery, set against the backdrop of the Australian music industry. She is savvy and sophisticated, rejecting the sycophancy and superficiality of society.
Instead she calls the world like she sees it, with all the brave and brutal honesty that implies. He is young and beautiful, wrapped up in a society driven by a rumour-mill that never stops turning, where compliments are commerce and honesty is unwelcome.
“This play is really a story about how a misanthrope is made, not born. And how as a society we are responsible for driving some of our best people into fury and despair,” said director Lee Lewis. “This is play set in the now, featuring a female misanthrope – a woman calling out for honesty. This will be a classic play pushed to courageous places.”
“If you google misanthrope, you find a person who dislikes humankind and avoids human society,” says playwright Justin Fleming. “In the play, our Misanthrope adopts this position principally because humans spend their lives lying to each other.”
“Yet what can be more scary than absolute, unedited truth? Think about it. You’re at a loved one’s funeral and someone tells you: Of course I never liked him. Or to the bride on her wedding day: You’re making a serious mistake. Coping with the fallout from inflexible honesty is hard enough. But how do you maintain the rejection of humankind while falling in love with one of its worst offenders?”
Director: Lee Lewis Featuring: Simon Burke, Danielle Cormack, Catherine Davies, Ben Gerrard, Rebecca Massey, Hamish Michael, Anthony Taufa Designer: Dan Potra Lighting Designer: Matthew Marshall Composers & Sound Designers: Max Lambert and Roger Lock Voice Coach: Jess Chambers Choreographer: Kelley Abbey
Playhouse – Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point
Season continues to 28 September 2018
For more information, visit: www.bellshakespeare.com.au for details.
Image: Danielle Cormack stars in The Misanthrope – photo by Pierre Toussaint