The posters are up, the programs are printed, and the lines are (knock wood!) memorized. Our costumes are already covered in stress-sweat stains, our scripts have fallen apart past recognition, and our friends are going out to buy flowers, if they know what’s good for them. It’s time for the final Chrysostomos play of the year: Molière’s Misanthrope.
It’s been quite the season; a few months ago was Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and just last weekend was a plein air production of Sophocles’ Philoctetes, directed by Jaxson Oakley and performed entirely by members of the sophomore class. Every sophomore translated Philoctetes from Ancient Greek this fall, and it became a hot topic amongst all of us. All year, we’ve been having arguments about whether Philoctetes was a deeply tragic figure or just a whiner, or whether Heracles really appears at the end of the play or it’s just Odysseus putting on a show. Here was a chance to make a convincing argument about the play as it was meant to be made: by staging it.
Every mounted production this semester has been a labor of intellectual love, with everyone involved blending academic passions and theatrical attempts. The director of the Misanthrope, senior AJ Sparks, both translated the play for his junior French class and wrote his senior essay on it. “My paper explored why Alceste, a man who proclaims to hate hypocrisy, professed to be in love with Célimène, a woman who epitomizes hypocrisy, and I analyzed the relationships that exist in the play, namely Alceste and Célimène, and Alceste and Philinte,” says Sparks. “By blocking out the actors and directing the interactions between them, the ideas in my paper began to come alive. I got excited because the way the scenes played out seemed to corroborate my paper as well as displaying nuances that I hadn’t even noticed.”
I’m so grateful for the amateur theatre scene at St. John’s in Santa Fe. Our motley, rag-tag crews make it so anyone who wants to participate has the opportunity, not just the select-few specializers as is often the case at other colleges. I probably wouldn’t have the chance to participate in theatre anywhere else, but I’ve had the chance here to indulge myself. It’s been an unbelievable amount of fun. But don’t wish us bon chance! Wish us break une jambe… or something.