Table of Contents
Print Complete BookPrint This Chapter

Give Molière a go! L'avare


I've been intending to cover L'Avare by Molière for some time now and a chance comment by a Lancashire teacher decided me to get stuck in and have a go.

Written in prose unlike many other of Molière's plays, L'Avare has all the elements that make him such fun to watch; the ridiculous, obsessed archetype, the beatings of servants, talking at cross purposes and that opportunity for inventiveness.

On the teacher's recommendation I bought the Louis de Funès' version of the play on DVD and what a treat it is. Whilst there are a few additions to the play for visual effect, the play is word for word the Molière play. De Funès' over the top performance is exactly what the role needs, contrasting with the earnest young lovers whose futures he is compromising. If you haven't witnessed De Funès decked out in large spectacles and a peacock feather costume you are in for a treat.

The only quibble I would have with the film is the way it incorporates some self-conscious theatre effects whilst most of the time sticking with looking relatively "in period". Having said that, the way the film incorporates illustrative effects which explain some of the more unusual vocabulary is well done-for instance the garbage Harpagon tries to foist onto the person to whom he is lending money at one point.

In terms of themes, the play has much to offer in terms of social structure, the parental role, love and marriage, attitude to money and lending as well as of course to stage craft and humour.

The materials are designed to make covering this play very approachable and with the film to help it is a very doable text I would say.