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The Noel Fine Arts Center. (Metro Wire photo)

Social satire staged at UW-Stevens Point in ‘The Misanthrope’

Metro Wire Staff

A comedy of manners and social satire will be staged at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point March 3-5 and 9-11.

“The Misanthrope,” by French playwright Molière, will be staged in Jenkins Theatre of the Noel Fine Arts Center, 1800 Portage St., Stevens Point, by the Department of Theatre and Dance. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 3 and 4, and Thursday through Saturday, March 9-11, with matinees at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 5, and Saturday, March 11. It is part of the “What Lies Beneath” theatre and dance season.

Tickets are $27 for adults, $24 for seniors and UW-Stevens Point faculty and staff, and $16 for youth. Tickets will be available for purchase starting the afternoon of Wednesday, March 1, at tickets.uwsp.edu, by calling 715-346-4100 or by visiting the Information and Tickets Office in the Dreyfus University Center in Stevens Point. Tickets may also be available at NFAC starting one hour prior to each performance.

Set in 17th Century France, the play focuses on Alceste who, tired of the gossip and disingenuous society around him, decides he will only tell the truth. Yet he falls in love with his opposite, the flirtatious Celimène, whose superficial personality attracts multiple suitors.

“In a world of hypocrites, dishonesty and excess, Alceste loves someone who epitomizes all he hates,” said director Elizabeth Parks, a visiting artist professor of theatre. “It’s really about the kind of love that gets rewarded – not love that is blind or selfish.”

Written in rhyming couplets, “The Misanthrope” is a period play set in another time, yet its characters are familiar in our own social media focused society, Parks said.

“Students are embracing this world and having fun with how expressive their characters can be,” she said. “There are many ‘look at me’ type of runway moments.”

Inspired by those moments, the set has multiple runways, and the costumes reflect the high fashion of the time, with a 20th century feel.

“It’s an absurdly funny show about a dishonest society,” said Parks. “I hope audiences have some moments of self-reflection in terms of how honest we are with ourselves, and with other people.”