Molière’s “Precious Ridicule” on tour on the island from tomorrow

Between truth and fiction, in a game of mirrors between life and art, Benedicta Boccoli and Lorenza Mario interpret the “Ridiculous Precious” of the famous comedy by Moliere, in the mise en scène signed by the actor and director from Alghero Stefano Artissunch (who plays the role of presenter): the play set in Italy in the 1940s, where Caterina and Maddalena are two stars of the variety show, admired and applauded protagonists of a show in the “Café Chantant” style, debuts in the regional premiere Wednesday 11 January at 21 at the Municipal Theater “Akinu Congia” of Sanlurito land Thursday 12 January at 21 at the Cine/Teatro “Olbia” of OlbiaFriday January 13th at 21 at the Tamuli Pavilion in the former Mura di barracks MacomerSaturday January 14th at 21 at the Teatro del Carmine in Temple Pausanias and finally Sunday January 15th at 21 at the Civic Theater of Alghero under the insignia of the 2022-2023 Season de The Great Prose organized by the CeDAC / Multidisciplinary circuit of live entertainment in Sardinia.

Focus on the personal stories and difficult careers of the two modern “heroines”, who try to establish themselves thanks to their talent and skill, as well as their charm and undeniable beauty, conquering the limelight and the affection of the public: the their “numbers” are appreciated because they are fun and engaging, but the competition is very tough, spectators and impresarios often prove to be fickle, while the language of cinema, the tenth muse, the new art of the twentieth century, is increasingly asserting itself. In transporting the successful farce of the great French playwright into the cultural, political and social climate of Rome, against the background of the Second World War, Stefano Artissunch makes use of a metatheatrical mechanism, comparing the ambitions of two young provincials, attracted by the elegance and from the glories of the beau monde in the Paris of Louis XIV and the dreams of glory of two soubrettes. The cruel hoax concocted by two rejected suitors, who take their revenge by making fun of the two naive girls and their attempt to imitate the refinement of dress and speech of the great ladies, becomes the starting point for a tasty parody that highlights the genius of Molière , brilliant architect of an innovative theater, with the overcoming of the masks and characters of the Commedia dell’Arte. In his version of the “Precious Ridiculous”, Stefano Artissunch instead focuses the spotlight on the colorful world of variety, to tell the daily life, the illusions and the disenchantment, the small and great triumphs of the two protagonists – as of many young and less young flocked to the capital and large cities with the hope of achieving success, yesterday as today.

Under the spotlight, two multifaceted artists and established showgirls such as Benedicta Boccoli and Lorenza Mario lend their faces and voices to Caterina and Maddalena, in a pièce that alternates fragments of the show and “private” moments, in an ideal journey behind the scenes between stardust and a pinch of melancholy: a drama enhanced by period songs, from “Milord” to “Ma L’Amore No”, “Maramao perché Sei Morto” and “Amore Baciami”, which make up the soundtrack of a fresco of the Belpaese, for a tribute to great masters, from Molière, with “L’impromptu de Versailles”, to Louis Juvet. Between words and notes, monologues and dialogues, unforgettable melodies and seductive dances, “Preziose Ridicule” emphasizes the dilemma between being and appearing, more relevant than ever in the age of social media, in which everyone is called to keep a sort of “diary in public” and take care of the construction of one’s own “image” with attention and rigor.

«Preciosity was a social, moral and literary movement of the first half of the 17th century» – remember Stefano Artissunch in his Director’s Notes: «tired of the impoverishment of language and customs, the women of the nobility and the upper class met in their bedrooms, then in the living rooms, to talk about literature, feelings and to share their literary productions». Among the prominent figures of this current, which contained a protofeminist vision in a nutshell, as a form of redemption against the limitations imposed by rank and convenience, alongside Catherine de Vivonne, Marquise de Rambouillet, creator of one of the first literary salons, the writer Madeleine de Scudéry, known by the nickname of Sappho, promoter of refined meetings and erudite conversations frequented by illustrious men of letters and philosophers such as Charles de Sainte-Maure, Duke of Montausier; François de La Rochefoucauld; Madame de La Fayette and Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, Marquise de Sévigné; Valentin Conrart; Jean Chapelain, alongside the historian Paul Pellisson and the minister Simon Arnauld de Pomponne. In his “Precious Ridicule”, Stefano Artissunch confronts «with the theme of preciosity which today I would define as “the obsessive search for being fashionable”, but also with the genesis of the ridiculous in the theatre; despite the title, this ridiculousness is not limited to the female gender but also concerns all those who try to “be part of it”, therefore Mascarillo, Jodelet and somehow also Gorgibus».

All the bubbly “lightness” of the variety show and the verve of the two soubrettes make “Preziose Ridicule” a brilliant and enjoyable comedy in which – reads the introduction – «insinuates a critical reflection on a difficult period of Italy in the years of the Second World War, with a society anesthetized by propaganda that does not realize that something destructive is upon us». In the contrast between the drama of what happens outside and the liveliness of an entertainment show, the magic of the stage is renewed, that suspension of time by which it is possible to abandon problems and worries for a moment and let oneself be captivated by a mischievous and funny, but also poignant or poetic.

«The staging aligns with Moliere’s text» – explains Stefano Artissunch: «il Prezioso is Lo Spettacolo, “The Show” where comedians and provincial singers struggle to live up to their ambitions and to show the dream that inhabits them. The actors in the story are all losers and endear themselves to the desire to remain empathic with the characters they bring to the stage. Their ostentatious empathy actually leads them into a dramatic-ridiculous dimension for them but very amusing for the audience who laugh at the untenable situation and its resolution. How can we fail to see in all of this the parallelism with our society where social networks offer everyone the opportunity and the illusion of being at the center of a world, arousing an interest, albeit fleeting, and reactions without which they “would not exist”».

«A society of appearances» – concludes the director – «where “quality people know everything without ever having learned anything”, i.e. they think they know and this is the mistake. Through wanting to be artists, Caterina and Maddalena express their legitimate desire for emancipation and the public, as spectators of a reality show, feel affection for these girls animated by the desire to appear in order to exist but still deeply fragile, human and always looking for confirmation – recognitions, because they are victims of their undefined personalities».

A famous seventeenth-century comedy thus becomes the “pretext” for a modern divertissement, an overwhelming metatheatrical game and for a reflection on the role of artists, on the “sacred fire” that animates them, the passion and enthusiasm as well as the necessary courage and determination to embark on a career in the world of showbiz, at the court of the Sun King as in Rome in the first half of the twentieth century or on the threshold of the third millennium, on the “obligations” of the civilization of the image as on the relationship between theater and society.

Molière’s “Precious Ridicule” on tour on the island from tomorrow – S&H ​​Magazine