The Last Act of Love by JB Moliere by Simon Bradbury
The year is 1673 and a consumptive Moliere prepares to do a performance of ‘The Imaginary Invalid’ for his benefactor King Louis. However, his cough is getting much worse and he is intermittently coughing up blood. Knowing his very life to be in the balance, his servant La Forest and wife Armand (playing Angelique), try to dissuade him from going on stage. Moliere is adamant about performing and continues to rebuff
attempts by the two to sign a document renouncing the acting profession. The document is critical; for should Moliere die without repenting and renouncing his trade
(a trade considered an abomination by the church and respectable society) he would not be allowed a Christian burial, a disaster for his soul and his loved ones still living.
Armand and La Forest enlist the help of La Grange, bit part player, registrar of the troupe and general dogs body, to work on bringing Moliere around. Complicating matters is the arrival of a goon squad of musketeers bent on disrupting the evening. For Lulli, composer to Moliere’s plays, is in a legal dispute with the playwright and has hired the musketeers as muscle to stop the performance. Armand is also trying to keep at bay the amours of Baron, a young member of the troupe (playing Cleante) who has ambitions to play Moliere’s role on stage as well as in the nuptial bed. Meanwhile
Moliere, knowing of the indiscretion and obsessed with being cuckolded, is intent on catching the two ‘in flagrante’.
La Forest leaves the building for Moliere’s quack doctor, Borelon. Rebuffed by Moliere years ago because of his penchant for enemas, Borelon is more than delighted
to resume his treatment on a dying Moliere, made more vulnerable by the growing challenges of the day. To add to the mayhem is the arrival of a mad priest, hell bent on
vengeance upon Moliere, the ‘godless’ actor and dangerous satirist of the church. During the course of the next two hours, enemies and friends alike all conspire, for their own reasons, to keep Moliere from performing the play. Tyrannical patronage, marriage, censorship and paganism at odds with Christianity are some of the themes explored in this rum, bum tickly farce. Using physical as well as verbal comedy, ‘The Last Act of Love of Jean Baptiste Moliere’ is a frothy, madcap romp in the tradition of the Romanesque farce for five men and two women
Running TIme: 140 minutes
Male Cast: 5
Female Cast: 2