Theater People: how Moliere got his groove back 

Bringing Out the Verse in Him

Did Moliere put an enema onstage?

Did gags like that make all his plays the rage?

And did translators then Moliere deprive

Of laughs he would have had were he alive

By cleaning up his act till it was fluff

Instead of rude I'll-kill-you-for-that stuff?

Did academics make Moliere a rube

By getting rid of every bag and tube?

Tim Mooney thinks that this might be the case

He says Moliere was raunchy, even base.

He's looked at all the plays--there's 32

And set himself the task to make them new.

He comes home from his day job every night

And sits at his computer to rewrite

The lines that worked in 1666

But since have been refined out of their tricks.

Monsieur does not read French--no problem there.

He's translating translations, but who cares?

He's done 12 plays so far, and at Stage Two

They've managed to present more than a few:

Tartuffe, The Miser, Bourgeois Gentleman

Among them--now comes Schemings of Scapin.

Just like Moliere did centuries ago

The author will take on the leading role.

Tim Mooney was Stage Two's main man five years

He ran the place until he shifted gears

Decided writing was the way to go

When he discovered he could write a show

In just two weeks and it would live forever

A curse of course unless he made it clever.

But since he's got a mind meld with Moliere

He didn't think he'd have a problem there.

He's rewritten the rhyming plays just fine

But even prose he's now turning to rhyme

Which might inspire a purist to protest

That after all the master, he knew best.

When Scapin speaks in couplets will a rave

Be coming from Moliere deep in his grave?

Or will he, like some critics, leave his crypt

And rise to give a comment on the script?

"It sometimes happens that a person's struck

An inspiration hits, then runs amok.

A gentleman concise and even quick

Can suddenly just go all iambic

And only then express himself in rhyme

Contorting syntax with his every line

And trading any sensible parameter

For words that fit in iambic pentameter."

And here's the part I fear is most outrageous:

"The urge to rhyme appears to be contagious!"

Now should you wish to see if Mooney's looney

You could go out to the Museum Cune-

in Vernon Hills. Scapin is on the lawn

Until September 5, then it is gone.

Thursday, Friday, Sunday are the days

The first two nights, the Sunday (mostly) matinees,

It starts at 7 and at 3; 15 bucks the entry fee.

For tickets and directions too call 847-362-3042.

A special party will be held tonight

Pay double and you'll drink with the playwright!

--Deanna Isaacs

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Eugene Zakusilo.

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