PCPA Theaterfest has the perfect prescription for whatever ails you with its world premiere adaptation of The Imaginary Invalid, playing in the Marian Theatre Aug. 7-23 and in the Festival Theater from Aug. 28 through Sept. 7.
In Moliére’s classic, Argan Silas is the model of perfect health, except for the fact that he thinks he’s chronically ill. With rising medical costs, it only makes sense he should see his daughter well married — preferably to a doctor — to keep his excessive treatment expenses to a minimum. Alas, the daughter has fallen for someone else and the stepmother wants her in a convent. Leave it to the crafty maid to devise a cure for the entire household’s woes.
Moliére enjoyed poking fun at human foibles in his plays. A particular theme was the study of the self-absorbed man, wallowing in vanity, conceit and greed — characteristics that seem to be timeless. Director Roger DeLaurier and adapter/translator Patricia Troxel have chosen to set the play in mid-1700s Philadelphia.
Parallels between this period and Moliére’s include an age of enlightenment, and an age when society engaged in new ideas, new technologies and new possibilities. DeLaurier said the setting offers an audience greater accessibility to the play’s style and ideas, while celebrating our nation’s fascination with science and health. It’s also a delightful nod to Benjamin Franklin and all things scientific.
Featured is Equity Guest Artist William Youmans, whose credits include Broadway productions of Wicked, La Boheme and Titanic, the national tours of Tommy and Nicholas Nickleby and TV and film appearances on Law and Order, NYPD Blue, A League of Their Own and Little Match Girl. Youmans will be playing hypochondriac Silas Argan.
The cast also features Resident Artist Vanessa Ballam (The Sound of Music, The Heart’s Desire, Godspell) who plays Abigail; Guest Equity Artist Leslie Brott (The Lion in Winter, Always…Patsy Cline, The Matchmaker) as The Widow Deliverance Dickinson and Guest Equity Artist Catalina Maynard (Anna in the Tropics, The Heart’s Desire, Much Ado About Nothing) in the role of Prudence.
The design team headed by Director Roger DeLaruier includes Scenic Designer Heidi Hoffer, Costume Designer Cheryl Odom, Lighting Designer Jen ‘Z’ Zornow, Sound Designer Walter T.J. Clissen and Stage Manager Aleah Van Woert.
The PCPA summer season includes:
» Godspell, now through Sunday in Solvang.
» The Heart’s Desire playing in Solvang through Saturday.
» Ragtime playing in Santa Maria through Saturday, then Aug. 1-24 in Solvang.
» The Imaginary Invalid plays Aug. 7-23 in Santa Maria, then Aug. 28 through Sept. 7 in Solvang.
» Hot Mikado plays the Marian Theatre Aug. 29 through Sept. 7 then Solvang’s Festival Theater Sept. 12-28.
» The Weir plays only in the Severson Theatre on the Allan Hancock College Campus in Santa Maria, Sept. 12 through Oct. 5.
» The Heart’s Desire and The Weir contain adult language.
For tickets, call the box office at 805.922.8313 or visit www.pcpa.org.
Craig Shafer represents PCPA Theaterfest.