La Bete

Overview

The play is set in France in 1654, and revolves around an upheaval in a famous acting troupe. Elomire, the troupe's renowned leader, is furious because Prince Conti, the troupe's patron, is forcing a street performer, Valere, upon them. Elomire finds Valere and his work to be revolting and base, while Bejart, the troupe's second in command, is worried about offending the Prince, and, thereby, losing their patron. Valere is a terrible bore, who loves nothing more than the sound of his own voice, which he amply ...
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Overview

The play is set in France in 1654, and revolves around an upheaval in a famous acting troupe. Elomire, the troupe's renowned leader, is furious because Prince Conti, the troupe's patron, is forcing a street performer, Valere, upon them. Elomire finds Valere and his work to be revolting and base, while Bejart, the troupe's second in command, is worried about offending the Prince, and, thereby, losing their patron. Valere is a terrible bore, who loves nothing more than the sound of his own voice, which he amply demonstrates at his first entrance, where upon he delivers an uproariously funny and extended monologue. Elomire can barely withhold his contempt, but Valere is completely unaware of the barbs tossed his way. The Prince arrives, anxious to see how Elomire and Valere are getting along, having high hopes for their union. The Prince feels Elomire's work has grown stagnant and that the troupe needs new blood. Elomire, convinced that Valere will never be able to work in an ensemble situation, challenges Valere to present one of his plays with the rest of the troupe assists as a compatibility test. The strategy backfires, however, as Valere not only works well with the troupe, but the troupe finds themselves enchanted with Valere and his high jinks theatrics. Seeing this, the Prince immediately offers Valere a place with the troupe over Elomire's protests. Elomire, unable to compromise his artistic principles, strikes out on his own.
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Editorial Reviews

NY Times
LA BÊTE...begins with a bang that can make even a jaded New York audience abruptly spring to attention. No, one won't soon forget...LA BÊTE, which takes the brave chances so rare in new American plays.
NY Post
There are a lot of laughs...And Hirson's way with a couplet...is smart and amusing.
Library Journal
Playwright Hirson's homage to Molière is set in 17th-century France and focuses on a rivalry between established writer-manager Elomire (Michael Cumpsty)—an anagram of Molière—and self-important actor Valere (Tom McGowan) for the favor of Prince Contis (John de Lancie). The rhyming and melodic verses offer listeners ample amusement and enjoyment, though some of the monologs drag a bit. The cast of ten is stellar; the three aforementioned leads perform especially well, building off one another's delivery and keeping the performance consistent overall. Recommended for fans of early modern literature, full-cast audio productions, audio dramas, poetry, and plays. [Includes a bonus interview with the author].—Lance Eaton, Peabody, MA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822206217
  • Publisher: Dramatists Play Service, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/1992
  • Pages: 122
  • Sales rank: 1,198,568

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