"He's a beast I tell you - a real animal" What happens when you've lived only for pleasure, and you finally run out of time? When you've broken every promise, outraged every decency and slept your way through half of Europe - where do you turn as the clock starts to tick towards midnight? Neil Bartlett's new translation brings out all the dark undercurrents of Molière's wickedly black comedy.
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A classic play, Don Juan is at once a morality tale in which the libertine anti-hero is haunted by a former victim and finally ends in his rightful place in Hell--which is what let Moliere get away with producing it in the first place--and a delightfully subversive comedy in which the devil gets all the best lines (well, in truth, the best lines go to Don Juan's servant, the role which Moliere wrote for himself) and we find ourselves rooting for the deliciously amoral, womanizing Don Juan the whole time despite ourselves. There are plenty of plays from this period which attempt this balance--titilating but ultimately at least ostensibly supportive of the sexually repressive status quo--and fail, but in Moliere's hands the play never once hits a sour note. Instead, we are provided with some of the most crackling, wittiest dialogue to be found in French literature of this era, and a closing monologue which is nothing less than a work of genius.