With this month’s world premiere adaptation of Molière’s comedy “Imaginary Invalid,” PlayMakers Repertory Company takes a hilarious new look at a 300-year-old play written about the health care industry.
PlayMakers, the professional theater in residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will present “Imaginary Invalid” Oct. 24-Nov. 11 in the Paul Green Theatre at UNC’s Center for Dramatic Art on Country Club Road.
In the classic tale, a rich hypochondriac surrounds himself with a host of quacks eager to take his money by promising cures to an array of suspect illnesses, then all manner of mayhem breaks loose. “This ‘Invalid’ is outrageously smart and wickedly funny!” said PlayMakers producing artistic director Joseph Haj.
While the eye-opening comedy first appeared over 300 years ago, the passage of time has only heightened its absurd accuracy, exposing a system where no one is blameless – neither the doctors nor their patients.
Show times will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3, and 2 p.m. Sundays. For a complete schedule, more information and to purchase tickets, call (919) 962-PLAY (7529) or visit www.playmakersrep.org. Tickets are $15 to $50.
Visionary director Dominique Serrand, artistic director and co-founder of Tony Award-winning Theatre de la Jeune Lune (Minneapolis, Minn.) helms this irreverent PlayMakers commission of a timeless classic. Serrand acted, conceived, directed and designed Jeune Lune productions for more than 30 years, concentrating primarily on directing. He has received a knighthood from the French government in its Order of Arts and Letters.
Working with Serrand on the PlayMakers’ production is his longtime Jeune Lune collaborator, actor Steven Epp, featured in the title role. Their recent production of Molière’s “The Miser” was performed to acclaim at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Boston’s American Repertory Theatre and Actors Theater of Louisville.
David Ball, who also collaborated with Serrand and Epp on their adaptation of “The Miser,” created the new adaptation specially commissioned by PlayMakers. He has been dramaturg and playwright at Minneapolis’s Guthrie Theater, professor at Carnegie Mellon University and artistic director of Pittsburgh’s Metro Theater, and was director of the drama program at Duke University.
In conjunction with “Imaginary Invalid,” PlayMakers will host “The Vision Series-Directors in Conversation,” a behind-the-scenes preview with Serrand at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 17. At the free public event at Paul Green Theatre, participants share coffee and hors d’oeuvres provided by series sponsor Jujube Restaurant, learn about the production and get a behind-the-scenes look at the design and vision for the show. Reservations are encouraged, as space is limited. Call PlayMakers’ box office at (919) 962-7529 to RSVP.
Other special events during “Imaginary Invalid” will include:
- Oct. 15, 6 p.m.: a program with the director and company members at McIntyre’s Books in Fearrington Village, Pittsboro;
- Oct. 22, 7 p.m.: an “In the Wings” discussion with the creative team at the Durham County Library’s Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro St., downtown Durham;
- Oct. 24-26, 7:30 p.m.: preview performances;
- Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m.: the opening night performance, with a complementary gala party afterward;
- Nov. 3, 2 p.m.: open-captioned performance;
- Oct. 31 and Nov. 4: free post-show discussions with the creative team;
- Nov. 6: an all-access performance for attendees with special needs, with sign language interpretation and audio description; and
- Nov.10 and 11: free post-show “Mindplay” discussions sponsored by the North Carolina Psychoanalytic Society.
Jennings and The Picnic Basket are co-producing sponsors for “Imaginary Invalid.”
Following “Imaginary Invalid,” PlayMakers will present the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” (Nov. 28-Dec. 16). The Mainstage Season continues with Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” performed in rotating repertory with 2012 Tony Award-winner “Clybourne Park” (Jan. 26-March 3), plus the dazzling hit musical “Cabaret” (April 3-21).
PlayMakers is based in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences. The Drama League has named PlayMakers one of the “best regional theatre companies in America.”