French Humor and Dartmouth Alumni Reign in Hop Productions


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Hopkins Center audiences can immerse themselves in French humor this month, as two Hop ensembles present modern adaptations of classic French comic works.

Amber Dewey ’12, left, plays the role of Cunégonde in “Candide,” and Josh Feder ’08 is the assistant director of the theater department’s production of “The Liar.” (Courtesy of the Hopkins Center for the Arts)

The wonders of 17th-century French theatrical farce are on display as the Department of Theater presents The Liar, American comic playwright David Ives’ 2010 adaptation of Pierre Corneille’s 1644 play Le MenteurThe Liar is directed by Associate Professor of Theater Jamie Horton. Assistant Director Josh Feder ’08, a New York-based actor and director/choreographer, directs a troupe of eight a cappella vocalists in musical scene transitions written expressly for the show.

The Liar will be performed in the Moore Theater February 15, 16, and 17, February 21 through 23, and February 24.

On Friday and Saturday, February 15 and 16, in the Hop’s Spaulding Auditorium, the Dartmouth College Glee Club takes audiences into 18th-century France, when humor took on a distinctly political edge. The ensemble presents Leonard Bernstein’s musical Candide, a farcical retelling of Voltaire’s 1759 politically satirical novella Candide, or Optimism (Candide, ou l’Optimisme). The fully staged and choreographed production, conducted by Glee Club Director Louis Burkot and accompanied by a full orchestra, features Evan Ross ’13 as Candide, Amber Dewey ’12 as his love, Cunégonde, and Tyler Putnam ’09 as Pangloss; and is staged by Broadway veteran David Beach ’86.

Both The Liar and Candide feature period settings and costumes, but the modern adaptations reveal the timeless humor of the original works while tuning up the comedy for contemporary ears, such as having a 17th-century gent open The Liar with a cellphone-turn-off reminder delivered in rhyming couplets and pun-filled wordplay. “It’s a rare treat, like one of those meals in which you have to have both desserts,” says Horton.

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