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Eugene Weekly : Theater : 3.3.11

 

Modern Day Misanthrope

We still love the man who hates everything. And why wouldnt we, when Molieres misanthrope says everything we all wish we could? To enjoy his cynicism with hipster jokes replacing the 17th-century rhyming couplets, you can see a modern adaptation in the most unlikely of theaters.

"Its where you go to learn how to think, not what to think,” student Jonathan Manley says of Gutenberg, a small, great books liberal arts college perched at 18th and University. The soul-warmingly beautiful dining room of this tiny college will be transformed March 3 into a theater, where a small cadre of students and their professor will turn The Misanthrope into a modern pop opera.

Really?

Yes. And it rocks, literally. Set in an independent recording studio, the production transforms the cynical Alceste into Alex, the last remaining record producer with integrity. He hates everything about the music business with the exception of music and CJ (Moliere called her Célimúne), an indie-rock goddess with a penchant for drawing male attention. Whereas Molieres classic satirized the French aristocracy, this production is likely to hit closer to home.

Tim McIntosh, a local actor and award-winning playwright, moonlights as a professor at Gutenberg. He was struck by the timelessness of the 17th-century play while teaching The Misanthrope. Hearing the music of his student, Jonathan Manley, wafting down the narrow corridors of Gutenbergs dormitories, McIntosh hatched a plan to work with his students in modernizing Molieres great play.

After ten months and countless hours spent in their forum-like rehearsal space, a theatrical gem has taken shape. Energy, intelligence and collaboration have collided, creating a whirlwind of a play.

P.R.; An Indie-Opera, served up with a fabulous Gutenberg family dinner, plays only three nights. Grab your ticket while you can.

P.R.; An Indie-Opera runs at Gutenberg College (1883 University St.) March 3, 4 and 6. Tickets are $5. Dinner is at 6:15 pm; the play starts at 7. For tickets call 683-5141. ã Anna Grace