The Imaginary Invalid

The Centre for Performing and Visual Arts at Central Memorial High School
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November 2012

By Moliere (adapted by Timothy Mooney)

The hypochondriac Argan wants nothing more than to be sick, or at least to be thought of as sick, and tended to by doctors and family (notably his scheming wife). His desire for treatment outweighs his judgment, as he tries to set his daughter up to marry an idiot doctor-in-training. Only the brilliant collaboration of the maid, Toinette, with his brother, Beralde, can foil the wife, conquer the doctors, and satisfy Argan. This rhymed-verse adaptation of Moliere’s classic comedy ends with a hilarious Latin-gibberish musical finale, which proclaims Argan as a doctor in his own right. What’s come out of this is a finale which seems to stretch the comic boundaries even farther than they’ve already ventured in this very funny play.

The Imaginary Invalid premiered in 1673 in Paris and was originally choreographed by Pierre Beauchamp. The play is also known as “The Hypochondriac”, an alternative translation of the French title. Le malade imaginaire would turn out to be Molière’s last work. He collapsed during his fourth performance as Argan on 17 February and died soon after.

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