Shanghai’s original English-language company, East West Theatre, returns to the stage this week. David Johansson (Almost, Maine) directs an adaptation of Moliere’s The Learned Ladies from June 18 to 23 at The Pearl. An outrageous farce, it follows young Henriette’s efforts to fend off the ‘scholar’ suitor trumpeted by her mom, aunt and sister.
“Moliere was about poking fun at the establishments of the period and here he’s poking fun at academic pretension,” Johansson explains.
The ensemble piece features a mix of Shanghai stage veterans like Dave Earl (Glengarry Glen Ross) and Mirren Childs (Masque’rade: Macabre Tales of Poe) with newcomers like Jerome Mazet and Phillip Baofao.
Originally written in verse, The Learned Ladies is set in a 17th-century estate with Johansson promising grand costumes and plenty of wigs.
“I want the show to spiral out of control,” he enthuses. “These characters should be looked at as completely insane figures that sprouted out of Moliere’s mind, but based on people in Paris of that era.”
// The Learned Ladies run June 18-23, 8pm, RMB150-200. The Pearl, 471 Zhapu Lu, by Wujin Lu 乍浦路471号, 近武进路 (182 0216 4553, email@example.com)