Directed by Nora Davis
(in order of appearance)
Director’s Notes for The Flying Doctor
First and foremost, I give a great “thank you!” and “congratulations!” to my talented and hard-working cast. Thank you for your effots, patience, and good cheer in the face of our challenges. Thanks also to our families and the rest of our lives, for supporting us in our need for this particular outlet.
We extend our heartfelt appreciation to the Rockefeller Chapel and its staff, for generous donation of rehearsal space; also, thank you to the family of Stefania Gomez, for allowing us into their home. Credit for our lovely costumes goes to the shop at University Theatre; without them we would be much less aesthetically convincing. Three cheers especially to Mark Johnson, for his efforts in coordinating and selecting the haul. The music at the end of our show comes to us via the creative genius of Robert Beshara.
Set design and construction was coordinated by Mark Johnson and Peter Thomas, with the particular challenge of designing and constructing the set to fulfill the needs of both plays. Thank you, gentlemen!
The Flying Doctor (Le Médecin Volant) was Molière’s first play, written around 1645. The man, born Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, became famous for his farces, which, even in that day, were traditionally given following performance of a tragedy. He embraced this talent for inspiring laughter, using it to satirize certain societal mannerisms and affectations, portraying especially physicians (and, as we are about to see, lawyers), as pompous individuals who speak poor Latin to impress others, and know only the most ineffective of remedies. Throughout his work, a similar flavor of satire, and even repeat characters, can be found, including a sharp depiction of marital relationships, revealing, Molière’s pessimistic views on the falsity of human relationships. Our cast enjoyed, and would recommend, the recent biographical film Molière, which displays many of the author’s favorite characterizations, several of which we were able to recognize from our own work with The Flying Doctor.
Our young hero, Valère, dresses his valet, Sganarelle, as a doctor, and sends him off to trick Gorgibus, the well-meaning but none-too-bright father of Valère’s love, Lucile. If Lucile’s father can be convinced of a reason to let her out of his sight, the two young people can see their greatest dream come true. Sganarelle takes well to playing the part of a doctor, but quickly runs into complications. He must survive a potentially derailing “dialogue” (watch for the reason as to why this word must be used loosely), with a lawyer, and the suspicious and shrewd, albeit distracted, eyes of Gros-René, the valet of Gorgibus. With the patient assistance of Gorgibus’s niece, Sabine, Sganarelle attempts to navigate his own tightly-woven stories, and bring all together in the end.
and THANK YOU, PLAYERS!
We are grateful to every Player who took a role–and sometimes several roles–pitching in to make sure that all the large and small details of producing two plays on one stage were accomplished. Special mention goes to: Rachel Baker, Maura Byrne, Corinna Christman, Bill Hohnke, Mark Johnson, Mary McCarthy, Ashley Mister, Maggie Swanson, Peter Thomas, Terrie Vasilopoulos.
And thanks for:
Lighting assistance by Bill Hohnke
Set designs by Mark Johnson et alia