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KPBS Midday Edition

Fiasco Theater Brings Molière Back To The Old Globe

A 2017 photo of actor Andy Grotelueschen from the world premiere of "The Imaginary Invalid" running at The Old Globe May 27 through July 2.
Jim Cox
A 2017 photo of actor Andy Grotelueschen from the world premiere of "The Imaginary Invalid" running at The Old Globe May 27 through July 2.

The group is known for its 2014 stripped-down adaptation of 'Into the Woods'

Fiasco Theater Brings Molière Back To The Old Globe
Fiasco Theater Brings Molière Back To The Old Globe GUESTS:Noah Brody, co-director, "The Imaginary Invalid" Andy Grotelueschen, star, "The Imaginary Invalid"

This is KPBS Midday Edition I am Maureen Cavanaugh. What you do at the theater company wins awards and accolades for finding the heart within it -- a huge musical. Vehicle after the theater's classic comedies and reinvent. Members of the fiasco theater are in San Diego for the world premiere of their version of the imaginary invalid by the 17th century playwright Molière. The piece was commissioned by the old Globe and joining the is no authority. He is co-artistic director of the fiasco theater. Osco here is Andy who plays the title character the imaginary invalid. Many are going to remember you from the adaptation of into the woods which was a hit in New York. Some courts to down others, a refreshing reintroduction. What do they want to find in that production that may be other versions did not go I think what really brought us to the peace which we were interested in was the power of storytelling which is one of the metaphors of that piece. We were interested in taking on a classic musical by a brilliant and she our minds the most brilliant musician at about and apply our classical theater skills. Without ourselves to the text and the music and left all of the assumptions of the musical or the form of the musical at the door and just asked ourselves what is going on in this. And we are telling the story with an audience. That was the big experiment to the if our particular skills are suited to a musical. We are delighted to find that both energized us and resonated with audiences. Is that same concept of leaving assumptions at the door [Indiscernible]. Go after the text for intent and really excavated the down and try to figure out what is really at play here. Sort of the way we work is finding the bridge between those two things. Can still feel the history of it but you can also feel the contemporary moment of it. Can you remind us and them nutshell what it is about. It is about a hypochondriac who has a great idea to marry his daughter to a doctor. So he can save some money and have some people in his family of who he may be in need to one of the wonderful things as he always ask from the characters one of you. What may seem to the imaginary invalid as a wonderful idea appears to the rest of the world is one of the worst ideas in history. It is delightfully at play in the piece and you have a person with a particular perspective on the world who is a leader of the household. The question is how his decisions affect the rest of the world. Both tension and hilarity into the When people think of a comedy there is lots of running around and mistaken identities. How do you do that without a lot of scenery or Big Flats is correct. One of the things we have been talking about this which is look to the text and say what is it asking for and what does it require. What happens is we can come to place like these classic place and whether we know it or not there's a lot of cultural history that whether we are even reading it. Someone starts imagining big 20 skirt and huge cuffs and a sort of presentation or something sort of particularly French a fight but those are all interpretations. I think what we do as we say who are these people what do I understand about them and how can we approach that. What is brilliant about him is he is a humanist just like any great dramatic or comedic writer of today. Displays bring out because of how they were what we understand that is universal about the human next variance. We can just play out those scenarios like the people that we are in the parts that are really funny or really funny. As Noah was saying to approach this place to look at them a new they come is a lot of cultural baggage but they also come with baggage of their own time when it comes to stereotypes and attitude can be offensive to modern-day audiences. How do you handle that Trying to suss from the authors point of contention like when they are using terminology that would've been received aggressive negative of the time that is an intention. So you find an analog for today. Is still ring true? There's a lot of misogynistic language in this play. Is an arranged marriage a worthwhile proposition for a young woman's life. In the play she has a wonderful scene where she says we can't do this. I was thinking about all of the family. Archie Bunker is a deeply flawed character. Is racist and small minded but is deeply human and somehow we were always rooting for him. He seems more human for those flaws not less human. More worth fighting for and saving because without inside there is a warm beating heart and somebody who cares. He strikes me as that kind of character. There are questions of misogyny and classism and the tragedies are the mind for humor. It is at least humorously but they exist and his family is waiting for and working for change. The imaginary invalid was commissioned by the old Globe. Can you describe that creative relationship. After we did into the woods here shortly thereafter we sat down with. The artistic director to talk about future projects he is a brilliant scholar and classicist and we started asking him what our titles that we should take a look at the government started batting them back and forth and had a long list. Spent a lot of time after that going through that and mining it. Imaginary invalid was one of those. We had such a great time here with into the woods. Both with the artistic leadership and all the artisans and crafts network at the old Globe everyone that works there is deeply committed. They are positive and create incredible things. It is where enough in the theater world so we were ready to come back and see what it might be like to create something new. Spent the last few years [Indiscernible] The imaginary invalid will run at the old Globe starting this Saturday through July 2. Thank you it has been fun.

Three years ago, Fiasco Theater brought a reinvented "Into the Woods" to the Old Globe, stripping it down and relying on comedy and creativity to bring the story to life.

That production was so well-received, it toured around the country and played Off Broadway.

Fiasco Theater returns to San Diego this month, only this time the East Coast theater troupe tackles french playwright, Molière whose work has not been staged at the Globe in more than a decade.


The Globe commissioned "The Imaginary Invalid," and this production will be a world premiere directed by Jessie Austrian and Noah Brody. On Midday Edition Wednesday, Brody and actor Andy Grotelueschen discuss their relationship with the esteemed local theater, and explain why they like working in such a minimalistic atmosphere.

"The Imaginary Invalid," a comedy about a hypochondriac who wants his daughter to marry a doctor, it runs May 27 through July 2.