Thursday, July 24, 2008

"Den innbilt syke"

"By dint of continual hammering" -- chortle! Oh, we beg your pardon.

"Den innbilt syke"
by Moliére; translated [from "Le malade imaginaire" ("The Imaginary Invalid")] by André Bjerke
Premiere 17 January 1974
Nationaltheatret Hovedscenen
Genre: Comedy

Directed by Kirsten Sørlie

Cast includes:

Henki Kolstad as Argan
Astrid Folstad as Béline
Hilde Sophie Plau as Angélique
Sverre Anker Ousdal as Thomas Diafoirus

Photo from Minneverdige oppsetninger - scenebilder (I)/Kulturspeilet

[from Act One, Scene 6: Thomas Diafoirus presents his compliments (somewhat prematurely) to his fiancée's family.]
THOMAS DIAFOIRUS. Madam, as the statue of Memnon gave forth a harmonious sound when it was struck by the first rays of the sun, in like manner do I experience a sweet rapture at the apparition of this sun of your beauty. As the naturalists remark that the flower styled heliotrope always turns towards the star of day, so will my heart for ever turn towards the resplendent stars of your adorable eyes as to its only pole. Suffer me, then, Madam, to make to-day on the altar of your charms the offering of a heart which longs for and is ambitious of no greater glory than to be till death, Madam, your most humble, most obedient, most faithful servant and husband.
TOINETTE [the maid]. Ah! See what it is to study, and how one learns to say fine things!
ARGAN. (to CLÉANTE). Well! what do you say to that?
CLÉANTE [Angélique's suitor]. The gentleman does wonders, and if he is as good a doctor as he is an orator, it will be most pleasant to be one of his patients.
TOI. Certainly, it will be something admirable if his cures are as wonderful as his speeches.
ARG. Now, quick, my chair; and seats for everybody. (Servants bring chairs.) Sit down here, my daughter. (To MR. DIAFOIRUS) You see, Sir, that everybody admires your son; and I think you very fortunate in being the father of such a fine young man.
MR. DIAFOIRUS. Sir, it is not because I am his father, but I can boast that I have reason to be satisfied with him, and that all those who see him speak of him as of a youth without guile. He has not a very lively imagination, nor that sparkling wit which is found in some others; but it is this which has always made me augur well of his judgment, a quality required for the exercise of our art. As a child he never was what is called sharp or lively. He was always gentle, peaceful, taciturn, never saying a word, and never playing at any of those little pastimes that we call children's games. It was found most difficult to teach him to read, and he was nine years old before he knew his letters. A good omen, I used to say to myself; trees slow of growth bear the best fruit. We engrave on marble with much more difficulty than on sand, but the result is more lasting; and that dulness of apprehension, that heaviness of imagination, is a mark of a sound judgment in the future. When I sent him to college, he found it hard work, but he stuck to his duty, and bore up with obstinacy against all difficulties. His tutors always praised him for his assiduity and the trouble he took. In short, by dint of continual hammering, he at last succeeded gloriously in obtaining his degree; and I can say, without vanity, that from that time till now there has been no candidate who has made more noise than he in all the disputations of our school. There he has rendered himself formidable, and no debate passes but he goes and argues loudly and to the last extreme on the opposite side. He is firm in dispute, strong as a Turk in his principles, never changes his opinion, and pursues an argument to the last recesses of logic. But, above all things, what pleases me in him, and what I am glad to see him follow my example in, is that he is blindly attached to the opinions of the ancients, and that he would never understand nor listen to the reasons and the experiences of the pretended discoveries of our century concerning the circulation of the blood and other opinions of the same stamp.
T. DIA. (pulling out of his pocket a long paper rolled up, and presenting it to ANGÉLIQUE). I have upheld against these circulators a thesis which, with the permission (bowing to ARGAN) of this gentleman, I venture to present to the young lady as the first-fruits of my genius.
ANG. Sir, it is a useless piece of furniture to me; I do not understand these things.
TOI. (taking the paper). Never mind; give it all the same; the picture will be of use, and we will adorn our attic with it.
T. DIA. (again bowing to ANGÉLIQUE). With the permission of this gentleman, I invite you to come one of these days to amuse yourself by assisting at the dissection of a woman upon whose body I am to give lectures.
TOI. The treat will be most welcome. There are some who give the pleasure of seeing a play to their lady-love; but a dissection is much more gallant.
MR. DIA. Moreover, in respect to the qualities required for marriage, I assure you that he is all you could wish, and that his children will be strong and healthy.

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