This farcical comedy set in 1910 is a translation by Michael Pilch of Georges Feydeau’s Feu la Mere de Madame. Things go seriously wrong when Lucien arrives home from a ball in the early hours of the morning dressed as Louis XIV. His late arrival and his enraptured account of the ball invites the wrath of Yvonne, his wife, which is heightened when he unwittingly makes disparaging remarks about her figure. The maid, Annette, is dragged from her bed to witness his discomfiture and the angry scene which follows.
2 women, 2 men
La Puce ï¿½ l'oreille est un vaudeville de Georges Feydeau crï¿½ï¿½ au Thï¿½ï¿½tre des Variï¿½tï¿½s le 2 mars 1907. C'est une comï¿½die basï¿½e sur des quiproquos et des malentendus entre les personnages qui se suspectent tous mutuellement d'adultï¿½re.
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“In Feydeau’s work, all misunderstandings and slamming doors, THE LOSER is a moment of pure hysteria, a kind of quintessence of the author’s work. In a sort of comic pendant to Zola’s Nana, Feydeau puts on stage characters guided only by the power of their desires, the will to possess someone else, the exclusive passion for pleasure. In such a society however the places are limited, the combinations difficult. On stage this provides a game of musical chairs that is perfectly hilarious. Those who are not at first motivated by the follies of love end up joining the dance. It all provides a cavalcade which explodes into craziness and hilarious situations. However, there is also in THE LOSER a panic force, an urge to go to extremes which encourages certain dark views of the tragic dimension of the human condition.”Dans la bibliothÈque de ClÈanthe “George Feydeau created THE LOSER in 1896 with codes appropriate to a now remote era. Arranged marriages often brought men and women together while leaving each the opportunity to let his or her heart take an interest somewhere else. Being caught in the act in the presence of the police was the rule when one or another of the parties wished to put an end to a less truly satisfying union. In THE LOSER the dialogue is studded with double meanings and cleverly placed stings. This awareness of conventions works marvelously when it is recreated in the 2lst century.”Stanislas Claude, Publik Art
“It seems to me that for fertility in droll inventions, the perpetual outpouring of unforeseen misunderstandings, for the inexhaustible gaiety of dialogue, Feydeau’s new play is superior to everything he’s written so far. The most astonishing thing is the sureness with which everything is controlled, explained, justified, in the most extravagant buffoonery. The cross-purposes rebound non-stop, and every time one is introduced, one thinks, `Yes, that’s true, it couldn’t happen any other way.’ There is no idle detail, not one that hasn’t its function in the action, not a word which will not have, at a given moment, its repercussion in the comedy, and this word, I don’t know how it’s done—it’s the gift of the dramatist—sinks into the memory, and reappears just at the moment when it has to cast a vivid light on an incident, which we did not expect, but which seems entirely natural, which charms us both by its unpredictability and by our impression that we did predict it… The first act lasts no less than an hour, and there isn’t a moment’s boredom; the absurdities burst one after another with a marvelous abundance and intensity. I have seen nothing like it.”Francisque Sarcey, Le Temps
This collection includes five long one-act plays: THE AWFUL TOOTH, BLASTED EVENT, DEAD WRONG, POTTY FAVORS, and SHE CAN’T BARE IT! Master Belle Époque farceur Georges Feydeau loosely based these brilliantly funny long one-acts on the failure of his own marriage. The plays, greatly admired in his time, were described by a prominent critic as “insane merriment, inextinguishable laughter.” With DEAD WRONG, the first play in the collection, Feydeau launched a new genre: the marital farce, the hell of couples. And “like the very great comic writers,” another critic noted, Feydeau “knows how to make the public laugh at his personal bitterness.” It was Feydeau himself who suggested that these five one-acts be collected under the title FROM MARRIAGE TO DIVORCE. This collection, which for the first time brings these plays together in English, honors that suggestion. Distinguished translator Laurence Senelick has taken care to preserve all of Feydeau’s stage directions as sure guides to staging the plays for maximum effect. DEAD WRONG: A husband and wife stay together by force of habit, their relationship based on nothing solid. The wife’s aggression and bitterness and the husband’s selfishness and irresponsibility are revealed, and their ferocious animosity unleashes such powerful comedy that it obscures the underlying darkness. POTTY FAVORS: Inspired by Feydeau’s wife’s obsession with giving the children laxatives, especially his eldest son, Jacques, every character is despicable for their moral cowardice and egoism, providing a hopeless (but hilarious) environment for child-rearing. SHE CAN’T BARE IT!: What to do about a wife going around the apartment in her nightie until lunchtime? BLASTED EVENT: Trapped in a misalliance, a husband is set upon by his wife, his in-laws, and the midwife. THE AWFUL TOOTH was the last new play of Feydeau to be produced in his lifetime, and its dentist’s chair offers a dose of sadistic hilarity. As translator Laurence Senelick notes, “Feydeau may be to dentists what MoliÈre was to doctors.”
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