Jack Morman, principal of Hollis Hand Elementary School, will return to his old stomping grounds to take the lead in the classic comedy. Morman is a theater alumnus who earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the college.
“It’s great to have Jack back on the Price stage in the title role,” said Steven Earl Edwards, the production’s director and professor of theater arts at the college.
Morman said he has been wanting to appear in a college production for a while, but scheduling conflicts kept getting in the way.
“When ‘The Miser’ came around, they contacted me and we began to put our schedules together,” he said. “It was tight, but we were able to work it out.”
Morman said it has been nice to be back on the stage.
“I forgot how much that I loved the theater,” he said. “Each of us needs an artistic outlet, and I have rediscovered mine on the stage.”
Surrounding Morman is a cast of nine students, ranging from freshmen to seniors, theater majors, nonmajors and a Panther football player. They are William Joel Coady, Ali Grieb, Julia Jones, Tim Quirk, Anna Carroll Sims, Cordaryl Strickland, Joseph Thomas, Kenny Wiley and Benjamin Williamson.
“These students are consummate professionals, who have devoted their college life to learning everything they can about all aspects of the theater,” Morman said. “Every rehearsal is full of excitement as we try to breathe life into this classic piece.”
First staged in 1668, “The Miser” was written by French playwright Molière. Its plot revolves around the penny-pinching Harpagon, a miser who cares more for his hidden fortune than for his children’s happiness.
“I’ve wanted to direct this show for 16 years,” Ed-wards said. “It’s such a fun play and so accessible to today’s audiences.”
In the original production, Molière himself played the title role in the play, which has become one his most enduring works.
“Molière raised comedy to the point where it could rank with tragedy as an entertainment for the intelligent and the cultured,” Edwards said. “Instead of comedy being lowbrow, he made it highbrow. He is universally regarded as the greatest French writer of comedy, and this work proves why.”
A quick look at the play’s cast of characters gives ready evidence of humorous potential: a hypochondriac miser who loves his dogs more than his children, a matchmaker who’s more interested in proper payment than proper matches, a son who’s in love with the same young woman as his father, and a daughter who’s love-struck for a servant who’s really not a servant at all.
Got all that? Not to worry. It unfolds smoothly as the plot is revealed.
Morman said audience members can expect “a roller-coaster ride through this classic.”
“We are working hard to stay true to the styles of the period while bringing a contemporary energy to the experience,” he said. “We are exploring these characters to find their true essences. We want La-Grange audiences to be transported and swept away by this lavish production.”
n “The Miser” opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and includes evening performances Friday, Saturday and April 1-3, plus a 2:30 p.m. matinee March 29. Tickets at $10 for adults and $7 for students are available at the box office from noon to 5 p.m. weekdays or by calling (706) 880-8080. The play includes mature themes.