The Imaginary Invalid
August Wilson said “All you need in the world is love and laughter. That's all anybody needs, to have love in one hand and laughter in the other.” The members of the Senior Acting Group at Brentwood concur. Wednesday the 19th of April was opening night of this year’s production of “The Imaginary Invalid”, a show which embodies the very heart of August Wilson’s reflection.
The play is set in France, where it was first performed in 1673 after being composed by French playwright Moliere. Harrison P plays the painstakingly illness-riddled protagonist, a man who believes himself to be sick with various ailments and maladies. Emilia G and Katie R split the role of Toinette, the outspoken “servant girl” who has long worked in the house and who appears to be the only character with her head sewn on straight.
The story emerges as love and money begin to intertwine in a dangerous game full of fallacies. In this pre-modern society a young girl’s wishes had no effect whatsoever on the man (or boy in this case) she would have to marry. Valsy B plays the lovestruck young female who has been so entranced by the dreamy Cleante (David L-R) and vows to find a way out of her arranged marriage.
As the outrageously self-centered actions of the hypochondriac father begin to set off a chain reaction, his brother Beralde (Jon C) arrives just in time to save the day, and brings with him a rare zest for life.
The story focuses on love, the masks people wear, and the foolishness of those who forget that it is possible to learn as one ages. It is nearly impossible to sit in the audience and not laugh through the show. The jokes are punny and audience interaction occurs to help engage the stragglers. During Act Two students watching the show were delightfully caught unawares by the spirited guest appearance of Mr. Rodrigues in a show-stopping cameo. Physics will never be the same.
With the occasional song and dance, the Imaginary Invalid made for the perfect break from studying. Brentwood is lucky to have such productions in our theatre and thanks must be given to Ms. Quinton, the Director, who has put countless hours into this show, as well as Mr. Armitage, the technical director who designed lights to help the actors shine, as well as all of the actors and technical crew who made the play a delightful performance to watch.
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