Friday, January 15, 2010

Comedy French Style

I am happy to annoucne that the drought is over, and today we have a real life bona fide hero. His name is Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, but he is more commonly known by his stage/pen name of Moliere. He is our 142nd hero of the day, and wise readers will remember he has been referenced in this blog before. Unwise readers are encouraged to search for that mention, and read the post in which I reference him, because I happen to think it was a cracking good post. However, on to business, Moliere was born this day 1622 in Paris, France into a lovely bourgeois family. His mother died when he was 10 years years old, and like someone else I know, he was not particularly close to his father. At the age of the 21 he decided he was meant for the stage, and ran off to join a theatre troupe. His skill soon made him the leader of the troupe, which has it perks, but it also led to him spending a brief stint in debtor's prison at the age of 23 when the troupe could not pay its debts. It was about this time that he adopted the name Moliere possibly to spare his father the shame of having an actor in the family. Oh how the times have changed, now days we might be proud of an actor in the family, and use bourgeois is an insult. Despite his own preference for tragedy, it was for his farces that would lead to his fame and fortune. The most famous is, of course, Le Misanthrope, and it is widely regarded as his masterpiece. I, for one, am a huge fan, and if you read the other post dealing with it you will understand why. Some days, most days people just fucking suck, and today is no exception. Trust me on this, they do not improve no matter how many chances you give them. I advise that you lower your expectations of everyone (including yourself). Sorry for that digression, but I just felt the need to put it out there. It is a lovely story, and I can identify with the plot. Molière suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis, possibly contracted when he was imprisoned for debt as a young man. One of the most famous moments in Molière's life was his last, which became legend: he collapsed on stage in a fit of coughing and hemorrhaging Molière insisted on completing his performance. Afterwards he collapsed again with another, larger hemorrhage before being taken home, where he died a few hours later, The superstition that green brings bad luck to actors is said to originate from the colour of the clothing he was wearing at the time of his death. Now that is a way to go out, with a bang and bleeding to death as you give your farewell performance. So for being a trooper and making sure the show went on, even when he should have been home sick in bed, and for that lovely misanthropic play, Moliere (January 15th, 1622-February 17th, 1673, at the age of 51), you are my hero of the day.

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