Theater Review: ‘Mr. De Porceaugnac’

By HELEN KAYE
March 7, 2011 21:37

The best part of this show is the huge square box that is the set, a furniture prop and serves as the entrance and exit for the actors.

1 minute read.



Phantom of the Opera

Theater play peformance Phantom of th Opera 58. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Moliere’s lesser known play Mr. De Porceaugnac is also in the commedia tradition. Commedia dell’arte, so named in the 18th century, began as improvisational and topical street theater in 15th-century Italy. By the mid-17th century, the bubbly, usually comic stories of the early commedia had evolved into stock plots and characters.

Mr. De P (Jeremy Alfassi) is a wealthy Limoges merchant to whom Oronte (Shahar Raz) has promised his daughter Julie (Leah Gelfenstein). Julie is in love with Eraste (Yuval Shlomowitz), and the pair enlist the aid of go-between Nérine (Na’ama Armon) and rascally Sbrigani (Harel Morad) to attain the happy end.

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The best part of this show is the huge square box that is the set, a furniture prop and serves as the entrance and exit for the actors. It is the backdrop, for instance, to a delicious scene in an alley and one of the show’s very few sparkling moments.

Because the big trouble with this Mr. De Porceaugnac is that nobody seems to be having any fun in what definitely has been directed as a romp. Everybody is trying too hard, and despite the flights of Shai Pituvski’s fertile yet disciplined imagination, the production rarely takes off.

Everybody is talking at breakneck speed and with barely any variety of inflection, tone or rhythm. It gets tedious. The show is not helped by Kinneret Topaz’s drab costuming. Ill-fitting purplish long-johns with gingham denim accents do little for the body. And as for poor Mr. de P, he looks like an old chintz armchair.

Alfassi is a Paris-trained actor who immigrated here in 2008.

His Porceaugnac comes closest to the over-the-top yet highly stylized drollery that characterizes this kind of comedy. The others strain toward but never attain the needed flourish.


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