About the Adaptation | Excerpt | Timothy Mooney Bio | Home | Order Free Copy

Moliere's
The Bourgeois
Gentleman

in a new verse adaptation
by Timothy Mooney


About the Adaptation | Excerpt | Timothy Mooney Bio | Home | Order Free Copy

About the Adaptation

by Tim Mooney

With The Bourgeois Gentleman, I underlined a conflict throughout the play, through the use of language. The famous exchange between the Philosophy Master and Monsieur Jourdain was what gave me the idea. One of the funniest jokes of the play was Monsieur Jourdain's discovery that he has "been speaking prose all my life, and didn't even know it!" I chose to further distinguish Monsieur Jourdain by NOT having him speak in verse, however much the folk around him may conform to the admittedly theatrical convention. In this universe of the play, the characters consciously work to exploit a heightened speech as a mark of distinction, and Monsieur Jourdain's failure to rise to their plateau is clearly noted. It is sometimes as though they are lobbing him easy volleys in a tennis match, and he inevitably knocks each one into the net.

About the Adaptation | Excerpt | Timothy Mooney Bio | Home | Order Free Copy

The Bourgeois Gentleman

Act Two, Scene Four

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
... Before you go, I must confide to you a secret. I am in love with a lady
of great rank and quality, and wish to ask your help in writing her a note
which I intend to drop most casually at her feet.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Oh, yes. That ought to be a lovely treat.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
That is the gallant thing now, is it not?

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Oh, certainly. A verse you'd like to jot?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
No, no, no verse for me.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
So you want prose?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
No, neither.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Well, I think we must suppose
It's one or its the other.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Why?

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
I guess
That those are all the options to express.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
There's only prose and verse?

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
To make the point most terse.
What isn't verse is prose, and what's not prose is verse.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
And this, the way I speak. What name would be applied to the --

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
The way you speak?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Yes.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Prose.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
It's prose?

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Decidedly.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Oh, really? So when I say: "Nicole bring me my slippers and fetch my
nightcap," is that prose?

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Most clearly.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Well, what do you know about that! These forty years now, I've been speaking
in prose without knowing it! How grateful am I to you for teaching me that!
So, what I wish to tell the gentle lady is: "Fair Marquise, your lovely eyes
make me die of love," but in a way that's elegant, and nicely turned.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Then you can say the fires from her eyes do sear your heart down to an ashen
ember, and that you suffer night and day --

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Oh no, not like that at all. I want it just as I now told you: "Fair
Marquise, your lovely eyes make me die of love." That's it.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
You really should draw out the thing a bit.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
No, listen. I only want those words there in that letter, but nicely turned
with art to the arrangement. Please tell me of the ways that this can be
expressed, so that I might select the one that works the best.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Well, your first choice could be to put it just the way you've said it:
"Fair Marquise, your lovely eyes make me die of love," or then you might
say, "Of love, fair Marquise, your lovely eyes make me die." Or else: "Of
lovely love, your eyes, Marquise fair, me make die." Or then: "Your lovely
eyes, fair Marquise, die of love; make me." Or yet again: "Make me die of
love, lovely eyes, your fair Marquise."

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
But of those several ways which is the best?

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
The one you came up with on your own: "Fair Marquise, your lovely eyes make
me die of love."

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
And to think: I've never studied, and yet I did that one right on the first
go! I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Tomorrow, please come see me
sooner still.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
I will. (HE exits.)

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN (To his LACKEYS.)
And has my suit not yet arrived?

SECOND LACKEY
No, Sir.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
That confounded tailor has kept me waiting the whole day long, and here I
have so much to do! That puts me into such a lather! A plague upon the
rascal of a tailor! The devil take the wretched tailor! Why if I had the
scoundrel tailor here with me, I'd tell the odious, detestable treacherous
dog of a tailor --

Act Two, Scene Five
MASTER TAILOR, JOURNEYMAN TAILOR (Carrying the suit.), MONSIEUR JOURDAIN,
LACKEYS


MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Ah, there you are! I was just about to get myself annoyed with you!

MASTER TAILOR
I wish that I could have come sooner, too,
But found myself in quite an awful boat,
With twenty men at work upon your coat.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
The silk stockings that you sent were far too tight. It took me half the day
to get them on, and already they've torn two ladders down beneath the pants.

MASTER TAILOR
They'll stretch out on their own given the chance.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Of course they'll stretch, if I keep tearing seams! And then the pair of
shoes you made me hurt my feet. It must be they're too small.

MASTER TAILOR
Oh, no, Sir. That can't be. No, not at all.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
How not at all! How impertinent!

MASTER TAILOR
It's not too small. You couldn't hurt in it.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
And I am telling you I do!

MASTER TAILOR
That's only likely, Sir, if your feet grew.
I think you just imagine there's some pain.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Imagine it? Well, I suppose I would imagine it if that was what I really
felt! And I should think that might be reason enough!

MASTER TAILOR
Look, here's the finest coat in all the court,
The most well-balanced and harmonic sort.
A work of art to take the world aback:
A sober coat that's not done up in black!
I'll give six tailors half-a-dozen tries,
And none could touch this coat for sheer surprise.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
But what is this? You've placed the flowers in this coat here upside down!

MASTER TAILOR
You wanted them the other way around?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Oh, must you specify these things today?

MASTER TAILOR
At court they wear them all the other way.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
The folk of quality wear their flowers towards the floor?

MASTER TAILOR
The fashion that the nobles most adore.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Oh, yes, well, that's all right then.

MASTER TAILOR
I'll point them right side up, if that's your yen.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Oh, no!

MASTER TAILOR
I don't mind if you make a scene.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
No, you did right. This is the way I ... meant.

About the Adaptation | Excerpt | Timothy Mooney Bio | Home | Order Free Copy

About Timothy Mooney

Tim Mooney has worked in, with and around the theatre for almost thirty years, as an actor, director and playwright, and everything in-between.

Tim received his bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University, and a master of fine arts degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He went on to internships with the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre and the Seattle Rep, where he was assistant director to John Dillon and Daniel Sullivan, respectively.

Tim taught acting and stage movement for two years with Northern Illinois University, before creating “The Script Review,” a newsletter that reviewed some 700 plays in manuscript form over the course of seven years, distributed to Literary Managers and Directors all over the United States. As a director, Tim’s production of “Secret Obscenities” was one of five winners at the Bailiwick Directors’ Festival in Chicago.

From there, Tim stepped in as Artistic Director of the Stage Two Theatre Company, where he produced nearly fifty plays in five years, most of them original works.

When Stage Two turned to the classics, Tim adapted his own sparkling rhymed, iambic-pentameter versions of the plays of Moliere creating fifteen new Moliere plays in seven years. Stage Two produced “Tartuffe,” “The Miser,” “The Schemings of Scapin,” “The Misanthrope,” “The Doctor in Spite of Himself” and “Sganarelle,” and companies around the world picked up on these plays too, with productions all across the United States, as well as Canada and even India. U.S. venues included the Pasadena Shakespeare Festival, M.I.T., Wayne State University and Universities of Colorado, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio and many more.

Tim’s writing work brought him full circle, back in front of the footlights as a performer, playing the lead role in many of the works he had written. (In fact, all of the roles in which he now found himself cast were the parts that Moliere himself had originated!) This was to give Tim the impetus for a one-man show, “Moliere Than Thou” (Best Adapted Work, San Francisco Fringe Fest). The play serves as a quick introduction to some of Moliere’s greatest works and speeches, and has been seen all over the U.S. and Canada. It has given tens of thousands of students their first exposure to Moliere, and along the way Tim has taught thousands of students in his workshops, introducing the concepts further developed in his upcoming text, “Acting at the Speed of Life,” as well as his collection of Moliere Monologues.

Most recently, Tim has further refined the art of the one-person show, creating a one-man Sci-Fi Thriller, “Criteria,” (Artistic Picks Finalist, Seattle Fringe Fest), as well as “Karaoke Knights” a “One Man Rock Opera.”

Tim continues to write new versions of the plays of Moliere, novels, short stories, songs, children’s stories and screenplays.

About the Adaptation | Excerpt | Timothy Mooney Bio | Home | Order Free Copy

Name
Street Address, Apt.
City, State, Zip
Email
Purpose Other
Theater Affiliation

tim_mooney@earthlink.net

About the Adaptation | Excerpt | Timothy Mooney Bio | Home | Order Free Copy

All website content © Timothy Mooney