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Molière : a theatre of movement Small, Marjorie Elizabeth 1987

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MOLIERE: A THEATRE OF MOVEMENT By MARJORIE ELIZABETH SMALL B.A., The University of Toronto, 1985 THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of French We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 1987 ( c j Marjorie Elizabeth Small In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of French The University of British Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 September 14, 1987 A B S T R A C T Moliere's theatre i s one of movement. He owes his keen sense of the gestural especially to the commedia dell'arte and French farce traditions. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the rhythm and devices he employs in some of his earlier and more mature plays. This discussion reveals patterns of reversal, repetition and oscillation, the elements which give particular exuberance to his comic vision. As an actor, director and playwright he had a unique genius for translating his gestural vision into great theatrical works. i i i TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction 1 Chapter 1. The Influence of the Commedia dell'Arte and French Farce Traditions on Moliere 11 Chapter 2. La Jalousie du Barbouille and Le Medecin volant 37 Chapter 3. Le Medecin malgre l u i 63 Chapter 4. Les Fourberies de Scapin 86 Conclusion 108 Bibliography 112 iv ACKNOWLEDGEMENT The completion of this thesis marks the end of two enjoyable, enriching years at the University of British Columbia. I would like to express my gratitude and admiration to my parents for their unwavering support and their belief in the value of education. The help and understanding of my entire family has been invaluable to me; I would especially like to thank my brother Dan for his help in computer matters. I feel extremely fortunate and thankful to have been able to work with Dr. Harold Knutson during this project. His vast knowledge of Moliere's theatre and his interest in performance issues, combined with his kind patience, encouragement and suggestions, have made the production of this thesis an enjoyable and intellectually profitable experience. 1 INTRODUCTION Le naturalisme et 1'academisme tuent Moliere de la meme facon, en ne reconnaissant pas que Tartuffe, Pom Juan ou Alceste, pour atteindre leur verite, ont besoin de voir confirmee la part du comique visuel, celle du geste, que la silhouette stabilise, que la posture totalise.1 Alfred Simon's comment emphasizes the importance of performance and the visual in the study of Moliere's theatre. Operating from this perspective, the approach adopted in this thesis i s more closely associated with the performance aspects of his theatre than with his literary technique. A sampling of Moliere's plays w i l l be examined primarily for their visual, 'spectacular' qualities rather than as texts. "As Moliere reminds us on several occasions," observes Wadsworth, "he wrote his comedies to be performed before an audience, not to be printed in books. Casting, acting, and theatrical effects took precedence over literary form."^ Moliere's theatre, then, i s a spectator experience. It is dependent on the visual because much of i t s comic effect is derived from gesture and movement. It is significant that the playwright Moliere was also an actor and director. Leon Chancerel points out: "Moliere les voyait deja, «ces jeux», au fur et a mesure qu'il ecrivait le dialogue, et que, ce dialogue, i l ecrivait en fonction du j e u . T h e r e f o r e , jeu is v i t a l to Moliere's theatre; i t gives l i f e to his texts, both in terms of their conception and the manner in which they are presented. 2 Gesture and movement are components of jeu. Gesture i s an integral part of the theatre experience. Alfred Simon states that "le geste de l'acteur est le moteur principal du comique."^ Necessarily, i t entails movement. It generally involves human beings who express their emotions and thoughts by some physical movement. They express anger, fear, hunger, lust, greed, arrogance, deceit. It may also be gratuitous, and may be used solely for comic effect. Gesture may involve the entire body, as in the postures to which Simon refers in the opening quote, or a hand gesture, or the shrug of a shoulder, or a f a c i a l expression, and frequently, a combination of different types of movement. Gesture may be silently expressive, as in mime, or i t may be accompanied by dialogue. There seems to be l i t t l e problem with the concept of gesture i t s e l f ; i t i s something we subconsciously witness almost every waking moment. But when i t comes to analyzing an already existing situation, as in a written text, gesture becomes far more complex and elusive. Le geste est fragile et effleure a peine l'histoire du theatre. En 1'absence de tout document cinematographique, ou meme photographique, seules deux gravures de Chauveau et les illustrations posthumes attestent presque a coup sur la physionomie, mais non la gestuelle du comedien Moliere.5 This problem would be eliminated i f one were able to observe actual seventeenth century performances of the plays rather than envisioning them with the help of only a text. 3 Obviously, this is not possible. It is true that the frontispieces of Moliere's plays are a visual link with the seventeenth century. In G. Donald Jackson's recent article, the c r i t i c points out that the engravings have some value as indications of costuming, decor, and to a lesser degree, of gesture and movement.** However, their use i s limited for this study. By their very nature, they are s t i f f , frozen images of one moment in a play. This study is concerned with conveying a sense of the exuberance of movement that was central to Moliere's theatre. Luckily, we have the testimonial of Moliere's contemporaries to indicate how highly gestural performance style was in his plays. One of the major obstacles to a comprehensive study of the gestures and movement in Moliere's plays is their incomplete description by the playwright. Wadsworth partially accounts for this lack: "The texts of many plays provide very l i t t l e information on stage business and the interpretation of roles. His actors did not need written instructions when they rehearsed their lines, since the author was also the d i r e c t o r . M o l i e r e made use of l a z z i , as we w i l l see in chapter one. These Italian-style gestures were frequently not described in stage directions either. "Ses lazzi ne sont point tous passes dans le texte imprime, soit que le poete ait voulu respecter le bon gout du lecteur, soit qu'il ait senti que 1'imprime denaturait 1'improvisation, soit qu'il ait refuse de charger son t e x t e . F o r the modern student of 4 Moliere's gesture, then, there i s primarily the text. Since the dialogue and a few stage directions are the reader 1s principle clues to gesture, the importance of a very close and careful reading of the play i s undeniable. Such a reading i s profitable, for, as we have already seen, Moliere's plays were written with gesture and movement in mind. Gabriel Conesa says of any text by Moliere: " i l possederait, a un niveau plus profond, une grande richesse de virtualites gestuelles, imprimees dans les rythmes du langage; selon J. Copeau, le comedien n'a pas a imaginer les gestes, mais i l doit laisser le texte les l u i indiquer."^ Because gesture i s d i f f i c u l t to delimit, c r i t i c s generally choose to deal only with gestures described in explicit stage directions, or those that can be reasonably inferred from the text.10 Therefore, the f i r s t step in coming to grips with describing gesture is to divide i t into two types: explicit and implied gesture. Explicit gesture poses fewer problems, although the directions given are often distressingly cryptic, as in the famous bottle scene in the f i r s t act of Le Medecin malgre l u i , in which an obviously rich jeu de scene i s reduced to: "divers gestes qui font un grand  jeu de theatre."-1-1 Dealing with implied gesture often means allowing the text to inform one's performance imagination. One's detective s k i l l s and sense of logic are also pressed into service. There are certain clues which help in this process of 5 identifying implied gestures. For example, characters may refer to a gesture which has already taken place. In this way, the reader i s able to discern gestures a posteriori. Punctuation, especially exclamation marks, often implies excitement or agitation, emotional states that are normally accompanied by some sort of physical expression. Also, words like "oh!" and "ah!" are frequently a clue to some gesture. Words that carry with them an emotion, such as "Coquin!", generally express anger or menace. They are a good indication that the character may be accompanying his verbal threat with a physical one, such as the innumerable coup de baton scenes. Finally, a change in direction or tone in a scene may indicate and/or i n i t i a t e a corresponding gestural movement. While gesture concerns each individual actor, i t is also important from the point of view of interaction. Do one character's gestures affect another's? Does one actor's relative inactivity or hyperactivity reveal something about him? A consideration of rhythm and frequency of movement and gesture enters into this question of interaction of characters as well as the study of individual gestures. Sometimes the stage becomes awhirl with movement, as the actors chase each other in a symmetrical but dizzying pattern-^, or as one short scene follows another in rapid succession, characters 'flying' on and off stage at breakneck speed. The importance of gesture l i e s in i t s expressiveness. Gustave Attinger writes: 6 . . . l o r s g u ' i l s ' a g i t de marguer du sceau comique les grandes v ices de l a nature humaine, le geste sera toujours l a plus e f f i c ace des s t y l i s a t i o n s . Une grimace de peur ou de concupiscence, un mot a 1 'emporte-piece, s t y l i s e n t davantage qu'un monologue. That i s to say, gesture i s e f f e c t i v e i n a v i sua l way. However, th i s v i s ua l e f f e c t of gesture a lso t rans lates to an i n t e l l e c t u a l one because i t a f fec t s the audience's imagination through the power of suggestion: " l e geste acquiert plus de force quand i l se p r o f i l e sur le fond plus complexe, par fo i s t roub le, souvent feer ique, de 1 ' imagination. The v i s u a l i n Moliere goes back to the inf luences that formed him. Thus source study i s a l l important. In h is a r t i c l e , "Mol iere and h is sources", P h i l i p A. Wadsworth defends th i s kind of study: "For a sound appreciat ion of h i s works, one must have some knowledge of the readings, t r a d i t i o n s , and i n t e l l e c t u a l currents that nourished them. The study of sources, sometimes decr ied as o ld- fashioned, s u p e r f i c i a l , or over -determin i s t i c , w i l l surely remain, i n Mo l ie re ' s case, an indispensable scho lar ly d i s c i p l i n e . " l ^ Within h is d e f i n i t i o n of " source" , Wadsworth d is t inguishes between "context " : " i . e . the immediate, often contemporary forces (books, p lays, persons, s o c i a l or p o l i t i c a l questions, e tc . ) that h i s comedies echo or e x p l o i t " - ^ and " ce r t a i n remote and rather broad in f luences , such as archetypes, genres, and t h e a t r i c a l t r a d i t i o n s , without which Moliere could scarce ly have created comedies at a l l . " - ^ As we w i l l see, cons iderat ion of Mo l iere ' s sources i s fundamental to the 7 present study. It is well-established that Moliere's interest in performance and physical comedy is largely as a result of the influence of the actors and conventions of the French farce and commedia dell'arte traditions. Due to his many talents as an actor-author-director-^, these influences, along with several others, affected Moliere's theatre in many ways. The plays discussed in this thesis clearly display the mark of the French and Italian tradtions and were chosen to ill u s t r a t e the use of movement and gesture. In Chapter 1 we w i l l give a brief overview of the commedia dell'arte and farce traditions and their relationship with Moliere in order to provide a context for our subsequent chapters. In Chapter 2 we w i l l then discuss two of Moliere's earliest surviving one-act farces, namely Le Medecin volant and La Jalousie du  Barbouille from the point of view of gesture and movement. In the remaining two chapters, we w i l l adopt the same point of view in order to discuss Le Medecin malgre l u i and Les  Fourberies de Scapin, two full-length plays exhibiting the influences discussed in the preceding chapters. Rather than a piecemeal approach to the question, the method of examination w i l l be to study gesture and movement as they unfold in each play. This method has been chosen in order to convey a sense of how these elements function within a sequence and within the play as a whole. This w i l l allow us to see how Moliere builds a performance, sweeping up the 8 spectator in the energy generated by visual and physical effects. Conesa calls this network of gestures "le tissu gestuel" and adds that: " [ i l ] donne toute sa dimension au spectacle d r a m a t i g u e . S i n c e the visual spectacle is central to Moliere's plays, an understanding of gesture and movement w i l l lead to a fu l l e r appreciation of his theatre. 9 N O T E S 1. Alfred Simon, "Les Rites elementaires de la comedie molieresque", Cahiers de la Compaqnie Madeleine Renaud- Jean-Louis Barrault, Paris: Julliard, Janvier, 1956, p. 18. 2. Philip A. Wadsworth, Moliere and the Italian Theatrical  Tradition, French Literature Publications Company, 1977, p. 105. 3. Moliere, Collection "Les Metteurs en Scene", (Paris: Les Presses Litteraires de France, 1953), p. 19. 4. Simon, p. 15. 5. Simon, p. 16-17. 6. "Les Frontispices des editions de Moliere parues au XVIIe siecle: stereotypes et expressivite". Papers on French  Seventeenth Century Literature, XIV, 26(1987). 7. Italian Tradition, p. 105. 8. Rene Bray, Moliere, homme de theatre, (Paris: Mercure de France, 1954), p. 258. 9. Le Dialogue molieresque; Etude stylistique et  dramaturgique. (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1983), p. 445. Conesa's section devoted to gesture is valuable for this study, and w i l l be mentioned in relation to the plays studied in chapters two to four. 10. G. Donald Jackson in "Gestes, deplacements et texte dans trois pieces de Moliere", Papers on French Seventeenth  Century Literature, XI, 20(1984), 36-59, and Barbara C. Bowen in Les Caracteristiques essentielles de la farce  frangaise et leur survivance dans les annees 1550-1620, I l l i n o i s Studies in Language and Literature, No. 53., (Urbana: Univ. of I l l i n o i s Press, 1964). 11. Moliere, Oeuvres completes, ed. Robert Jouanny, Classiques Garnier, (Paris: Garnier, 1962), vol. 2, 1,5. Unless otherwise stated, a l l references in this thesis to Moliere's plays are to this edition', and w i l l be included in parentheses in the body of the text. 12. see 11,10, Le Bourgeois gentilhomme. 13. L'Esprit de la commedia dell'arte dans le theatre frangais, (Paris: Librairie theatrale and Neuchatel: La Baconniere, 1950), p. 36-7. 10 14. Attinger, p. 22. 15. Oeuvres & Critiques VI, 1(1981), p. 74. 16. Wadsworth, "Sources", p. 69. 17. Wadsworth, "Sources", p. 69. 18. Baty and Chavance refer to the influence of the Italian actors on Moliere, and they comment on his multidimensional role: Mais i l a mieux que tout cela: le don inne. Son physique..., ses sourcils noirs et forts, sa voix sourde aux inflections dures, la volubilite de son debit, qui se resolvait en une maniere de hoquet spasmodique, l u i fournissaient a eux seuls des effets comiques. Sa physionomie etait d'une extreme mobilite...Surout i l avait cette faculte ...de creer un personnage imaginaire en oubliant tout de l u i -meme. Cette faculte, on la voit s'etendre encore chez le metteur en scene. Avec l u i , c'est tout un monde qui s'anime.... ...[C]'est son genie d'acteur et de metteur en scene qui le pousse a se faire par surcroit auteur. Vie de l'art theatral des origines a nos jours, (Paris: Libraire Plon, 1932), p. 188-190. 19. p. 446. CHAPTER 1 Gustave Attinger 1s L'Esprit de la Commedia dell'Arte dans  le theatre frangais i s recognized as an authoritative source of information regarding the commedia dell'arte and French theatre. 1 2 j n hj_s f i r s t chapter, Attinger refers to the commedia dell'arte as the "commedia all'improvviso".^ This descriptive term implies an emphasis on performance and, logically, on the visual spectacle.^ in his f i r s t two chapters, Attinger develops the notion that " l a commedia dell'arte cree exactement un spectacle, chose pour etre vue, non pour etre reflechie ou vecue."5 That is to say, the logic or message of the play, traditionally conveyed by means of the plot (1'intrigue) is subordinate to the effects"of the often spontaneous visual spectacle.^ As Attinger points out, this is true of both the commedia erudita and the commedia  all'improvviso, although the two theatres make use of 1'intrigue to diverse ends. In the commedia erudita, "1'intrigue n'etait pas generalement une f i n en soi, mais l'occasion pour les auteurs de deployer leur comique verbal. As for the commedia dell'arte, "1'intrigue n'est qu'une occasion donnee au jeu de s ' e x p r i m e r . H e r e Attinger introduces what he considers to be a central fact of the commedia dell'arte; the importance of jeu. The principle components of jeu are physical/facial gesture, music, voice, props and decor. The most elemental of these are movement and 12 gesture, our primary concern in this thesis. The jeu is more than just a physical representation of the text. It is also a unifying force. In his concluding chapter entitled "Qu'est-ce que la commedia dell'arte?", Attinger writes: Au centre de ce theatre, i l y a done le jeu, qui n'est pas un simple interprete, mais un veritable createur de pensee. Le geste a l u i seul suggere beaucoup plus que le texte qu'il porte. Pour atteindre ce pouvoir, i l doit etre commande par une technique, une symbolique de 11 expression, qui tient a la fois de la statuaire et de l'acrobatie. Bref, la pensee, a peine evoquee, se concretise, prend corps, muscles et nerfs. Autour du jeu, tout le spectacle s'organise dans le meme esprit.^ The jeu determines not only the plot but also the characters. In his introduction to Giacomo Oreglia's book, Evert Sprinchorn judges types to be the essential component of the commedia dell'arte: "The essential fact about the Commedia is that each troupe consisted of a constellation of characters who remained the same regardless of the plot they found themselves embroiled i n . " - ^ It would seem that this undercuts Attinger's opinion of the importance of jeu. In fact, the jeu and types are so interrelated and interdependent that they are both essential facts of the commedia dell'arte tradition. This being the case, the tendency is to attempt to discuss them simultaneously. For the sake of c l a r i t y , we w i l l discuss the issue of types f i r s t , and then turn our attention again to jeu and performance style. The type, "[cet etre place a mi-chemin entre la realite et le symbole,] est sans doute la creation la plus originale et la plus precieuse de la commedia dell'arte."H There are several types in the commedia dell'arte tradition; for the purposes of subsequent chapters, we w i l l concentrate on the three basic types: the lovers, the old men and the servants. The lovers or innamorati were beautiful and elegant, and were required to follow s t r i c t rules of play. They never wore masks and were not allowed to gesticulate excessively; their characters were largely presented through rhetoric. The old men and the servants, on the other hand, wore masks, and were not so restricted in their play, although there were s t r i c t boundaries to their roles. Both Pantalone and the Dottore belonged to the category of old men. Within their category, the Doctor was characterized by his obesity and mincing gait-^^ and his verbal ' a b i l i t i e s ' . The Doctor's voluminous rhetoric, "dont chaque mot," according to Moland, "est une delicieuse anerie"-^ was burdened with garbled Latin and tautologies.-1-4 He did not hesitate to impose his verbosity as frequently as possible, being careful, however, not to lower himself to the level of the second zanni. In the case of Pantalone, comic effect was produced as a result of his seriousness and the contradictions of senility: he was both avaricious and extravagant, an authoritarian yet indulgent father. He usually made himself ridiculous by his lustful pursuit of much younger women. In this activity he often competed with his son. In the old men category, Pantalone held the principal role, and was usually accompanied by a servant or zanni.^ 14 It was the function of the f i r s t zanni to keep the plot moving. Traditionally, this type was acted by Brighella. He was li v e l y , amusing, resourceful, cunning, deceitful. Scappino was also a f i r s t zanni. Arlecchino, the second zanni, was ancillary to the plot; his function was to maintain the rhythm of the comedy. His was the most acrobatic of a l l the masks. He was originally a stupid, hungry, vengeful servant. Later, his character evolved to embody a series of contradictions, like Pantalone; he was lazy, yet a busybody; cunning and ingenuous; awkward and graceful.^ In studying the commedia dell'arte, i t i s often d i f f i c u l t to determine whether some aspects of i t are a cause or an effect. We have already alluded to the use of masks. Most of the characters wore them, "thus creating fixed types", according to Giacomo Oreglia.l^ The existence of types raises two questions of causality: was i t the case, as Oreglia suggests, that types were created as a result of the use of masks, or did characters wear masks because they were already fixed types, and the masks were merely a way of identifying the types and helping the actors stay in character? This problem remains to this day d i f f i c u l t to solve.1^ However, no matter what the answer to this question of causality, the existence of both masks and types placed the emphasis on the jeu, because they pointed to and allowed for improvisation in dialogue and gesture. In fact, with the existence of stock characters, improvisation was essential. This brings us to 15 the second, more basic question of causality: does the improvisational nature of the jeu necessitate stock characters, or did the stock characters necessitate improvised play? Whether a cause or an effect, without improvisation there is a great risk of the theatre becoming stale very quickly, and of a l l the plays resembling each other too closely. Indeed, the very survival of a tradition in which there are stock characters and standard plots rests on the quality of performance on the whole, and the a b i l i t y of the troupe to maintain through improvisation the interest of an audience as familiar with the conventions as the actors themselves.-^ As Sprinchorn indicates, when improvisation was no longer stressed, the commedia dell'arte eventually died out: "With the passing of time, more reliance was placed on stage decor and the impromptu element was reduced. With that the decline of the Commedia set in."20 That the plays performed in the commedia dell'arte tradition were largely improvised may be inferred from the form of the scripts or scenarios that we have of them. These scripts do not remotely resemble a modern script in which the dialogue i s completely provided for the actor. In the case of a playwright such as Tennessee Williams, for example, the text of the play is accompanied by elaborate stage and lighting directions for the director, as well as detailed directions of how the characters are to be interpreted by the actor. This i s to ensure that the play i s presented more or less as i t s creator conceived i t . In contrast, the creator of a commedia  dell'arte play would probably not have rig i d l y envisioned his work. It could even be said that the real creators of these plays were the actors of each performance, and that at every performance, the play was created anew. This does not necessarily supplant the importance of the 'author' of these plays, since he was frequently a member of the troupe, as was Moliere, their successor. Apart from the basic plot, the exits and entrances of the actors, and suggested bits of stage business, there are very few specific instructions in the scenarios, or canevas. These were the framework on which the commedia dell'arte troupe constructed their performances. It was the actors' responsibility to ensure that they managed their jeu in such a way that the performance continued smoothly, keeping within the limits of the scenario. As mentioned earlier, certain characters were entrusted with ensuring that the continuity of the comedy was respected. In this way a potentially unwieldy art form was kept in check just enough to entertain the audience and maintain i t s interest. Attinger considers the advantages of improvisation: " i l s sont visibles: c'est la primaute donnee au geste, dans un theatre dont 1'essence est le geste.21" one of the best-known performance techniques of the commedia predictably is rooted in gesture: the lazzo. Loosely described as a sight gag, the lazzo is extremely d i f f i c u l t to define, due to i t s very 17 nature. Because i t belongs to the realm of performance and improvisation, i t i s an ever-changing value that varies according to the a b i l i t i e s of the actors involved in i t and the reaction of the audience. Theatre scholars generally agree that lazzi were motivated by strong emotions and drives: hunger, fear, lust.22 Beatings, threats of physical violence, lustful caresses and vulgar food tricks are some of the most common of these l a z z i . Their basic function was to make the audience laugh. Sometimes, they were used extemporaneously to recapture the wandering attention of a restless crowd. These lazzi could be embarked upon with only a line or two of warning as a cue. Mel Gordon cites the example of the "Lazzo of Nightfall": If, in the middle of a performance, the Commedia manager noticed that the audience,...,was not responding well, he, in the character of Arlecchino, could begin a monologue, such as "Time f l i e s at the pace of a snail on the floodwater current that has just stopped. Why Midnight, you hourglass thief..." This would cue his actors to start setting up the Lazzo of Nightfall, where a l l the actors suddenly pretend that darkness has descended over them.23 Gordon also makes the point that this lazzo is both contrived and improvised. As this quote indicates, the players of the commedia dell'arte had a "tradition du geste"24 upon which to draw. This tradition provided not only bits of play, but also a certain structure in which the lazzi had to f i t neatly and emphasize or determine dialogue.25 » n y a done une logique qui preside a 1'elaboration d'un canevas...qui... sera une pure logique de metteur en scene."26 j n keeping with the semi-18 improvisat ional nature of many examples of th i s technique, l a z z i f requent ly included tai lor-made a l lu s ions i n dialogue or gesture to someone i n the audience, or to some current event. Of the r igours of improvised play Oreg l ia wr i tes : The in te rpre ta t i on of the scenario, just because i t was improvised, demanded from the actor a very accurate study i f h i s ro le and a vast knowledge of l a z z i , conce i t s , quips, s a l l i e s , monologues and the l i k e which formed the z iba ldoni (miscellaneous or 'gag books ' ) , which the comedians handed down from one generation to another. But what was most needful to a comedian of the Improvvisa was the pecu l i a r theatre i n t u i t i o n which enabled him to know how to support or feed, whether by words or by act ions, the other actors i n the drama.^7 In add i t ion , the actors were required to be i n very good phys ica l shape, as the s ty le of play was extremely gestura l and often very acrobat ic . The example i s often c i t e d of Scaramouche who, at an advanced age, was s t i l l able to give himself a s lap on the face with his foot . As th i s example impl ies , broad, expressive gestures invo lv ing the whole body were c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the commedia d e l l ' a r t e . Since the subt le t ie s of f a c i a l expression were often d i f f i c u l t to perceive because of the use of masks, and i n any event were frequent ly l o s t on the major ity of the audience due to the phys i ca l d i spo s i t i on of the stage, actors were required to use t h e i r whole bodies to enter ta in t he i r audience and portray the i r character. As Att inger says, "ce masque...les obl ige a grimacer avec tout leur corps." 2 ** I t i s not surpr i s ing that each type had a d i s t i n c t i v e performance s t y l e . These d i s t i n c t i o n s i n f ac t separate one type from another, s ince 19 types are a l l essentially "egoistes, couards et libidineux". 2 9 Due in part to the limitations of the stage, one of the conventions of typology is posturing. Pantalone, for example, often stood in silhouette so that his pointed beard and his bulging stomach clearly identified him to the audience, and were an instant source of amusement to an audience who knew what the presence of the character promised in the way of entertainment. Consequently, the lascivious expressions of Pantalone, or the antic posturings of Arlecchino become trademarks, allowing swift recognition of the various types by their audience. Thus, the commedia dell'arte was a theatre that required great energy, cleverness, and discipline in order to both improvise and present a coherent performance. However, the rewards of this style of acting were well worth the effort because, "...in the end, by contrast to the 'premeditated comedy' i t allowed the actor endless scope for invention and a spontaneous and natural freedom both in dialogue and mime and a wonderful sense of participation with the audience."30 In this discussion of the importance of the type and jeu, there is a common denominator: the company. Generally, a play is as good as the actors who interpret i t . In a theatrical tradition in which the emphasis is placed on improvised performance, the absolute importance of the individual a b i l i t i e s of the actors and their capacity to interact effectively i s self-evident. 20 C'est l e regne de l ' a c t e u r . I l e s t t o u t . E t , d " i n s t i n c t , dans l a d i v i n a t i o n de son a r t , i l met en oeuvre t o u s l e s elements q u i s o n t a l a base du t h e a t r e . A c r o b a t e , i l e n t r e m e l e son d i a l o g u e de pas, de s a u t s , de c a b r i o l e s , i l danse dans l e s int e r m e d e s e t dans de p e t i t s b a l l e t s q u i t e r m i n e n t l e s a c t e s . M u s i c i e n , i l c h a n t e en scene en s'accompagnant de l a g u i t a r e - - . . . . P e i n t r e , i l repand s u r ses costumes des c o u l e u r s q u i c h a t o i e n t . A u t e u r e n f i n , i l i m p r o v i s e son t e x t e . - * ! Thus, as i n modern f i l m and s t a g e , t h e r e were a l s o c e l e b r i t i e s i n t h e commedia d e l l ' a r t e . The name o f t h e g r e a t Scaramouche l i v e s on t o d a y , over t h r e e hundred y e a r s a f t e r h i s d e a t h , and i s synonymous w i t h t h e commedia d e l l ' a r t e . M o l i e r e knew t h e s e c e l e b r i t i e s , e s p e c i a l l y Scaramouche. I t seems r e a s o n a b l e t o su g g e s t t h a t t h i s c l o s e a s s o c i a t i o n o f M o l i e r e and t h e I t a l i a n a c t o r s i n t h e P e t i t - B o u r b o n t h e a t r e and t h e P a l a i s - R o y a l gave M o l i e r e a t a s t e f o r t h i s s t y l e o f performance. Wadsworth w r i t e s : "The I t a l i a n p l a y e r s i n P a r i s owe t h e i r g r e a t s u c c e s s t o t h e i r h i s t r i o n i c a b i l i t i e s . F i o r i l l i (Scaramouche) had amazing t a l e n t s f o r g e s t u r e s and g r i m a c e s ; he a c t e d w i t h o u t a mask and sometimes d i d whole scenes w i t h o u t s a y i n g a w o r d " 3 3 and l a t e r adds t h a t M o l i e r e "had e x t r a o r d i n a r y g i f t s as an a c t o r i n comic r o l e s . " 3 4 He was e s p e c i a l l y famous f o r h i s g e s t u r e - o r i e n t e d performance s t y l e and t h e m o b i l i t y o f h i s f a c e . I n a note t o S g a n a r e l l e , N e u f v i l l a i n e d e s c r i b e s t h e e x p r e s s i v e n e s s o f h i s f a c e and body and h i s a b i l i t y t o e n t e r t a i n w i t h o u t u s i n g any d i a l o g u e , j u s t as Scaramouche d i d : "son v i s a g e e t ses g e s t e s e x p r i m e n t s i b i e n l a j a l o u s i e , q u ' i l ne s e r a i t pas n e c e s s a i r e q u ' i l p a r l a t pour p a r a i t r e l e p l u s j a l o u x de to u s l e s hommes." 3^ I n an article entitled "Ce que Moliere doit a Scaramouche", H. Gaston Hall traces Moliere's debt to Scaramouche for the grimace.^6 "En regardant Scaramouche, Moliere, acteur et auteur, apprit son metier."37 pierre-Louis Duchartre also mentions the legacy of Scaramouche: "Moliere, ecrit du Tralage, estimoit fort Scaramouche pour ses manieres  naturelles; i l le voyait fort souvent et l u i a servi a former  les meilleurs acteurs de sa troupe. On l i t au bas du portrait de Scaramouche, grave par Vermeulen: II fut le maitre de  Moliere/ et la nature fut le sien."38 Moliere's indebtedness to the Italian theatre is widely recognized by literary c r i t i c s . Despite this virtual consensus of opinion, there have been relatively few studies that deal specifically with the links between Moliere and the Italian influence. There are basically three main texts and various articles on the subject. They span the last hundred and twenty years, with a concentration in the last few decades which suggests a possible revival of interest in this area. Chronologically, Louis Moland's Moliere et la comedie  italienne is the f i r s t major study on Moliere and the Italian tradition. In i t , Moland states: "Moliere [doit] principalement aux Italiens le mouvement de son theatre. L'action dramatique ne parait pas avoir ete tres-naturelle a 1'esprit francais qui a toujours ete fort enclin aux discours....En I t a l i e , au contraire,....la parole est absolument subordonnee et compte a peine."39 i n his book 22 Moland stresses the importance of jeu in Moliere's theatre, an observation upon which most c r i t i c s agree. Since the Italian tradition is characterized by the primacy of movement and the visual spectacle, which is not so much the French tendency according to Moland^, we do not hesitate to give great importance to the Italian influence, for, in Attinger's opinion, "Ce gout de 1 'action, du mouvement, qu'il a appris des Italiens, a revolutionne la scene f r a n c a i s e . W e have already cited Attinger several times in our discussion of the commedia dell'arte. His study also includes a section on Moliere and the commedia dell'arte, where he demonstrates that Moliere was formed to a certain extent by the s p i r i t of the commedia dell'arte, which he sums up with a sort of motto: "le jeu d'abord".^2 j_ n his estimation, the Moliere shaped by this tradition had a significant influence on the history of French theatre: "C'est avec Moliere, en Moliere, que la comedie italienne, plus specialement la commedia dell'arte, a servi la cause du theatre comique en France, l u i a en quelque sorte donne son envoi."^3 There are numerous examples of the influence of the Italian improvised theatre. As mentioned, the dialogue was usually written down, although there are instances in the text where "etc." and "en faisant divers gestes plaisants" imply the necessity to improvise; Moliere had a very l i v e l y performance style and valued the importance of movement; the structure of some of his plays were in the Italian style of 23 three acts; he frequently used conventional plots and characters; in some cases, the names of characters are also derived from Italian characters; for example Scappino became Moliere's famous rascal Scapin. Philip A. Wadsworth traces the evolution of the commedia dell'arte character to Moliere's scheming valet in his Moliere and the Italian Theatrical  Tradition, the most recent of the three main texts on this subject. He emphasizes that this evolution from the commedia  dell'arte to Moliere's theatre was not linear, and perhaps not so much an evolution as a parallel development with Moliere's a b i l i t i e s as a 'purely' French playwright.^4 It was a tribute to his genius that Moliere was able to work with both the Italian style plays and the French style plays throughout his career. Accordingly, Le Misanthrope, a five-act social satire in verse, is far more reliant on discourse than Les Fourberies  de Scapin, a typically Italian three-act prose comedy or farce, which is dependent largely on gesture for i t s comic effect. As we have seen, c r i t i c s writing about the commedia  dell'arte tradition generally emphasize jeu and types. Moliere stepped into this jeu/type-oriented tradition and the effects of his acquaintance with these aspects are evident in the performance style and literary, structural qualities of both his early plays and farces as well as his later plays. Although Moliere was greatly influenced by the Italians, he was a French playwright, and i t is only natural that he would also be influenced by what has been referred to as the "national genre of France". Therefore, any discussion of influences on Moliere would be incomplete without reference to the French farce tradition. 4^ Farce lies not merely chronologically at the origins of Moliere's t h e a t e r . T h e choice of this genre for his earliest dramatic attempts would indicate that Moliere f e l t an a f f i n i t y for i t s techniques and perceived therein a certain compatability with his own comic vision....it was to remain hidden behind many of the situations of the more serious plays only to burst forth where least expected. Gustave Lanson's "Moliere et la farce" is constantly quoted on this subject. 4^ Much later, Raymond Lebegue wrote an article of the same t i t l e in which he reproaches Lanson for having treated the Italian influence and French farce as one influence. Lebegue takes exception to the fact that Lanson refers to both influences as 'farce', when a distinction should be made between 'Italian farce' and 'French farce'. However, he says that Lanson "est encore p r o f i t a b l e " 4 8 and admits that "...1'exemple de Lanson qui mele a 1'influence de la farce celle de la commedia dell'arte, prouve qu'il est impossible de faire entre l'une et 1'autre une distinction bien tranchee." 4 9 This question of separating the effects of the commedia  dell'arte from those of French farce i s not an easy one to sort out, especially since the c r i t i c s do not seem to have come to a general consensus of opinion on this issue. For example, Barbara Bowen appears to believe that, to a certain degree, the distinction is chronological, farce losing in popularity as the Italians won the attentions of the audiences of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries^O, whereas Lebegue seems to believe that the commedia dell'arte repopularized French farce. In Le Theatre comique en France de Pathelin a Melite, Lebegue writes: ... l a Commedia dell'arte, dont le succes en France fut immediat, revela aux Francais un rythme rapide et un comique de gestes et de mots qui n'etait pas ' raffine, mais qui dechainait les rires. Elle contribua a la vogue grandissante de notre farce.^1 The sense one gets from both Lebegue and Bowen is that these two theatrical traditions entered into a pattern of increasing and diminishing popularity, which in turn determined the degree of influence each genre exercised on the other. The complexity of this question becomes apparent. The two genres cannot be treated as entirely distinct from each other since there was a certain amount of t r a f f i c between the two. In addition, the two theatres made use of similar materials.^2 Further, the two theatres had the same basic goal, which, as we have seen, was achieved largely by means of gesture and movement. [La commedia dell'arte] reintroduisait ce qui avait f a i t le succes de la farce...:le mouvement continu, la rapidite du rythme, les jeux de scene burlesques, les coups, les cabrioles, les gags, le gros comique. Aucun probleme social et moral n'etait pose: c'etait un theatre d'evasion, et. comme la Reine Mere, on r i a i t de tout son saoul.->3 This touches on the sociological reasons for the popularity of this type of theatre; i t was a means of escape. "Pour oublier les malheurs publics et prives de cette epoque, i l recourait a ces moyens d'evasion:... l a f a n t a i s i e debridee de l a commedia d e l l ' a r t e , quand les acteurs i t a l i e n s etaient en France, et l e comique v i s u e l et verbal des farces et des comedies farcesques. "^4 The d i s t i n c t i o n , then, between the commedia d e l l ' a r t e and French farce l i e s p a r t l y i n the 'escape route' that each of these genres o f f e r s . The commedia d e l l ' a r t e resorts to the world of fantasy; French farce operates i n the realm of r e a l i t y . ^ 5 Bowen perceives another fundamental difference between the I t a l i a n and French t r a d i t i o n s : M. Attinger a d i t que l a farce represente l e courant r e a l i s t e et terre-a-terre de l a pensee frangaise, et qu'elle est a 1'inverse du baroque et du f a n t a i s i s t e de l a commedia d e l l ' a r t e . Cette affirmation me semble d'une importance c a p i t a l e . Car les deux genres t r a i t e n t en un sens de l a meme matiere, situations conjugales et rapports serviteurs-maitres surtout, mais i l s sont pourtant tres d i f f e r e n t s . Les personnages de l a commedia d e l l ' a r t e , a cause meme de leur aspect f i g e et stereotype, ne se rattachent guere au monde r e e l , alors que les personnages de l a farce ont tous leur nom, leur metier, leur femme, et leur foyer....De l a commedia d e l l ' a r t e nous retenons surtout les types, tandis que nous nous souvenons des personnages de l a farce....^6 This d i s t i n c t i o n between characters i n the French farce t r a d i t i o n and types i n the commedia d e l l ' a r t e i s not shared by a l l c r i t i c s . However, i t i s the basis of her assertion that "dans les f a r c e s . . . l e cote humain est souligne."57 When c r i t i c s discuss how the two tr a d i t i o n s influenced each other, they generally mention only what French farce borrowed from the commedia dell'arte.58 "[Au] moins dans l e costume des farceurs et dans les jeux de scene, elle f i t des emprunts a la commedia dell'arte."59 Later in his book, Lebegue says that i t i s indisputable that the Italian theatre gave French farce female actors, masks, gesture, and lazzi.60 This i s significant for our study, since i t would appear that farce borrowed from, or had in common with the commedia dell'arte, a l l elements relevant to this thesis. However, Bernadette Rey-Flaud contradicts Lebegue when she asserts that "[ces] prouesses sceniques, qui faisaient le succes de Scaramouche et des mimes italiens...etaient...deja realisees par les interpretes frangais au Moyen Age, prouvant ainsi que, bien avant 1'arrivee des troupes italiennes...les comediens frangais exploitaient l'art mimique sans la contrainte d'un texte."61 Rather than becoming entangled in the battle between these two theatres, let us turn our attention to a brief study of the elements of farce relevant to this thesis. Barbara Bowen defines farces as "de petites pieces d'un comique superficiel qui t i r e ses effets surtout de gros jeux de scene et de rebondissements saugrenus de 1'action."62 of her description of farce, what interests us particularly i s her section on the jeux de scene which she defines as les jeux comiques physiques qui sont, ou specifiquement mentionnes dans une indication de scene (ce qui est assez rare), ou bien clairement entendus dans le texte (ce qui est tres souvent le cas pour le lecteur avise). Bien entendu, les acteurs ajoutaient de leur cru et a qui mieux mieux bourrades, coups de pied, renversements de chaises, gestes obscenes, etc., sans trop se soucier du rapport entre le geste et le texte.63 28 As we have seen, the commedia dell'arte gave many of i t s characteristics to French farce, so i t is not surprising that this description could just as easily apply to gesture in the Italian theatre. Lebegue describes movement in French farce: because the farces were very short, the action was simple and compact; "chaque sketch possede mouvement scenique et la verve burlesque d'une farce ou d'une commedia dell'arte."64 i t i s not d i f f i c u l t to see why Lanson considered these two theatres as one. At the end of his art i c l e , Lebegue rhetorically asks why Moliere borrowed so often from farce, and he answers: "[La farce] l u i fournissaient quantite de types et de procedes prets a servir de nouveau. Acteur, i l a imite le jeu expressif et 1'action des farceurs frangais et des comediens italiens."65 That i s to say, Moliere borrowed the same thing from both traditions, which is not surprising, since apparently they had approximately the same things to offer. Anne G i l l points out that "[the] f i r s t task of the farceur was to present a diverting outward show of gesture, attitude, f a c i a l expression, and manner of speech, and i t was chiefly from the Italian actors of the commedia dell'arte that Moliere learned how to do t h i s . " 6 6 Therefore Moliere, like French farceurs before him (Tabarin and Bruscambille), inherited his technique from the Italians, and his attitude from French f a r c e . 6 7 Whichever tradition technically gave him each element of his theatre i s impossible to say. Fortunately, 29 this lack of certainty, while intriguing, i s not crucial to this discussion since we are not wholly concerned with his sources, but also the practical application of what he borrowed to some of his plays. To sum up the confusion of influences, Lebegue writes: ...de Jodelle a Moliere, l'histoire de la comedie frangaise, loin d'etre rectiligne, est faite d'apports successifs et de croisements. Tradition nationale de la farce, imitation de la comedie latine et de la comedie italienne adaptees aux moeurs frangaises, emprunts a la comedia espagnole, tout cela aboutira a Moliere. Sur ces elements heterogenes i l mettra sa marque personnelle, et i l saura concilier ensemble la verite des moeurs et des caracteres et la vis comica.68 In the preceding quotation, Lebegue touches on the issue of the evolution of genres which is evident in Moliere's theatre. In the "Notice" to Sganarelle, Couton writes: "...tous les personnages sont en train d'echapper au type; c'est-a-dire que la comedie est en train de se degager de la farce. "*>9 j n this case, the comentator does not consider farce characters as such, but as types, and he sets up an equation between type and farce, and between "personnage" and "comedie".70 This evolution and equation is analogous to that of Moliere's use of gesture and Attinger's equation of lazzi and Italian theatre, and of significant, meaningful gesture and Moliere's comedies: Le lazzi pur, gratuit, qui ne revele pas vraiment un caractere, qui n'est qu'une espece d'exaltation du comique, ne l'interesse pas...Les modifications operees par Moliere visent, en resume, a concentrer tout l'interet sur le jeu et sur une gesticulation traduisant des caracteres....il s'attache...a transformer des lazzi parfois sans consequence en 30 traits de caractere. 1 L For a l l the similarities between the theatre of the actor-director-playwright Moliere and existing influences, Moliere had his own originality. Marie-Odile Sweetser speaks for many c r i t i c s when she writes: "[On envisage] la creation molieresque dans une perspective organique: ce qui l u i a donne naissance, l'a nourrie et comment ell e est devenue e l l e -meme."72 Attinger speaks of the genius of Moliere in relation to the commedia dell'arte: Son genie ne pouvait demeurer longtemps dans le cadre etroit de la commedia dell'arte. II l'a done elargi, parfois demesurement, sans jamais le briser vraiment....il accomplit l'union, impossible jusqu'ici dans son pays, entre la realite et les conventions du theatre. II en t i r e un spectacle bien different de la commedia dell'arte,.., frangais en somme, mais tempere par les plus saines traditions italiennes. 7^ Moliere also gives farce his own stamp: " i l est original, en augmentant 1'interet psychologique et en donnant une legon morale...ses personnages ont plus d'epaisseur, de complexite que ceux des farces." 7 4 It i s the mark of a true genius to be able to take old materials, to renew them, and in so doing, to change the direction of a nation's theatre. It i s appropriate to end this chapter with a quote from Lanson's "Moliere et la farce", since the following chapter w i l l deal with two farces attributed to Moliere which exemplify many of the ways in which both the Italian and French farce influences manifested themselves in his theatre: 31 ...le vrai Moliere est celui qu'un tableau de la Comedie-Frangaise nous montre au milieu de tous les farceurs i l l u s t r e s , italiens et frangais....Moliere figure en compagnie d'Arlequin et de Gros-Guillaume, de Scaramouche et de Guillot-Gorju. Voila ses maitres; et voila d'ou i l sort. II est assez grand pour ne pas rougir de ses origines.^5 32 NOTES 1. It i s "the standard work on i t s influence in France" according to Philip A. Wadsworth in his article "Studies of Moliere and his sources", Oeuvres & Critiques, VI, I (1981), p. 72. 2. I wish to acknowledge my debt to Attinger for much of the material in this f i r s t chapter, as well as the following c r i t i c s : Oreglia, Mic, Wadsworth for the commedia dell'arte section, and Bowen, Lebegue, Lanson for French farce. 3. p. 13 4. Attinger describes the commedia dell'arte as "un spectacle ou 1'element visuel egale et depasse 1'element verbal", p. 36. He stresses that in this tradition gesture i s not used to express psychological nuances of the characters. "Ce refus de la commedia d'entrer plus avant dans 1'ame des hommes, pour y toucher la profondeur de leurs vices, permet a la passion de s'epanouir autour d'eux; a t e l point que ce ne sont plus meme les hommes en proie a la passion, qui s'agitent devant nous, mais les passions elles-memes,...on se rend compte du role que l'art a joue pour unir, au moyen du geste, le symbole et la vie. Le type est la parfaite expression de cette union." (p. 37). Types w i l l be discussed later in this chapter. 5. p. 21 6. "Auteur et acteurs ne cherchent qu'a faire r i r e ; i l s visent au gros comique...." Lebegue, Le Theatre comique, p. 136. 7. p. 28 8. p. 29 9. p. 433. 10. The Commedia dell'Arte, trans, by Lovett F. Edwards, (London: Methuen, 1968), p. x i . 11. Attinger, p. 434. 12. Oreglia, p. 86. 13. Moliere et la comedie italienne, (Paris: Didier, 1867), p. 12. 33 14. Oreglia, p. 84. 15. Oreglia, pp. 78-80. 16. Oreglia, Chapters 4 and 5. 17. Oreglia, p. 1. 18. Although relevant an interesting to our thesis, problem, i t is not s t r i c t l y and therefore we w i l l have to forego any further inquiry into this question at present. 19. In his book, Lebegue comments: "...les pieces les plus nombreuses et qui ont f a i t 1'impression la plus durable, ce sont les comedies improvisees." Le theatre comique en  France de Pathelin a Melite, Connaissance des lettres, (Paris: Hatier, 1972), p. 139. 20. in Oreglia, p. x i i . 21. Attinger, p. 57. 22. Attinger, p. 49. 23. Lazzi: The Comic Routines of the Commedia dell'Arte, Performing Arts Journal Publications: New York, 1983, p. 5. 24. Attinger, p. 47. 25. Attinger, p. 47. 26. Attinger, p. 29. 27. p. 12. 28. p. 37. 29. Attinger, p. 39. 30. Oreglia, p. 13. 31. Baty et Chavance, p. 179. 33. Italian Influence, p. 104. 34. Italian Influence, p. 104. 35. Moliere, Oeuvres completes, ed. Georges Couton, Bibliotheque de la Pleiade, (Paris: Gallimard, 1971), n. b, p. 1229. 34 36. H. Gaston Hall, in Melanges a la memoire de Franco Simone, (Geneve: Slatkine, 1981), 257-269. 37. Attinger, p. 434. 38. La Commedia dell'Arte, rev. ed., (Paris: Editions d'Art et Industrie, 1955), p. 26. 39. Moland, p. 5-6. Alfred Simon supplies an explanation for the superior a b i l i t y of the Italian actors in Paris for mime: Since they did not speak French, they were forced to make themselves understood by means of gesture. "Les Rites elementaires de la comedie molieresque", Cahiers de  la Compagnie Madeleine Renaud-Jean-Louis-Barrault, 13 (1956), p. 19. 40. Duchartre concurs: "...les Italiens apportent en France le mouvement, l'euberance, 1'expression intense, la vie, alors que notre comedie tend a se figer dans des subtilites psychologiques en verre etire, des beaux sentiments en stuc, des histoires de point d'honneur gonflees comme des vessies et souvent helas, aussi vides qu'elles", La Commedia dell'Arte p. 26. 41. p. 45. 42. p. 114. 43. p. 114. 44. Ch. VI, "From Scappino to Scapin". It is perhaps inaccurate ever to speak of Moliere as a 'purely' French playwright. Wadsworth believes that "[in] many instances i t i s better to speak of an inheritance than of influences and sources. The motifs, the techniques, the stagecraft of the Italian theater were part of Moliere's accumulated cultural and professional experience, a sort of foundation for his genius to build on" (p. 24). No doubt Wadsworth would agree that this would also apply to the influence of French farce, had his study included a consideration of that source. It would no doubt be more prudent to say that the influences which affected him manifested themselves to varying degrees from play to play, and therefore the 'flavour' of his theatre varied accordingly. 45. Raymond Lebegue says that in 1660, Somaize dubs Moliere "le premier farceur de France", and in 1670 Moliere i s pictured in the famous tableau of Italian and French comedians and farceurs. He writes that "...les petites comedies, et meme les grandes, qui sont dues a Moliere 35 auteur, presentent de nombreuses ressemblances avec les farces". "Moliere et la farce", Etudes sur le theatre frangais II, (Paris: Nizet, 1978), pp. 55-6. 46. Anthony A. Ciccone, The Comedy of Language, Four Farces  by Moliere, (Studia Humanitatis, Potomac: Jose Porrua Turanzas, 1980), pp. 61-2. 47. La Revue de Paris, Paris, 1901, pp. 129-153. 48. Moliere, p. 50. 49. p. 55 50. p. 3. 51. p. 134. 52. see Barbara C. Bowen, Les Caracteristiques essentielles  de la farce frangaise et leur survivance dans les annees  1550-1620, (Urbana: University of I l l i n o i s Press, 1964), p. 81-2. 53. Lebegue, Le Theatre comique, pp. 142-4. 54. Lebegue, Le Theatre comique, p. 134. 55. Bowen qualifies this association of farce with reality: "Mais pouvons-nous dire pour autant que les farces sont realistes? Ou ne faudrait-il pas plutot parler de vraisemblance? Nous savons que ce mot n'existait ni pour les farceurs ni pour leur public, mais n'exprime-t-il pas tout de meme leur pensee? Les uns et les autres exigent une representation de la vie qui se rattache suffisarament a la realite pour qu'ils s'y reconnaissent, mais s'en ecarte suffisamment pour satisfaire leur besoin d'evasion." (p. 82). 56. Bowen, pp. 81-2. 57. p. 26. 58. In the case of Barbara Bowen, she mentions what French farce did not borrow from the Italians: " i l est...plus qu'injuste de parler d'obscenite comme caracteristique des farces; e l l e l'est bien moins que des comedies italiennes du XVIeme siecle, qui font parade de details erotiques ou stercoraires, avec une complaisance fastidieuse sinon desagreable." (p. 15). Judging from a study of Moliere's plays, he does not seem to have adopted this particular characteristic of the Italian performance tradition to any great extent. 36 59. Lebegue, Le Theatre comique, p. 169. 60. pp. 144-6. 61. La Farce, ou La Machine a r i r e , Theorie d'un genre  dramatique 1450-1550, (Geneve: Droz, 1984), p. 198. 62. p. 3. 63. p. 35. 64. Le Theatre comique, p. 56. 65. p. 67. 66. "'The Doctor in the Farce' and Moliere", French  Studies, II, 2(1948), p. 125. 67. Bowen says of these French farceurs: "...dans leur attitude ces hommes paraissent aussi pres de leurs devanciers frangais, que par leurs procedes i l s se rapprochent des Italiens." (p. 188). 68. Lebegue, Le Theatre comique, p. 179. 69. Moliere, Oeuvres completes, La Pleiade, vol. 1, pp. 295-6. This implies that farce was a forerunner to 'comedie', a plausible notion, although some c r i t i c s disagree with i t ; see Rey-Flaud, p. 295. 70. Anne G i l l i s primarily concerned with Moliere-farceur in her article "'The Doctor in the Farce' and Moliere", French Studies, II, 2(1948), 101-25. However, she also alludes to Moliere the transformer of farce into comedie, when she talks about how his characters have richer relevance and human impulses, p. 125. 71. Attinger, pp. 122-137. 72. "Domaines de la critique molieresque", Oeuvres & Critiques VI, I (1981), p. 9. 73. p. 163. 74. Lebegue, "Moliere et la farce", pp. 66-7. The author cites the example of Sganarelle in Le Medecin malgre l u i . 75. Lanson, p. 153. CHAPTER 2 In Moliere, homme de theatre, Rene Bray discusses the playwright's use of farce, and the success that Moliere's troupe experienced when i t presented farces as opposed to i t s relative failure as a group of serious tragedians. He points out that Moliere's farces were very well-received in the provinces and that two of his farces--Le Docteur amoureux and Les Precieuses ridicules—provided his f i r s t successes in Paris. Finally recognizing his a b i l i t i e s as a comic actor and playwright, he abandoned tragedy and concentrated on the more popular comedies and farces.-'- The two farces examined in this chapter are thought to have been part of Moliere's repertory before he came to Paris. They were also performed in Paris after full-length plays in order to end the programme of entertainment on a light-hearted note. Le Medecin volant and La Jalousie du Barbouille are the earliest farces usually attributed to Moliere. Although the authorship of these two one-act farces i s often disputed, there seems to be enough evidence of similarities between them and the more developed, three-act Le Medecin malgre l u i and George Dandin to warrant a place for them in Moliere's comic theatre. As Anthony A. Ciccone points out, "Le Medecin volant and La Jalousie du Barbouille were Moliere's f i r s t attempts at farce and as such present important material for a study of the origins and rudiments of his future comic situations." 2 Logically, as early works these plays should bear many marks 38 of the Italian theatre and French farce, which so strongly influenced Moliere's theatre. One obvious characteristic of both plays is the spareness of the text. Indeed, many have c r i t i c i z e d the decision to include these plays in the corpus of Moliere's works because they judge them to be of inferior literary merit. However, Robert Jouanny rightly praises La Jalousie du Barbouille: "...le mecanisme du comique se deroule avec souplesse, rigueur, dans une sorte de purete que souligne encore le caractere depouille du texte...C'est une demonstration parfaitement i n t e l l i g i b l e d'un jeu de t h e a t r e . N . A. Peacock observes: "Avant 1'article de Lanson [1901], les critiques dedaignaient les simples jeux de theatre qui avaient occupe une place considerable pendant toute la carriere de Moliere." 4 These c r i t i c s did not have the benefit of an • appreciation of the importance of performance in Moliere's theatre which c r i t i c s subsequent to Lanson enjoy. Dismissively, the early c r i t i c s likened these plays to the canvasses of the Italian theatre.^ They were correct in their comparison, but they missed the significance of their remark. As in the Italian tradition, the use of a canvas indicated improvisation. Moliere refused to publish these two plays because "les repliques trouvees dans la chaleur du jeu ne furent fixees qu'ensuite, apres l'epreuve du public." 6 That is to say, the manuscripts of these plays, prepared for publication by observers, were intended as performance texts 39 rather than l i t e r a r y ones. Indeed, Attinger q u a l i f i e s La  Jalousie du Barbouille as "cette piecette e c r i t e toute entiere pour l a g e s t i c u l a t i o n . " 7 The value of these early farces i s that they allow us to glimpse Moliere's performance technique without having to contend with such additional aspects of his f u l l - l e n g t h comedies as complex characters, a more involved plot , well-developed s o c i a l s a t i r e , a moral context, and so on. 8 They c l e a r l y demonstrate that he placed great importance on gesture and movement, which, as we have seen, relates to the v i s u a l spectacle: "...on trouve chez Moliere, surtout dans ses oeuvres du debut, certains procedes qui prouvent que l a notion de spectacle reste au premier plan: les mouvements de masses dans La Jalousie, au milieu et a l a f i n de l a piece; l a conduite du Medecin volant, ou 1'element v i s u e l est preponderant, et dont le texte, du moins dans l a seconde partie...n'a quasi point d'importance." 9 In addition to the s t o r y l i n e for La Jalousie du  Barbouille, the I t a l i a n theatre gave to the play the t r a d i t i o n a l costume of the Doctor, the scantiness of the int r i g u e, such gestures as the lazzo of the Doctor's e x i t i n scene 6,^ -0 a r K} the character of the Barbouille. This l a s t item i s problematic: Jouanny i s convinced that t h i s character i s a descendant of Pedrolino i n the commedia d e l l ' a r t e t r a d i t i o n , H whereas Peacock says that " [ l e ] Barbouille, c'est l'Enfarine des farceurs de 1'Hotel de Bourgogne, l e bouffon frangais tache non pas de blanc mais de fumee ou bien de l i e de vin."lz He also says that "le Barbouille...jaloux et trompe"!^ is the typical "mari confondu" of French farce. In keeping with the mixture of the Italian and French influences on Moliere, La Jalousie du Barbouille borrows i t s theme of marital conflict from the latter, and the strategy of the locked door from the former. In the opening scene of the farce, there are both implied gestures and planned ones. The Barbouille delivers a monologue in which he paints a picture of his discontent with his wife, and he proposes a number of violent ways of getting r i d of her. These are the projected gestures. However, he no doubt accompanies them with expressions of anger at the thought of his wife, and pure rapture at the many ways in which he could be free of her. Depending on whether the character i s masked or wearing white make-up, many of these gestures would probably be f a c i a l . The punctuation of this passage gives a clue to i t s movement: there are several exclamation marks and points of suspension which indicate the caracter's agitation. The use of the pronouns "je" and "tu" to address himself suggest that the Barbouille may quite l i t e r a l l y be having a conversation with himself, a device which could provide ample opportunity for comic effect. We w i l l see this technique of one character playing two or more roles virtually simultaneously in both Le Medecin volant and Les Fourberies de Scapin. In his despair, the Barbouille asks the advice of the Doctor, a stock character who is considered wise but is more pompous than anything else. His opening remark relates to gesture, or rather, the absence of gesture: "II faut que tu sois bien mal appris, bien lourdaud, et bien mal morigene, mon ami, puisque tu m'abordes sans oter ton chapeau" (scene 2). One assumes that the Barbouille hastens to rectify the situation as he explains his distraction. Instead of helping, the Doctor launches into an etymology of "galant homme". One imagines perplexed f a c i a l expressions from the Barbouille and various pedantic gestures such as eyes raised to the ceiling and strutting as the Doctor lectures his ignorant interlocutor. These pedantic gestures continue as the Doctor counts off the ten proofs of his 'doctorness'. Jouanny notes that "[le] Docteur etend ses doigts pour compter, un peu comme dans ce jeu i t a l i e n ou deux partenaires jettent simultanement leur poing en partie ferme et criant le chiffre des doigts qu'ils supposent que la main adverse laisse leves."-^ During this lengthy harangue the Barbouille repeatedly tries to interrupt, to bring the Doctor back to the question of what he should do with his wife, but the Doctor pays no attention. The Barbouille eventually quits, exasperation and growing consternation apparent in his every move. This game of interruption i s a frequent technique in Moliere's plays. It is sometimes used consciously as a way for one character to infuriate the other, as in the case of Dorine and Orgon in Tartuffe (11,2); sometimes one character unwittingly cuts another short by pursuing an idea without noticing the other character's attempts to contribute. In both cases, the result i s humorous. Conesa categorizes the play of the impatient listener, in this case the Barbouille, as "[des] geste[s] de remplacement" and points out the significance of these gestures: "Ses mimiques sont indispensables, car elles permettent au spectateur de suivre son evolution psychologique tout au long de la tirade; les diverses attitudes du locuteur, suggerees par la structure thematique, rythmique ou tonale de l'enonce, impliquent, en regard, diverses attitudes de 1'interlocuteur."l^ When the Doctor f i n a l l y finishes his lesson, the Barbouille unleashes the anger that has been building during this scene. We w i l l see this process of gathering energy which culminates in an 'explosion', or release of tension, frequently in this thesis. Rather than physical movement, this is a more structural, literary form of movement: the movement or shape of a scene, and, on a larger scale, of the play, in which there i s the energy of building conflict, and the f i n a l release of the denouement. Naturally, the type and frequency of gesture is linked to this pattern. Repetition—the ten proofs of doctoralness—is a constant comic technique and i t assumes many forms. Garapon refers to the effect produced by the repetition of words, and the same effect i s achieved by repeated gesture: "La repetition des memes mots dans deux ou plusieurs repliques successives est drole en elle-meme; mais elle est aussi le signe de 1'opposition que manifeste un personnage a l'idee ou a la decision qu'on l u i propose, en bref la marque de la resistance au mouvement."^^ In the case of the second scene of La  Jalousie du Barbouille, the Doctor doggedly reveals his ten points, resisting a l l of the Barbouille's attempts to move him out of his self-involved pedantry. He introduces and concludes his lecture with the statement: "je suis une, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf, et dix fois docteur". Coupled with his faulty logic and tautologies, this accumulation creates an overwhelming impression of redundance and stagnation which i s stronger than the Barbouille's repeated attempts to move forward by discussing his problem with the Doctor. As we have just seen, this serves to enrage the Barbouille, who expresses his anger by c r i t i c i z i n g the Doctor, and mimicking his gesture of counting on his fingers: "Un, deux, trois, quatre". This i s punctuated by "ha, ha, ha!" which expresses his anger and contempt, and i s perhaps accompanied by the Barbouille shaking his f i s t in the Doctor's face. Another comic technique we see in this play is that of reversal. As with repetition, i t also assumes many forms. Reversal implies movement, either l i t e r a l or figurative; movement in turn implies direction, and a change of direction leads to reversal. In this scene, the Barbouille stops in mid-tirade, presumably as the result of a move to leave the stage or some other gesture of indifference or offense taken by the Doctor, and his tone changes radically from aggressive to apologetic. As a gesture of good w i l l and encouragement, the Barbouille offers the Doctor money, which offends him further. A stage direction indicates that he expresses his indignation in a farcic a l l y coarse way "[en] troussant sa robe derriere son cul" (scene 2 ) . The Doctor then launches into another drawn-out speech. The element of repetition in the form of accumulation is exploited to the fulle s t in this speech. Structurally, this reversal sequence puts the Barbouille back in his i n i t i a l position of frustrated listener. This speech marks the resumption of the repetition routine and i t halts the movement the Barbouille hoped to instigate by paying the Doctor. Before he can attempt to recoup, the Doctor escapes by stalking off stage. This is the f i r s t of many exits in the play. Determined to motivate the Doctor to help him, the Barbouille announces "Je m'en vais courir apres l u i " a decision which clears the stage for the next scene. The exits and entrances of the characters are frequently announced by a statement such as the Barbouille's in scene 2 and often instigate a change in tone. This is the case in scene 3 when the Barbouille 1 s untimely return prompts Cathau's warning to Angelique and Valere: "Ah! changez de discours: voyez porte-guignon qui arrive" (scene 3 ) . Due to the prospect of discovery by the Barbouille, Angelique and Valere demonstrate f e a r by such g e s t u r e s as q u i c k l y l o o k i n g f o r a p l a c e to hide and f a c i a l e x p r e s s i o n s of alarm and p a n i c . Unable to escape, they switch from l o v e r s ' t a l k and gestures to more n e u t r a l ground i n order to deceive her husband. The B a r b o u i l l e i s not d e c e i v e d , however, and the b a t t l e begins. A f t e r V a l e r e has served h i s u s e f u l n e s s as c a t a l y s t , he d i s a p p e a r s . The other p l a y e r s a r r i v e i n scenes 5 and 6 to attempt to s e t t l e the f i g h t , but o n l y succeed i n c o n t r i b u t i n g t o the n o i s e and a c t i v i t y on stage. The Doctor's f i r s t speech i n scene 6 i s r i d d l e d w i t h q u e s t i o n s and exclamations: "Qu'est c e c i ? q u e l desordre! q u e l l e q u e r e l l e ! q u e l grabuge! q u e l vacarme! q u e l b r u i t ! q u e l d i f f e r e n d ! q u e l l e combustion! Qu'y a - t - i l , Messieurs? Qu'y a - t - i l ? Qu'y a - t - i l ? . . . " I t i s easy to p i c t u r e him running from person to person, attempting to calm them, although h i s exclamations and movement d e f e a t h i s purpose. Far from succeeding, the Doctor, who i s supposed to be the wise mediator, once agai n manages to enrage the B a r b o u i l l e and the others by the same annoying p e d a n t i c c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s he d i s p l a y e d i n scene 2. The r e p e t i t i o n of the comic technique of i n t e r r u p t i o n serves to e s c a l a t e the energy of the p l a y . The B a r b o u i l l e even announces "J'enrage" and begs the Doctor to l i s t e n t o him, but the Doctor perseveres w i t h : "Audi, quaeso, a u r a i t d i t C i c e r o n " . At t h i s p o i n t , the B a r b o u i l l e ' s p a t i e n c e runs out e n t i r e l y and, w i t h an unconscious calembour which u n d e r l i n e s h i s ignorance and expresses h i s rage, chaos r e i g n s : 46 Oh! ma f o i , s i se rompt, se casse, ou s i se brise, je ne m'en mets guere en peine; mais tu m'ecouteras, ou je te vais casser ton museau doctoral; et qui diable done est ceci? (Le Barbouille, Angelique, Gorgibus, Cathau,  Villebrequin parlent tous a la fois, voulant dire la  cause de la querelle, et le Docteur aussi, disant  que la paix est une belle chose, et font un bruit  confus de leur voix; et pendant tout le bruit, le  Barbouille attache le Docteur par le pied, et le  f a i t tomber; le Docteur se doit laisser tomber sur  le dos; le Barbouille l'entraine par la corde qu'il  l u i a attachee au pied, et, en 1'entrainant, le  Docteur doit toujours parler, et compter par ses  doigts toutes ses raisons, comme s i l n'etait point a  terre, alors qu'il ne paroit plus.) (scene 6) This type of extensive stage direction is extremely rare and precious to a student of gesture because i t demonstrates the degree of movement characteristic of this type of theatre, and consequently of Moliere's early theatre. It gives a f u l l description of the lazzo of the Doctor's departure, including such explicit directions to the actor as "le Docteur doit se laisser tomber" and " [ i l ] doit toujours parler". It also calls for much improvised dialogue. This scene is i n f i n i t e l y more amusing because the Doctor persists with his pedantic ways, once again repeating the jeu of the ridiculous proof even as he i s l i t e r a l l y dragged off stage. One's curiosity is piqued: how many other stage directions, i f they had been more explicit, would have revealed the wealth of comic play evident in this unusually descriptive one? After the total confusion of scene 6, there are four short scenes which lead into the locked door sequence. In scene 9, the Barbouille returns home shortly after his wife has stolen away to a dance. He enters his house. Off stage, 47 he d i s c o v e r s her absence and l o c k s the door. There i s p o t e n t i a l here f o r some stage p l a y : perhaps the audience can hear the b o l t b e i n g thrown i n t o p l a c e , and can see the B a r b o u i l l e i n the window w a i t i n g f o r Angelique's r e t u r n . In the f o l l o w i n g scene she does come back. Again w i t h gestures of f e a r a t the pr o s p e c t of d i s c o v e r y , she r a t t l e s the door, then pounds on i t , c a l l i n g f o r Cathau. Her husband appears i n the window above her, h i s p o s i t i o n on stage a v i s u a l r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of h i s having the upper hand a t the moment. T h i s i s a f e a t u r e of f a r c e , and i n her study, Barbara Bowen d i s c u s s e s more g e n e r a l l y the power s t r u g g l e between husband and w i f e : Le menage e s t un c o n f l i t e t e r n e l pour d e c i d e r q u i e s t l e p l u s f o r t , q u i s e r a l e maitre e t q u i s e r a l e s e r v i t e u r . . . . L a v i e in t i m e e s t done un balancement p e r p e t u e l e n t r e deux p o s i t i o n s : 1'homme-maitre ou l a femme-maitre....La s t r u c t u r e generale des f a r c e s e s t d i c t e e par une tournure d ' e s p r i t q u i v o i t l e s choses "en grand", e t q u i remarque s u r t o u t dans l a v i e ce balancement e n t r e l a p o s i t i o n , l a s i t u a t i o n , de deux p e r s o n n a g e s . ^ In the weaker p o s i t i o n , Angelique pleads w i t h her husband t o l e t her i n , showering him wit h terms of endearment accompanied no doubt by c o n t r i t e , tender g e s t u r e s . Unmoved, the B a r b o u i l l e says: "Ah, c r o c o d i l e ! ah, serpent dangereux! t u me ca r e s s e s pour me t r a h i r " (scene 11). I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g t h a t he uses the verb " c a r e s s e r " , a verb which i n i t s l i t e r a l sense d e s c r i b e s a g e s t u r e . T h i s i m p l i e s t h a t d i a l o g u e may a l s o have a g e s t u r a l q u a l i t y t o i t , a chieved through tone of v o i c e and c h o i c e of vocabulary. 48 When Angel ique 1 s f i r s t t a c t i c f a i l s , she resorts to threatening to commit su i c ide . When the Barboui l le does not be l ieve her, she ca r r i e s her threat further by showing him a kn i fe , but he cautions her: "Prends garde, v o i l a qui est bien po in tu " , and refuses to descend from his superior po s i t i on . A stage d i r e c t i o n informs the reader that Angelique pretends to stab her se l f . This i s a conventional gag i n French fa rce , and i s used by Moliere l a te r i n George Dandin. Her husband i s not sure whether or not she i s shamming, and h is face and actions success ive ly express uncerta inty, surpr i se , and perhaps growing concern, or fear . He descends with a candle. The use of th i s prop i s important because i t enables Angelique to s l i p by the Barboui l le i n the dark, outside the c i r c l e of l i g h t cast by the candle, to enter the house and bo l t the door. By means of her movement of deception, she i s able to trade places with her husband. This reversa l places her i n a superior pos i t i on to her husband, and the beginning of the scene i s comical ly replayed. He threatens her with phys ica l v io lence, and i n return, she threatens him on behalf of her father Gorgibus. In th i s f a rce , acts of v io lence such as beatings are threatened rather than performed. We w i l l see actua l beatings i n Le Medecin malgre l u i and Les Fourberies de  Scapin. The reso lu t ion of the play i s achieved with some d i f f i c u l t y . V i l l eb requ in and Gorgibus i n s i s t that the Barboui l le and Angelique make up, and Gorgibus urges h is 49 d a u g h t e r " A l l o n s , ma f i l l e , embrassez v o t r e m a r i , e t soyez bons amis" (scene 1 2 ) . T h i s k i s s i s a v i s u a l r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e r e s o l u t i o n ; t h e c o u p l e were a p a r t a t t h e b e g i n n i n g , and ar e u n i t e d a t t h e end. The "balancement" r e f e r r e d t o e a r l i e r has r e a c h e d a s t a s i s . However, t h i s k i s s was g i v e n g r u d g i n g l y , t h e c o u p l e ' s c o n f l i c t u n r e s o l v e d . The au d i e n c e r e a l i z e s t h a t t h i s c e a s e f i r e i s temporary; t h i s awareness i s s a t i s f y i n g , s i n c e i t approaches r e a l l i f e and i t l e a v e s t h e s p e c t a t o r s r e a d y f o r a s e q u e l . A l l t h a t i s l e f t t o c o n c l u d e t h e f a r c e i s t h e D o c t o r ' s r e a p p e a r a n c e . T h i s t i m e he i s t h e one i n t h e window. A s t a g e d i r e c t i o n d e s c r i b e s h i s a t t i r e : "en bonnet de n u i t e t en c a m i s o l e " (scene 13 ) . I r o n i c a l l y , a l t h o u g h he p h y s i c a l l y o c c u p i e s t h e s u p e r i o r p o s i t i o n , he has no s o c i a l s t a t u s because he no l o n g e r wears t h e h a t t h a t denotes h i s a u t h o r i t y . The D o c t o r i s no l o n g e r sought a f t e r f o r h i s o p i n i o n , and i s i n f o r m e d t h a t " t o u t l e monde e s t d ' a c c o r d " . He i s l e f t a l o n e , and t h e p l a y e r s a r e c a l l e d t o a meal: " A l l o n s - n o u s - e n souper ensemble, nous a u t r e s " (scene 1 3 ) . T h i s i s a t y p i c a l e n d i n g t o a f a r c e . 1 9 Such p l a y s were f r e q u e n t l y p l a c e d a f t e r a more s e r i o u s , f u l l - l e n g t h drama, and t h i s c a l l t o f e a s t and make merry was extended n ot o n l y t o t h e p l a y e r s w i t h i n t h e p l a y , b u t a l s o t o t h e s p e c t a t o r s , s i n c e t h e d r a m a t i c e n t e r t a i n m e n t was u s u a l l y f o l l o w e d by p r i v a t e banquets. The p r e m i s e o f Le Medecin v o l a n t i s e n t i r e l y c o n v e n t i o n a l 50 in the Italian farce t r a d i t i o n ^ : the obdurate, avaricious father insists that his daughter marry a wealthy old man as soon as possible. In love with a desirable suitor, the daughter refuses, and feigns illness to avoid the impending marriage. Assisted by a servant disguised as a doctor, the lovers manage to get together, and outwit the father. The father i s enraged, but quickly is appeased by the pleasing and prosperous appearance of the young couple. In addition to the traditional plot and l i s t of characters, there are several farcical elements in this play which are strongly linked to the commedia dell'arte, such as the use of the couple of the trickster and the dupe, a frequent occurence in Moliere's plays. Lebegue points out that "ce couple existait deja dans la commedia dell'arte (le Zanni malin et Pantalon) et dans la farce (par exemple, Pathelin et le drapier)." 2! Other elements traced to the two influences include: repetition, reversals, disguise, trickery, puns, acrobatic scenes, types and vulgarity. We have already seen some of these elements in connection with La Jalousie du  Barbouille. However, in Le Medecin volant disguise, acrobatics and vulgarity play a large role. In his "Notice", Robert Jouanny gives us a sense of movement in Le Medecin volant: Cette farce est un curieux exercice de voltige par quoi un acteur peut apprendre a connaitre les dimensions d'un plateau de theatre, les entrees et les sorties rapides, les deguisements multiples et presque simultanes, les jeux de scene les plus extravagants. La piece est entrainee a une cadence 51 qui va s'accelerant et s'ecarte de plus en plus du vrai, pour nous arreter devant cette maison dont les fenetres laissent j a i l l i r de droles de corps. 2 2 We w i l l analyse Moliere's techniques in order to demonstrate how he managed to create such a vibrant, fast-paced farce. As i t s t i t l e indicates, Le Medecin volant is in part a farce of medicine. In the exposition scene, the elements of disguise and trickery promise just such a farce, since one expects an ignorant valet to make a ridiculous doctor. Sganarelle confirms the audience's suspicion in the second scene with his promise: "je ferai aussi bien mourir une personne qu'aucun medecin qui soit dans la v i l l e " . This scene calls for gestures of secrecy, as well as mockery. Valere describes Sganarelle's role as trickster and his dupe as typical Dottore and Pantalone characters: "Gorgibus est un homme simple, grossier, qui se laissera etourdir de ton discours, pourvu que tu paries d'Hippocrate et de Galien, et que tu sois un peu effronte." 2^ They exit together, Sganarelle asking for the appropriate costume, words and gestures for his role. In the following scene, we see Gorgibus and Gros-Rene, a famous farceur, who plays his valet. The word " e t c . " 2 4 in the text and the stage direction "Galimatias" suggest that his role involves improvisation and is similar to the gestural role of the zanni from the commedia dell'arte tradition. Given the subject of Gros-Rene's galimatias, we can assume that his play includes bawdiness. 2 5 Another proof of his 52 connection with the zanni tradition i s that he complains about having to do his master's bidding because he was hoping to "refaire [son] ventre d'une bonne carrelure" (scene 3 ) , a wish that recalls the ever-hungry second zanni. Scene 4 brings us Sganarelle disguised as the Doctor. His entrance is built up by a laudatory introduction by Sabine, who is aware of the trickster's real identity. Gorgibus greets him respectfully, and Sganarelle responds with nonsensical arguments and gibberish in many languages. This scene is highly comical because of his portrayal of what he thinks i s a convincing doctor, and because he mistakes his patient, taking Gorgibus' pulse. His gestures betray his ineptitude as a doctor, but because of his costume and his introduction, he i s able to deceive Gorgibus. The latter part of this scene has drawn much comment: Sganarelle requests a urine sample from Lucile, and Sabine is sent for i t . The scene gathers momentum as Sabine pops on and off stage several times. A l l this activity i s as a result of Sganarelle's use of the urine to display his 'professionalism' and make his 'diagnosis'. When he receives the f i r s t sample, he analyses i t by looking at i t , and then, to the surprise of Gorgibus, he drinks i t . This gesture is unexpected, and has a certain vulgar shock value. It provokes a reaction of disgust both on the part of Geronte and the audience. Sganarelle's remark that he is "un medecin hors du commun" is delightfully understated. Drinking urine once is effective; heaping 53 vulgarity on vulgarity by sending for more and incessantly using such untechnical and impolite terms as "pisser" leads to a ludicrous scene whose energy builds until the "pisseuse" i s summoned. Comic effect i s thus achieved by the use of repetition, the blatant impropriety of his behaviour, the invention and incessant use of coarse expressions based on "pisser", the reversal of expectation caused by the fact that Sganarelle not only partakes of urine but appears to relish i t , and by the medical air he adopts through i t a l l . In scene 5, the farce of medicine continues, with Sganarelle fabricating ridiculous excuses which allow him to hide his gaffes and narrowly escape exposing his identity. Facial gestures revealing moments of panic and fear, followed by r e l i e f when he i s not discovered are in order in this scene. Sganarelle prescribes a stay in the country for Lucile, to which Gorgibus agrees. Having delivered Lucile to Valere, the 'Doctor' is about to disappear when a r i v a l learned man—a lawyer—arrives on the scene. 2 6 The visual effect of seeing one real Dottore character and one impersonator drives the dramatic energy skyward. The audience expects Sganarelle's deception to be discovered and a sound beating to ensue. He attempts to beat a hasty retreat, but the lawyer is eager to meet him. Sganarelle i s trapped. He displays fear for an instant, and then he is more pedantic than ever, speaking briefly in Latin to Gorgibus and maintaining in silence an intensely erudite posture u n t i l the 54 lawyer leaves. Rather than exposing the trickster, he proves to be as ignorant as Sganarelle, and his presence contributes to the farce by emphasizing Gorgibus' g u l l i b i l i t y and by ridiculing 'learned' men. This reverses the audience's expectation, sustaining i t s interest, and increasing suspense and scenic energy. In contrast to the Doctor's disdain of payment in La  Jalousie -du Barbouille, Sganarelle, although surprised when Gorgibus gives him money, accepts i t . There i s a humorous contradiction in this scene between gesture and word: "Vous vous moquez, monsieur Gorgibus. Je n'en prendrai pas, je ne suis pas un homme mercenaire. (II prend 1'argent)" (scene 8). Sganarelle's entrance on stage in his regular clothes triggers the f i n a l , frenzied scenes. He describes to Valere how he deceived Gorgibus, an account which prompts Valere to rush to be with his beloved. Sganarelle is l e f t alone on stage to contemplate his successful deception when he sees Gorgibus: "(Apercevant Gorgibus) Ah! ma f o i , tout est perdu: c'est a ce coup que voila la medecine renversee, mais i l faut que je le trompe"(scene 10). Sganarelle knows that i f he i s discovered he w i l l be severely beaten, at the very least. Just as Valere and Angelique in La Jalousie du Barbouille when faced with imminent discovery by the Barbouille, Sganarelle no doubt expresses panic and fear by means of fa c i a l expressions and a frantic search for a place to hide. Like Angelique and her lover, he is unable to escape physically. Therefore he 55 resolves to elude punishment with a further deception: he develops another identity, Narcisse, his drunken twin brother. Thus, his clothing is no longer incriminating. This is visually confusing for Gorgibus, who sees the face of the Doctor, but the clothes and gestures of a valet. He would express his confusion with perplexed, quizzical f a c i a l expressions, and perhaps discreet, sidelong glances at him, or blatant, open-mouthed, dumbfounded stares. Sensing Gorgibus' uncertainty, Sganarelle explains his relation to the Doctor and says that they are often mistaken for each other. Gorgibus admits: "Je [me] dedonne au diable s i je n'y ai ete trompe. Et comme vous nommez-vous?" (scene 11). This i s wonderfully ironic, because he thought that Narcisse was the Doctor, and he thinks that in this he was tricked by appearances. In fact, Narcisse is the Doctor, so he i s not actually deceived by appearances. However, he is only aware of the f i r s t level of deception; he does not realize that he was originally tricked by the valet Sganarelle in the costume of a Doctor. Gorgibus i s fooled both by Sganarelle's real clothes and his Doctor's garb, and by the different play that Sganarelle adopts for each of his alter egos. This scene i s intensely comical because Gorgibus and Sganarelle are discussing appearances and the possibility of being tricked by them, and Gorgibus, "un vrai lourdaud" (scene 10), does not realize that he is a victim of just such trickery. Sganarelle is caught in his own deception, and is forced to play both of his assumed roles, and at an increasingly harried pace. Numerous stage directions describe Sganarelle's exits and entrances disguised either as the Doctor or Narcisse. At f i r s t , he is successful, but his deception becomes increasingly d i f f i c u l t as Gorgibus becomes more insistent and locks one of him in an upstairs room. Imagine the struggle as Gorgibus drags an unwilling Narcisse into the house. Sganarelle thinks he is defeated, and speculates on his fate: " i l n'y a plus moyen de m'en echapper. Le nuage est fort epais, et j ' a i bien peur que, s ' i l vient a crever, i l ne grele sur mon dos force coups de baton, ou que, par quelque ordonnance plus forte que toutes celles des medecins, on m'applique tout au moins un cautere royal sur les epaules" (scene 14). Sganarelle fears physical punishment, but, as in earlier scenes, his cunning enables him to turn panic and fear into greater trickery, proving that "Sganarelle est le roi des fourbes" (scene 14). The movement is obliged to become even more acrobatic, as Sganarelle jumps in and out of the window to continue the charade. 2 7 Unfortunately he i s watched by Gros-Rene, who is intent on exposing him. As the pace accelerates, the dramatic tension increases with the anticipation of Sganarelle's inevitable discovery. The space of time between the appearance of each Sganarelle diminishes u n t i l Narcisse and the Doctor are in the same room together, and appear in the window, one after the other. The stage directions indicate the rapidity of Sganarelle's movements: "(Apres avoir disparu un moment, i l se remontre en  habit de valet).--Monsieur Gorgibus, je suis votre oblige.--(I l disparait encore, et reparait aussitot en robe de  medecin)" (scene 15). Urged by Gros-Rene, Gorgibus insists that he see the two characters together, thereby eliminating the temporal space separating them. The consummate trickster, Sganarelle ingeniously plays two roles before our very eyes 2 8: "(II embrasse son chapeau et sa fraise qu'il a mis au bout de  son coude)" (scene 15). This pattern of alternating between two roles unti l they merge into one i s analogous to the "balancement" or oscillation and stasis referred to earlier in this chapter. The oscillation between the Doctor and Narcisse i s intended to prove the existence of both in order to avoid physical punishment. Stasis is achieved when Gorgibus i s convinced. In this 'flying' sequence, movement is of paramount importance because i t visually expresses what is happening on the structural level. The spectators understand this movement because they are presented with i t as a visual event as well as an intellectual one. The audience watches as the Doctor and Narcisse gather speed and eventually careen into each other, signalling the end of the oscillation between the Doctor and his alter ego. But, as in the La Jalousie du  Barbouille, the audience knows that this balance i s temporary, because i t is based on something which has not been truly resolved. In the case of Le Medecin volant, the equilibrium 58 is disturbed before the end of the farce. In order to dispose of the Doctor, Sganarelle must play the two roles again. The flying motion is resumed. In an entertaining, improvised manner, implied by the word "etc." (scene 15), Sganarelle pretends to go away, but only removes his costume, and jumps back into the window to greet Gorgibus as Narcisse. Sganarelle has almost succeeded in duping Gorgibus, when Gros-Rene brings the Doctor costume to his master, announcing: "Cependant qu'il vous trompe et joue la farce chez vous, Valere et votre f i l l e sont ensemble, qui s'en vont a tous les diables" (scene 15). To the audience's satisfaction, Sganarelle's trick i s f i n a l l y discovered. It is ironic that Gros-Rene excaims in indignation that a farce has been played on them, since that i s precisely what the spectator expects from a farce. Gorgibus i s understandably enraged, and threatens to hang the trickster, whose grimace indicates that this i s a worse punishment than he had envisioned for himself. Ever the audacious valet, Sganarelle adopts another approach; he i s entirely direct with Gorgibus. His master and Lucile enter, and Valere 2^ says: "Nous nous jetons a vos pieds" (final scene). This plea for forgiveness may be solely verbal or i t may be an example of a technique employed in farce, or as Bowen puts i t , "1'expression idiomatique prise litteralement et mise en action."30 Gorgibus i s convinced by Sganarelle's speech and the young lovers' humble posture (and wealthy appearance), and he forgives them. The farce ends traditionally with a c a l l to make merry and celebrate their engagement. Jouanny writes that Moliere learned "[un] rythme inimitable, [une] cadence aisee, [un] jaillissement lumineux du comique"31 in these early farces. This rhythm shapes and is shaped by movement, gesture, the grimace, acrobatics. As is obvious from our discussion of La Jalousie du Barbouille and Le Medecin volant, these elements figure prominently in his early theatre. The plays considered in the remainder of this study demonstrate his continued belief in the importance of movement and gesture throughout his career. 60 NOTES 1. pp. 309-14. 2. The Comedy of Language, Four Farces by Moliere, Studia Humanitatis series, Ediciones Jose Porrua Turanzas, S.A., 1980, p. 96. 3. Moliere, Oeuvres completes, p. 3. 4. "Introduction" in "La Jalousie du Barbouille" et "George  Dandin", p. V. 5. In fact, Moliere seems to have adapted these farces from Italian sources: Le Medecin volant is said to be inspired by II Medico volante; La Jalousie du Barbouille stems from a story by Boccacio. It is important to note that although Moliere borrowed from other playwrights he could never be accused of plagiarism, for as Guichemerre writes: "meme lorsque Moliere imite, meme lorsqu'il conserve la situation, le personnage, la plaisanterie qu'il a pris a la farce frangaise ou italienne, i l sait les renouveler, en t i r e r tout le comique, les transfigurer par son invention verbale et gestuelle. C'est peut-etre dans cette metamorphose que parait le mieux son genie createur", p. 120. 6. Leon Chancerel, Moliere, Collection "les Metteurs en scene", Paris: Les Presses Litteraires de France, 1953, p. 14. 7. L'Esprit de la commedia dell'arte, p. 117. 8. It should be noted, however, that even Moliere's grandes  comedies display signs of his interest in farce; see Chapter One, n. 45. See also Bray, pp. 316-7. 9. Attinger, p. 149. 10. Peacock, p. XI. 11. vol. 1, n. 2, p. 879. 12. p. XI. It is interesting to note that Bray traces the use of white makeup to a variation on the mask introduced to the French by the Italians, p. 94. 13. p. 20. 14. vol. 1, n.9, p. 879. 61 15. p. 451. 16. Le Dernier Moliere, des "Fourberies de Scapin" au "Malade  Imaginaire", (Paris: Societe d'edition d'enseignement superieur, 1977), p. 78. 17. In theatre, especially improvised theatre, these announced exits and entrances are important cues for the other characters waiting in the wings. 18. pp. 17-18. 19. Peacock, p. XVII. 20. Roger Guichemerre, "Moliere et la farce", Oeuvres &  Critiques, VI, 1(1981), p. 113. 21. p. 59. 22. p. 4. 23. This description indicates the character traits which dictate the gestures the actors w i l l use to interpret their role. 24. This "etc." reappears in scenes 7 and 8, allowing for improvisation for Gorgibus and "l'Avocat". 25. He says i t i s the prospect of being wed to an old man rather than to her young lover that is making her i l l : "pourquoi vouloir donner votre f i l l e a un vieillard? Croyez-vous que ce ne soit pas le desir qu'elle a d'avoir un jeune homme qui la travaille? Voyez-vous dans la connexite qu'il y a, etc. (Galimatias)." There is great latitude for vulgar gestures and visual sexual innuendo. 26. The Doctor type may also be a lawyer in the commedia  dell'arte tradition. 27. The swift and acrobatic Sganarelle has enough time to jump in and out of the window because Gorgibus, in humorous contrast, plays the old man who climbs the stairs slowly. Therefore, Sganarelle is always able to arrive before Gorgibus, although Gorgibus is at the door before Sganarelle can move towards the window. 28. The consummate actor, Moliere plays three roles simultaneously for his admiring audience: Sganarelle, Narcisse and the Doctor. 62 29. In the Jouanny edition, this line is attributed to Sganarelle. However, in the Nouveaux Classiques Larousse edition, (Paris: Librairie Larousse, 1965), i t i s attributed to Valere, which seems more logical, given Gorgibus' reply: "Je vous pardonne, et suis heureusement trompe par Sganarelle, ayant un s i brave gendre" (final scene). 30. Bowen, p. 47 (Emphasized in text). 31. vol. 1, p. 3. 63 CHAPTER 3 As La Jalousie du Barbouille and Le Medecin volant, Le Medecin malgre l u i has ties with the Italian and French farce traditions: L'annee 1666, ou i l cree le Misanthrope, Moliere f a i t jouer le Medecin malgre l u i C e t t e comedie en trois actes est tout a f a i t dans la tradition farcesque. Batie sur un canevas de commedia  dell'arte--le faux medecin aide un galant, deguise en apothicaire, a seduire une belle en trompant le pere--, el l e s'inspire aussi de motifs caracteristiques de la farce francaise: l'eternelle querelle de menage et,..., le racommodement de deux contestants contre un t i e r s . ^ The play opens explosively with Sganarelle and Martine bursting onto stage, fighting, hurling insults and threats, and shouting, their hand and fac i a l gestures expressing rage, impatience, aggression and contempt. Note that the f i r s t event of the play is one of movement: "SGANARELLE, MARTINE, paroissant sur le theatre en se querellant." (1,1). This i n i t i a l movement and i t s accompanying gestures strike the note of marital discord. Thus, the audience already has a visual and aural sense of this traditional farce theme when Sganarelle delivers his f i r s t line: "Non, je te dis que je n'en veux rien faire, et que c'est a moi de parler et d'etre le maitre" (1,1). Martine's retort establishes the struggle for power: "Et je te dis, moi, que je veux que tu vives a ma fantaisie, et que je ne suis point mariee avec t o i pour souffrir tes fredaines" (1,1). The "balancement" referred to in Chapter 2 i s in motion, i t s pattern of oscillation shaping 64 the comedy as Sganarelle and Martine's desire for power manifests i t s e l f in the form of threats, physical violence and deceit. Oscillation i s presented in a condensed way in this scene; the position of power passes back and forth between Sganarelle and Martine. The f i r s t part of the scene consists in voicing parallel complaints from opposite ends of the stage. As one rejoinder cancels another, they are on neutral ground in the power struggle u n t i l Martine verbally attacks Sganarelle, forcing him into a defensive position. Sganarelle responds with a ridiculous rebuttal to Martine's complaints, creating a thrust/parry rhythm. This new sequence calls for a change in the gestural pattern; as the aggressor, Martine would probably advance as she made her complaint, forcing her husband to retreat. Sganarelle would halt briefly after each reply, l i t e r a l l y and figuratively 'standing up' to his wife. In this way, their physical interaction visually displays their positions in the dispute. Repetition, a basic element of comedy, is used extensively in this thrust/parry sequence. The energy of the scene i s high at the outset; i t continues to escalate as Martine's gestures and the level and tone of her voice grow more and more angry with each of Sganarelle's eight retorts until she i s on the verge of a violent release of her anger, which in French farce i s traditionally a beating, or a bastonnade. Sganarelle is aware of the level of his wife's anger and he abandons his quick, infuriating responses. Rather than being on the defensive, he takes an active role. He tries to calm her, using soothing gestures and softening his imperative statements by speaking in the f i r s t person plural: "Ma femme, allons tout doucement, s ' i l vous p l a i t " and "Ne nous emportons point, ma femme" (1,1). Martine refuses to acquiesce and Sganarelle resorts to threats mixed with tender expressions: "Doux objet de mes voeux, je vous frotterai les or e i l l e s . " As i s typical of any menace, they are stated in the future tense: "je vous batterai", "je vous rosserai", "je vous e t r i l l e r a i " . Martine trades jeers for his threats. The scene reaches a climax when Martine flings a string of insults at her husband: "Traitre, insolent, trompeur, lache, coquin, pendard, gueux, belitre, fripon, maraud, voleur...!" (1,1). Sganarelle curtails the l i s t : "II  prend un baton et l u i en donne" (1,1). His action in the present brings an end to the f i r s t scene: Martine cannot insult him further because she is howling in pain. The opening scene confirms the importance of the visual to reinforce the structural and thematic development of the play. The dramatic tension i s maintained by aggressive gestures and stances; Sganarelle and Martine are constantly on the edge of physical combat. This scene also establishes a pattern which w i l l repeat i t s e l f several times in the play: a character threatens another, moving him around the stage with his aggression, thereby forcing the other character to retreat. The pattern concludes with a physical gesture such as a slap, or a beating. Conesa classifies this beating as "un geste de prolongement", which he says functions in the following way: " i l joue frequemment un role structurant sur le message verbal, en marquant la f i n d'un mouvement de dialogue: la bastonnade,...,qui se situe au terme d'un groupe de repliques homogenes en constitue la cloture; cela est particulierement net dans les scenes a structure repetitive." 2 This beating prompts their neighbour M. Robert to intervene. Rather than appreciating being rescued, Martine turns on M. Robert, and pushes him around the stage as she has done earlier with Sganarelle. The sequence i s concluded with a beating, but this time Martine has the satisfaction of bestowing the soufflet. Here the technique of reversal of audience expectation i s effective. This i s amusing, but i t also underlines the fact that domestic d i f f i c u l t i e s are part of reality, and that complaining about them i s just the way of the world. This is a typical farce theme, and therefore, as seen in Chapter 1, i t is based on r e a l - l i f e relationships. Many c r i t i c s have likened the movement in this play to a ballet. This is an appropriate analogy since ballet is based on the visual, on gesture and movement, and especially on patterns. One has only to think of the movement of a pas de  deux to recognize the balletic symmetry of Martine and Sganarelle's treatment of their neighbour. The same advance/retreat sequence i s repeated, and the audience 67 experiences another reversal when Sganarelle aggressively t e l l s M. Robert that he does not want to beat his wife. What we are witnessing i n t h i s scene i s a change i n d i r e c t i o n . Martine and Sganarelle are well matched; they can hold t h e i r own i n an argument. When M. Robert intervenes, he i s not th e i r equal, and i s forced to re t r a c t his statements: " J ' a i t o r t " , "Vous avez raison", "Je me retracte" ( 1 , 2 ) . They j o i n forces against t h e i r neighbour, and they channel t h e i r aggressive gestures away from each other and towards the unfortunate M. Robert. Because they support each other against M. Robert, Sganarelle mistakenly thinks t h i s means that they are reconciled. As a gesture of r e c o n c i l i a t i o n , he takes Martine's hand, but she refuses to be m o l l i f i e d . Conesa proposes that a gesture of punishment such as a beating "est, le plus souvent, generateur de dialogue: tantot, l e personnage commente plus ou moins longuement 1 'agression dont i l est victime."-^ i n t h i s case, the end of scene 2 and that of scene 3 are f u e l l e d by Martine's insistence on an apology from Sganarelle for having beaten her. Martine says that she forgives him and Sganarelle believes that the dispute i s over. He t e l l s her: "cinq ou s ix coups de baton, entre gens qui s'aiment, ne font que r a g a i l l a r d i r 1 ' a f f e c t i o n " ( 1 , 2 ) . In an aside she has said: "mais tu le payeras" ( 1 , 2 ) ; i n the following scene she i s alone on stage, and vows to get r e t r i b u t i o n . This sets up the main action of the p l a y . 4 68 Martine i s preoccupied with revenge when she l i t e r a l l y bumps into Valere and Lucas. This i s a v i s u a l representation of fate, " l e C i e l " (1,4) or Moliere bringing them together. On a s t r u c t u r a l l e v e l , t h i s bumping into each other signals the i n t e r s e c t i o n of the two sets of characters and the two stor y l i n e s of the play. She recognizes her opportunity to r e t a l i a t e , and she seizes i t . She c l e v e r l y constructs the ruse so that Sganarelle i s sure to be beaten: "La f o l i e de...[Sganarelle] est plus grande qu'on ne peut c r o i r e , car e l l e va parfois jusqu'a vouloir etre battu pour demeurer d'accord de sa capacite; et je vous donne a v i s . . . q u ' i l n'avouera jamais q u ' i l est medecin,..., que vous ne preniez chacun un baton, et l e reduisiez, a force de coups, a vous confesser a l a f i n ce q u ' i l vous cachera d'abord" (1,4). One can well imagine gestures of subterfuge as Martine sets up her husband for a beating, i n case he should f i n d them i n conversation, and discover the ruse. The famous bot t l e scene begins with the stage d i r e c t i o n "SGANARELLE entre sur le theatre en chantant et tenant une b o u t e i l l e " (1,5). The bottle prop i s very important i n t h i s scene, as the candle was s i g n i f i c a n t i n La Jalousie du  Barbouille. While Sganarelle i s alone on stage, i t s presence gives r i s e to puns, songs, dances and gestures. When Sganarelle sees Valere and Lucas, he clutches his bottle to him i n a motion of d i s t r u s t and protectiveness. The punctuation of the l i n e of the song he sings indicates that he i s watching both of them warily: "SGANARELLE, les apercevant,  les regarde, en se tournant vers l'un et puis vers 1'autre,  et, abaissant la voix, d i t : Ah! ma petite friponne! que je t'aime, mon petit bouchon!...Mon sort..•feroit bien des...jaloux, S i . . . " (1,5). When Valere and Lucas come forward, their bows and Sganarelle's "divers gestes qui font  un grand jeu de theatre" a l l rely on the same object. By centering the gesture and movement in this scene around the bottle, Moliere establishes Sganarelle as a drunken buffoon.^ This cryptic stage direction poses a problem: i t is either meant to be a cue for improvisation, or i t i s an example of an inadequate stage direction for a fixed scene. 7 There are arguments for both po s s i b i l i t i e s . Influenced by the Italians, i t is perfectly possible that Moliere meant this to be a scene in which the imagination of the actor could dictate his play. However, Moliere wrote the role of Sganarelle for himself. Since he created the scene, he did not need to give himself instructions on how to play i t . It i s unfortunate for the modern reader that this stage direction is not more explicit, because Moliere was very precise about jeu in his plays. Bray gives the example of L'Ecole des femmes, written four years before Le Medecin malgre l u i : "les mouvements, le nombre de pas a faire dans t e l ou t e l sens, les gestes, les attitudes, les expressions, jusqu'aux oeillades, tout etait prevu. De cette precision du jeu, le texte original ne nous donne qu'une faible et rare idee; la traditon orale seule 70 conservait...les instructions necesaires a 1'interpretation. Despite the inadequacy of some of the stage directions in Le Medecin malgre l u i , this play has a number of explicit stage directions. Wadsworth points out that they were necessary in order to make i t i n t e l l i g i b l e to the reader.^ The necessity of explicit directions stems from the large place gesture occupies in this play. Conesa comments on the fact that this jeu de scene of the meeting of Sganarelle with Valere and Lucas i s conducted in silence, which i s rare. Normally, silence disrupts the continuity of the dialogue, but in this case, "le jeu de scene se situe a une articulation de la scene, apres une phase d'observation mutuelle des personnages et avant 1'engagement de leur conversation; de sorte que la temporisation que provoque le jeu de scene ne met pas le mouvement dramatique en peril."10 In this play, the importance of gesture i s not subordinate to that of dialogue. Therefore, silence is not disruptive because gesture alone maintains the continuity of the play. More specifically, Sganarelle's gestures ensure continuity because he is on stage approximately eighty-five per cent of the time.H Sganarelle's gestures continue to demonstrate his distrust of the strangers until they make their introductions. It is implied that Sganarelle motions his respect by l i f t i n g his hat. This is apparent when Valere solicitously begs him to put on his hat. As in the early farces, the hat i s a sign of authority and social status. Sganarelle does not realize that the two men think that he is a doctor, and therefore supposedly of a higher social ranking than they. Ironically, they defer to the authority of the woodsman's hat. They refuse to acknowledge that the attire and coarse gestures of the haggling woodsman reveal that he is no doctor. As Sganarelle denies that he practices medicine his gestures and grimaces at f i r s t indicate his confusion and his belief that are out of their minds. When they persist, he grows impatient and his anger surfaces as i t did in the f i r s t scene. Rather than beating them as a release to his mounting anger, Valere and Lucas have also become impatient, and they beat him for his 'game' of imposture. Conesa cites this bastonnade as an example of "[les] gestes de prolongement a fonction exhortative...qui tendent a influencer le comportement de 1 ' i n t e r l o c u t e u r . S g a n a r e l l e is beaten for t e l l i n g the truth, so he agrees to be whatever they want him to be. 1^ Thus, une violence coupled with his cowardice force Sganarelle into an imposture. It is his fear that persuades him to pose as a doctor. When Valere and Lucas praise him for a l l his successes, Sganarelle is as impressed as they are, since this i s the f i r s t he has heard of his talents. There is lattitude here for comical gestures expressing Sganarelle's confusion, surprise and pride. When Sganarelle realizes that he w i l l be able to profit from the deception, he says: "Ah! je suis 72 medecin, sans contredit: je l'avois oublie: mais je m'en ressouviens" (1,5). This recalls his predecessor in Le Medecin volant whose greed alone persuades him to pose as a doctor. Sganarelle's gestures at the end of this scene reflect his new-found status. Far from his earlier gestures of distrust, he entrusts Valere to carry his bottle. Giving his f i r s t order as a doctor, he starts to take advantage of the authority vested in him by his wife and Geronte's servants. These gestures reflect what has happened in this scene; there has been a total reversal. The men for whom Sganarelle took off his hat have become his servingmen. By his gestures and his bearing, Sganarelle indicates that he has assumed the role forced upon him. The audience eagerly awaits Sganarelle's appearance disguised as a doctor. As in Le Medecin volant, his entrance is prepared with high praises and tales of his brilliance, but in Le Medecin malgre l u i , Valere and Lucas are as gullible as their master. Jacqueline, the nourrice, objects to the impending arrival of the doctor. She t e l l s Geronte, the Pantalone character, that i f he allows his daughter to marry young Leandre she w i l l not need a doctor. 1 4 The technique of using the outspoken servant allows for an exposition scene in which the traditional theme of Le Medecin volant is established. Lucas, her husband, attempts to punish her for her impertinence: "(En disant ceci, i l frappe sur la poitrine a Geronte)" (11,2). One can well imagine Jacqueline ducking as Geronte receives the blows destined for her, and the wide-eyed expression of horror and fear as i t dawns on him that he has just hit his master. This violent gesture does not lack in force, and Geronte's "Tout doux! ohI tout doux!" (11,1) indicates that Lucas probably continues for a while before he realizes his mistake. Lucas says that he i s beating her to teach her the proper respect for him, but as the recipient of these violent gestures, Geronte does not think they are necessary. This echoes the f i r s t scene in which Martine is beaten, and prepares Sganarelle's entrance, reminding the audience of the reason for his presence. Sganarelle's appearance in a doctor's robe and in "un chapeau des plus pointus" signals the beginning of the farce of medicine in this play. Sganarelle's gestures and speech caricature those of a real doctor. 1 5 Sganarelle feels that i t i s appropriate to quote Hippocrates: "Hippocrate dit...que nous nous couvrions tous deux" (11,2). This implies that Sganarelle and Geronte have greeted each other with a polite l i f t i n g of the hat. This issue of hats has already appeared several times in the play, and the sheer repetition is comical. The change in hats from his woodsman's hat to a pointed doctor's hat serves to 'transform' Sganarelle into a doctor. 1 6 Another case of repetition occurs when Sganarelle baits Geronte into denying that he i s a doctor so that he may beat 74 him. This is the second time Geronte has been beaten in the space of a few minutes. As Mel Gordon says, Panatalone i s usually the victim of violent l a z z i . 1 7 When Sganarelle realizes that a beating does not make one a doctor, and Geronte takes exception to i t , Sganarelle quickly apologizes, no doubt realizing that i f his deception is discovered he w i l l receive not money but punishment. Sganarelle soon spots the nourrice and a l l her charms. He makes bawdy comments and gestures, caressing her appreciatively. Knutson writes: "Moliere's theatre is not generally ribald; sex belongs to word, not action. The one exception to this rule is Le Medecin malgre l u i . Sganarelle embodies sex in i t s crudest, most spontaneous form; his instinct springs into l i f e with animal-like immediacy and automatism."18 Lucas requests that the doctor not touch his wife, but not to be dissuaded, Sganarelle plays a trick which incorporates the elements of repetition and reversal: "SGANARELLE, ( I l f a i t semblant d'embrasser Lucas, et se  tournant du cote de la Nourrice, i l l'embrasse.) Ah! vraiment, je ne savois pas cela, et je m'en rejouis pour 1'amour de l'un et de 1'autre. LUCAS, en le tirant. Tout doucement, s ' i l vous p l a i t " (11,2). This gag i s repeated twice more, resulting in heightened comic effect and increased dramatic energy. This same kind of gesture is continued in the next scene. Sganarelle's lascivious impulses cause Lucas to be very jealous and aggressively pull him away from his 75 wife: "LUCAS, le tirant, en l u i faisant faire la pirouette." (11.3) . Note the use of a ballet term to descibe this movement. A stage direction indicates that Jacqueline turns on her husband, "prenant Lucas par le bras et l u i faisant  aussi faire la pirouette" (11,3). The gesture is thus repeated. The f i r s t scenes of the second act echo the opening scenes of the play. There is marital discord, and a third party. This time, however, the third party, Sganarelle, does not attempt to reconcile Jacqueline and Lucas. Visually, we see the libidinous Sganarelle, disguised as a doctor, s t i r up more trouble, keeping the stage in constant movement. Moliere clearly chose to make this a play of movement. Scenes that could have been treated differently are done in a gestural way. For example, Lucinde could have pretended to have any number of illnesses, but she has lost her voice. 1 9 This necessitates mime: "LUCINDE, repond par signes, en  portant sa main a sa bouche, a sa tete et sous son menton" (11.4) . Sganarelle mimics her, and asks what kind of language she is speaking. As this action indicates, he i s not very astute as a doctor at f i r s t . As the scene progresses, Sganarelle enters more f u l l y into his role as doctor, taking Lucinde's pulse, making self-evident statements, and adopting typical gestures of the pedant.20 Points of suspension indicate Sganarelle's hesitancy: "les vapeurs formees par les exhalaisons des 76 influences qui s'elevent dans la region des maladies, venant... pour ainsi dire... a..." (11,4). Realizing that his imposture lacks weight, Sganarelle asks i f Geronte knows Latin. When Geronte admits that he does not, Sganarelle expresses his surprise and proceeds to exploit his advantage, making a jeu de scene out of his nonsensical Latin, "en faisant diverses plaisantes postures." His listeners express their admiration and envy at his learnedness. This gives Sganarelle confidence, and he launches into a medical lecture, complete with anatomical illustrations as he points to various parts of the body. Momentum gathers as comic techniques overlap; Sganarelle adds to the jeu de scene of anatomy the game of interruption described in Chapter 2. Normally, in this game someone else would interrupt him, but Sganarelle dominates the scene and interrupts himself, demanding attentiveness. Geronte questions Sganarelle's placement of the heart and live r , and he ridiculously ju s t i f i e s i t by saying that they have changed anatomy in favour of the new medecine. Geronte comically excuses himself for his ignorance. The scene continues in this way, one gag following on another. The accumulation of comic effects is staggering, and Moliere is relentless in his application of them. As Bray says of Le Medecin malgre l u i : Elle a pour objet principal la production du r i r e . Elle est toute agencee pour des effets de gaiete. C'est le grand triomphe du Moliere comique. Tous les procedes y trouvent place: les gestes, les mots, la satire, 1'observation, tout concourt au resultat cherche....La parodie des moeurs et du langage des 77 medecins t i e n t une p l a c e c o n s i d e r a b l e . . . . C ' e s t un chef-d'oeuvre e t q u i f u t a c c u e i l l i comme t e l . La f a r c e y prend de l'ampleur. Le poete prouve q u ' i l a p l e i n e c onscience de l a f o n c t i o n comique du genre. 21 T h i s long scene, s i t u a t e d i n approximately the middle of the p l a y , i s a prime example of what M o l i e r e i s t r y i n g t o achieve; a l l the elements mentioned by Bray are pr e s e n t , and o c c u r r i n g s i m u l t a n e o u s l y . T h i s p l a y i s t r u l y a masterpiece of movement, a symphonic b a l l e t . S g a n a r e l l e has performed h i s r o l e w e l l , and Geronte attempts t o reward him wit h money. As i n Le Medecin v o l a n t , S g a n a r e l l e makes gestu r e s t o r e f u s e the money, but then takes i t . Again, there i s a c o n t r a d i c t i o n between the v i s u a l and the g e s t u r a l . In Le Medecin malgre l u i more i s made of the money gags. For example, i n t h i s scene, S g a n a r e l l e o b s t i n a t e l y r e f u s e s t o accept the purse, f o r c i n g Geronte t o o f f e r i t r e p e a t e d l y . T h i s makes h i s next move more laughable; a f t e r he acc e p t s , he asks "Cela e s t - i l de p o i d s ? " (11,4). The scene ends wi t h S g a n a r e l l e i n s i s t i n g he i s not mercenary. In the next scene, a stage d i r e c t i o n i n d i c a t e s t h a t i t i s indeed h i s gestu r e s of the p r e c e d i n g scene t h a t r e v e a l h i s t r u e nature: "SGANARELLE, regardant son argent. Ma f o i l c e l a ne va pas mal; pourvu que..." (11,5). Although Leandre's entrance c u t s s h o r t h i s sentence, S g a n a r e l l e ' s g e s t u r e s complete i t : he takes Leandre's p u l s e . S g a n a r e l l e c o n t i n u e s to p l a y the r o l e of doct o r because i t has become ve r y l u c r a t i v e . When Leandre i n t r o d u c e s h i m s e l f and asks f o r h e l p t o see Lucinde, S g a n a r e l l e i s i n c e n s e d . 2 2 In a gesture 78 reminiscent of the f i r s t scenes of the play, Sganarelle advances on Leandre, abusing him and forcing him to retreat un t i l Leandre offers him money: "SGANARELLE, Je vous apprendrai que je ne suis point homme a cela, et que c'est une insolence extreme... LEANDRE, tirant une bourse qu'il l u i  donne. Monsieur... SGANARELLE, tenant la bourse. De vouloir m'employer... Je ne parle pas pour vous, car vous etes honnete homme, et je serois ravi de vous rendre service" (11,5). Money effects a change in direction of Sganarelle's energies, and the audience witnesses a comic reversal of his posture, gestures, and tone of voice. In the third act, there is another money scene. Assuming Sganarelle i s a real doctor, some peasants approach him to cure someone who i s actually i l l . This time, he does not wait to be offered money, and gestures impatiently: "SGANARELLE, tendant toujours la main et la branlant, comme pour siqne  qu'il demande de 1'argent." (111,2). In this scene, Sganarelle refuses to listen without payment. In each subsequent money scene, Sganarelle i s more and more aggressive about money. His gestures and continued imposture are motivated by greed. The audience eagerly anticipates the moment when Sganarelle i s discovered and punished. Sganarelle lasciviously approaches Jacqueline yet again. Jacqueline playfully demures as he lavishes compliments on her shamelessly. Knutson points out that "[this] rhythm of desire, coyness, and jealousy i s a dominant one in the play 79 and i s repeatedly underscored by gesture."23 j n order to win her over, he hypocritically commiserates with her about Lucas, even though he is guilty of the same type of treatment of Martine. They are moving towards each other, playing into each others arms, and are about to kiss, when the stage direction indicates that this movement is stopped by Lucas, who has been there a l l along, observing and listening, drawing closer to the two to them as they draw closer to each other. "(En cet endroit, tous deux apercevant Lucas qui etoit derriere eux et entendoit leur dialogue, chacun se retire de son cote, mais le Medecin d'une maniere fort plaisante.)" (111,3). Knutson comments on this scene: "These gestures and movements impart to the play a ballet-like atmosphere of fancy and airiness, even in the most farcical situations."24 Due to the transformation of Sganarelle into a confident imposter, he i s able to give Leandre and Lucile a chance to confer by distracting Geronte's attention with gestures and a lecture on the relative success of curing women and men: (En cet endroit, i l t i r e Geronte a un bout du  theatre, et, l u i passant un bras sur les epaules,  l u i rabat la main sous le menton, avec laquelle i l  le f a i t retourner vers l u i , lorsqu'il veut regarder  ce que sa f i l l e et 1'apothicaire font ensemble, l u i  tenant cependant le discours suivant pour l'amuser:) Monsieur, c'est une grande et subtile question entre les doctes, de savoir s i les femmes sont plus faciles a guerir que les hommes. Je vous prie d'ecouter ceci, s ' i l vous p l a i t . Les uns disent que non, les autres disent que oui; et moi je dis que oui et non....(III,6) Although the stage direction does not indicate the moments when Geronte turns his head, the rhythm of Sganarelle's speech 80 suggests that Sganarelle pulls Geronte's attention away from the young lovers at the moment when he asks him to pay attention, and when he says "non" and "oui". This is repeated double-time when he says "oui et non". In this play, "[the] dialectic between lovers and obstacle i s clearly subdued in order that Sganarelle may remain always in the foreground." 2 5 Act III, scene 6 is visually significant because i t places Sganarelle in the foreground while the lovers occupy the background. Moliere envisioned this play from the perspective of jeu and he embodied i t in his role as Sganarelle. Just as ballets are created for outstanding ballerinas to showcase their a b i l i t i e s , Moliere, as a talented acrobatic actor, a comic virtuoso, created the role of Sganarelle for himself. As we w i l l see in the next chapter, this i s also true for Scapin. 2 6 When Geronte hears his daughter he praises Sganarelle, who mops his brow, saying "Voila une maladie qui m'a bien donne de la peine!" (1,6). No doubt the actor i s glad for a chance to stop and wipe the perspitation from his face. This is an extremely acrobatic play, one that i s extremely taxing for the buffoon who i s on stage in virtually every scene. 2 7 Once Lucinde begins to talk, the game of interruption is humorously replayed, and Geronte is not able to get more than a monosyllable in as his formerly mute daughter f i n a l l y expresses virtually everything that she i s feeling. The energy builds as before, until Lucide speaks "d'un ton de voix 81 a etourdir" (111,6) and Geronte, exasperated, demands that the doctor restore her muteness. In mock medical terminology Sganarelle prescribes that Leandre take Lucinde and settle the dispute with her father by married. This prescription sets up the resolution, and i s his last o f f i c i a l action as a doctor. Lucas runs to inform Geronte of the apothecary's identity and the elopement of the young couple. Geronte orders "qu'on empeche qu'il ne sorte" (111,8). At this, Sganarelle runs around the stage, trying to escape. Lucas detains him, rejoicing: "Ah! par ma f i ! Monsieu le Medecin, vous serez pendu". Sganarelle has been discovered, and his deceit i s about to be punished when his wife enters. The audience assumes that she i s here to explain the ruse and 'call the whole thing o f f , but i t s expectations are reversed once again. Far from pleading for Geronte's mercy, she laments the fact that Sganarelle did not have a chance to finish cutting the wood for the winter. Sganarelle t e l l s her to go away, but she says that she won't until she sees him dangling from a rope. Sganarelle's contrition i s described by the stage direction "le chapeau a la main" (111,10). Sganarelle i s l i t e r a l l y hat in hand, begging for a beating rather than being turned over to the Commissaire. This is yet another example of the significance of objects or props in relation to gesture and movement. The whole play rests on the i n i t i a l aggressive gesture of 82 Sganarelle beating Martine. This violence engenders, revenge, and the revenge takes the form of the i n i t i a l violence. Sganarelle says: "Oui, c'est toi qui m'as procure je ne sais combien de coups de baton" (111,11). The sentence is prorogued because Leandre has inherited his money. Sganarelle is urged not to bear a grudge. He answers: "Soit: je te pardonne ces coups de baton en faveur de la dignite ou tu m'as eleve; mais prepare-toi, desormais a vivre dans un grand respect avec un homme de ma consequence, et songe que la colere d'un medecin est plus a craindre qu'on ne peut croire". They are right back where they started; Sganarelle w i l l continue to beat Martine. We have reached the equilibre acceptable for a married couple in French farce: a tenuous one, that w i l l soon tip in favour of one or the other. Of Moliere's production of comedies strongly influenced by farce Rene Bray writes: "Dans cette importante production, on peut discerner deux tendances, dont le Medecin malgre l u i et les Fourberies fournissent les meilleurs exemples. Ce sont deux pieces en trois actes, en prose, mais different aussi bien par la technique que par le sujet." 2^ It i s true that Le Medecin malgre l u i is a satire of medecine, but more importantly, i t is a play in which the comic function of farce i s explored. Medecine is mainly used as a pretext for farcical situations in which exuberent jeux de scene and comic play occupy f i r s t place. Its main goal i s to make the audience laugh. That is why Moliere includes the 83 lascivious scenes with Sganarelle and Jacqueline. They are not s t r i c t l y necessary to the development of the play but they are a source of much entertainment. It i s the farcical tone of lightness and the symphonic movement of Le Medecin malgre  l u i that distinguish i t from Les Fourberies de Scapin. 84 NOTES 1. Guichemerre, 115. 2. p. 453. 3. p. 453. 4. These f i r s t two scenes have been analysed in detail in order to demonstrate that the early farces provide many of the comic procedures that Moliere uses in his later plays. Obviously, i t i s not within the scope of the present paper to study every scene this closely. 5. In his Moliere: An Archetypal Approach, Harold Knutson includes both Sganarelle in Le Medecin malgre l u i and Scapin in Les Fourberies de Scapin in the category of buffoon. Univ. of Toronto romance series. (Toronto and Buffalo: Univ. of Toronto Press, 1976). 6. Chancerel says that Sganarelle's costume, which prompts Lucas to ask: "C'est done le medecin des perroquets?" (1,4), is associated with the buffoon: "A remarquer que le jaune et le vert etaient les couleurs traditionnelles des bouffons de cour", p. 53. 7. see Introduction, p.3. 8. p. 89. 9. Italian Influence, p. 105. 10. p. 462. 11. Bray, p. 196. 12. p. 452. 13. This recalls Maitre Jacques in L'Avare who i s beaten both for lying and t e l l i n g the truth. 14. This recalls Gros-Rene in scene 3 of Le Medecin volant. 15. Bray makes the point that "[le] comique de caractere n'est...pas reserve a la grande comedie: la farce en f a i t usage. Sganarelle, dans Le Medecin malgre l u i , est un fantoche divertissant....Le r i r e nait i c i de 1'outrance des t r a i t s , de la caricature. II n'est pas d'une autre sorte que celui que provoquent les caracteres d'Orgon ou d'Argante", (p. 364). 85 16. In the f i r s t scene of Act III, Leandre is disguised as an apothecary. The newcomer to deception asks the master for advice, but Sganarelle t e l l s him: "Allez, allez, tout cela n'est pas necessaire: i l s u f f i t de l'habit, et je n'en sais pas plus que vous". Sganarelle reveals that he believes that the costume makes the man. 17. p. 14. 18. p. 29. 19. In III, 5 this technique i s repeated when Sganarelle mimes that Leandre is an apothecary rather than simply stating i t . 20. An example of a pedantic posture is described: "levant le  bras depuis le coude" (11,4). 21. p. 311. 22. This resembles the Lazzo of Anger employed in the commedia dell'arte tradition. Gordon, p. 18. Gordon describes the obscene details that normally accompany this lazzo. It is interesting that Moliere did not use them in this scene, although he uses them freely in the scenes between Sganarelle and Jacqueline. 23. p. 30. 24. p. 30. 25. Knutson, p. 32. 26. It is also true for a host of other characters in his theatre with physically demanding roles. 27. Sganarelle i s on stage for seventeen of the play's thirty-five scenes. Bray, p. 196. 28. p. 311. 86 C H A P T E R 4 As opposed to the symphonic movement of Le Medecin malgre  l u i , "les Fourberies,...,cavalcadent d'un mouvement lineaire vers leur f i n . " 1 The difference in movement in these two plays stems from the distinction between the buffoons Scapin 2 and Sganarelle: "Sganarelle is a lumbering clown driven by l i b i d i n a l energy and thrust into circumstances to which he adjusts w i l l y n i l l y . Scapin, on the other hand, embodies one of Moliere's most characteristic types, the resourceful valet (or servante) whose self-confidence and imagination are put to the service of youthful affection and the society which w i l l emerge from i t . " 3 Predictably, both the French farce and commedia dell'arte played a part in influencing Moliere when he wrote Les  Fourberies de Scapin. However, i t is the Italian tradition which seems to e l i c i t highest praise: "Apotheose de l'acteur et du jeu, les Fourberies sont une sorte d'hommage de Moliere, deja elu par la mort, a la commedia dell'arte, deja venue a son declin. II faut bien saisir la portee de ce ceremonial d ' a f f i l i a t i o n du plus grand poete comique de tous les temps a la plus haute tradition comique."4 According to Guichemerre, i t i s the commedia dell'arte that influenced the elements discussed in this chapter: "C'est a elle que Moliere est redevable quand i l met en scene ses deux vieillards coleriques et quinteux, ses deux couples d'amoureux et le valet ruse qui 87 les sert; et c'est 1'influence de la comedie italienne qui explique 1'importance du jeu gestuel et de la mimique dans les Fourberies." 5 The play opens with considerably less movement than does Le Medecin malgre l u i . While i t is true that Octave's despairing and panicky gestures constitute movement, i t is undirected movement that expresses Octave's emotional state and does nothing to move the intrigue forward. The f i r s t two scenes are exposition scenes, in which the two sets of lovers are dismayed to hear of the early return of the fathers of the young men. The exposition scenes frequently pose problems for the director because he has to inform the audience without boring i t and without allowing them to appear a r t i f i c i a l . Frequently, there are no stage directions to assist him. This is the case in Les Fourberies  de Scapin. Jouanny describes two ways of interpreting these f i r s t scenes. 6 What becomes apparent when studying this play is that a number of scenes could and have been interpreted in many ways; much depends on theatrical traditions, and also the ab i l i t i e s of the actors. For example, the question/answer sequence of 1,1 in which Silvestre's answer is a reprise of the last phrase of his master's question stands alone as a jeu  verbal, or i t can be developed into a jeu de scene. The exposition scenes set up the conflict of the play. Scapin is present in the second scene, but i t is not until the third that the meneur de jeu decides to take an active role: 88 "Allez, je veux m'employer pour vous." Scapin thus sets in motion the workings of the intrigue that w i l l lead to i t s resolution. Scapin's acceptance of his role as director is expressed visually by his gestures. The relative inactivity of the f i r s t scenes is supplanted by the assured movements of an experienced trickster. F i r s t , he places himself between Octave and Hyacinte and puts an end to their lovers' talk: "Chut! (A Hyacinte.) Allez-vous-en, vous, et soyez en repos. (A Octave.) Et vous, preparez-vous a soutenir avec fermete l'abord de votre pere" (1,3). Next, Scapin attempts to coach Leandre in how to handle his father. He starts by t e l l i n g him "II faut paroitre ferme au premier choc" and Jouanny notes: " I c i , Scapin martele comme un danseur les planches de la scene." 7 The stage is now abounding in directed movement. Scapin tries to teach Octave the posture of a brave man, hoping that with the posture w i l l come courage: "Allons. La mine resolue, la tete haute, les regards assures. OCTAVE: Comme cela? SCAPIN: Encore un peu davantage. OCTAVE: Ainsi?" (1,3). Scapin assumes the role of Argante, 8 and Octave pretends that he i s facing his father. Moliere's talents as a mimic and impressionist are legendary. Indeed, he is so successful in his interpretation that he frightens Octave: "C'est que je m'imagine que c'est mon pere que j'entends" (1,3). He promises Scapin that he w i l l stand firm with his father, but no sooner does he say this than his father's 89 arrival prompts him to flee the stage. In this play, one character's arrival frequently causes another's departure. In contrast, Scapin is never nonplussed and always holds his ground. The f i r s t part of 1,4 consists of Argante thinking aloud. The stage directions indicate that he believes he i s alone. This technique of the unobserved observer i s often used in Les  Fourberies de Scapin; i t allows Scapin to assess his victim, determine his weaknesses, and exploit them. In asides, the cunning Scapin answers Argante's rhetorical questions and takes note of his resolutions, and warns him. The rhythm of the f i r s t part of this scene i s similar to that of a ping-pong match, no character's line lasting longer than a short sentence. In fact, the spectator would feel a bit like the spectator at a ping-pong match, as he follows the dialogue as i t passes from one side of the stage to the other. This jeu has the effect of mesmerizing the audience and producing a sense of contest between the two characters—will Argante be duped? i f so, w i l l Scapin be punished? Argante f i n a l l y notices Silvestre, his son's valet. He would gladly beat him for allowing his son to marry without his consent, but Scapin continually intervenes in order to diffuse the old man's anger. By means of this interruption technique, he manages to spare Silvestre a beating, and at the same time to lay the groundwork for the trick that w i l l be played in scenes 5 and 6 of the second act. Scapin already 90 reveals himself as a consummate trickster. In an aside Silvestre says admiringly: "L'habile fourbe que voila!" (1,4). The ping-pong rhythm returns at the end of this scene when Scapin attempts to dissuade Argante from ending Octave's marriage and disinheriting his son. This rhythm and the movement of the scene establishes the contest of wills between Scapin and those he wishes to manipulate. In the f i n a l scene of this act, we see Scapin, the meneur  de jeu, swing into f u l l action; "la machine est trouvee" (1,5). Scapin the director decides to use Silvestre in the coming trick and he instructs him in the gestures and postures of his role. He says: "J'ai des secrets pour deguiser ton visage et ta voix" (1,5). We have already seen this technique of adapting the voice to suit the disguise and gestures of an assumed identity in Le Medecin volant and Le Medecin malgre  l u i . We w i l l witness an excellent example of i t in the sack scene. The f i r s t scene of II is between the visually humorous Geronte and Argante, two sparring Pantalone characters who play masked. Their acting is affected by the use of the mask; these characters would use broad comic gestures and postures. However, fa c i a l expression i s not ruled out, because the way in which the actor moves his head while wearing a mask with a fixed grimace can actually change this grimace. Dynamic fa c i a l gesture i s especially possible i f a half-mask i s worn rather than a f u l l mask.9 91 Jouanny mentions the possibility of Geronte playing this scene with a parasol in hand, raising and lowering i t at approriate times. The use of props in a scene where there are no specific stage directions outlining their use is at the discretion of the director, and relies on his imagination and on theatrical tradition. Props are used for the purpose of rendering a scene more comic, usually by making the character ridiculous, or by being the source of irony based on a contradiction between the visual and what i s implied or stated, and sometimes both. In the following scene Leandre rushes to show his affection for his father, but his father repels him. Leandre does not realize that his father suspects that he has been up to something in his absence. The characters' positions in relation to each other are revealing. Their gestures also convey aspects of their character: Geronte i s a humourless old man who does not appreciate misbehaviour; Leandre is an opportunist, pretending to feel affection for his father in order to lessen his father's wrath when he discovers he i s in love with Zerbinette. Geronte i s not impressed by his son's affectionate gestures and orders more appropriate ones: "Tenez-vous, que je vous voye en face" and "Regardez-moi entre deux yeux" (11,2). Geronte is demanding that his son be 'up front' with him, l i t e r a l l y and figuratively. Because he is physically unable to evade his father, Leandre attempts to do so verbally. Leandre pretends to know less than he does. In 92 opposed symmetry, Geronte alludes to more than he knows. He curtails his son's deceit by mentioning Scapin's name. He gets a reaction, and that is what he wants: "Ah! ah! ce mot vous f a i t rougir" (11,2). When Leandre asks him what he knows, i t i s Geronte's turn to evade his son. Storming off stage he says that they should discuss this at home and threatens to disown his son. This scene leaves with the audience an impression of opposition and symmetry. Leandre i s understandably incensed, and curses Scapin. His angry, threatening gestures contrast with Octave's, who enters joyfully with Scapin. The postures and gestures of the characters indicate the roles each one plays in this scene. Leandre, the aggressor, draws his sword and threatens his valet: "LEANDRE, en mettant 1'epee a la main. Vous faites le mechant plaisant. Ah! je vous apprendrai..." (11,3). Scapin assumes the posture of the victim or the defendant pleading for his l i f e : "SCAPIN, se mettant a genoux. Monsieur." Octave i s the mediator, l i t e r a l l y the person in the middle: "OCTAVE, se mettant entre-deux pour empecher Leandre de le  frapper. Ah! Leandre." The energy of this scene edges upward as Leandre's aggression repeatedly manifests i t s e l f in his attacks on Scapin which are quickly restrained by Octave. Leandre's threats of physical violence frighten Scapin into confessing, but, comically, to indiscretions of which his master i s unaware un t i l this moment. Rather than calming his master, the confession of his roguery only serves to infuriate 93 him further. The last of these confessions i s particularly significant because i t reveals the sort of fourberie of which Scapin is capable, and i t prepares the sack scene: "He bien! oui, Monsieur: vous vous souvenez de ce loup-garou, i l y a six mois, qui vous donna tant de coups de baton la nuit, et vous pensa faire rompre le cou dans une cave ou vous tombates en fuyant. LEANDRE. He bien! SCAPIN. C'etait moi, Monsieur, qui faisois le loup-garou." (11,4). The elements of disguise and multiple identities are the foundation of this trick and Scapin's masterpiece of deceit. The end of this scene echoes the end of 1,4, in which Scapin distracts Argante so that he does not beat Silvestre. In the case of 11,3, Octave and Scapin manage to put off Leandre so long that the arrival of another character enables the valet to escape a beating. These incidents in which characters narrowly escape physical violence increase the dramatic tension of the play. They also show Scapin's a b i l i t y to wriggle his way out of uncomfortable situations. The arrival of a messenger reverses the positions of the master and servant, and i t i s Scapin who is in the position of strength: "SCAPIN, passant devant l u i avec un air f i e r . «Ah! mon pauvre Scapin.» Je suis «mon pauvre Scapin» a cette heure qu'on a besoin de moi" (11,4). Although this is not a marital conflict farce, the same principle of the power struggle applies, no doubt because this "balancement" reflects the movement of the balangoire perenne that for Montaigne, 94 symbolizes the human condition. It is Leandre who i s in the humbled position now, pleading with Scapin to help him. Scapin reverses his plea and begs for punishment, knowing that his master i s at his mercy. Scapin plays this situation for a l l i t i s worth until he has l i t e r a l l y brought his master to his knees, which repeats Scapin's earlier humble posture. This exchange of postures expresses visually the reversal of their positions. Les Fourberies de Scapin i s f u l l of reversals of expectation, of the pursuer and the pursued, and of postures. Reversals are frequently brought about by trickery. They may also be a feature of the trick. The frequency of reversals in this play reflects the atmosphere of trickery which dominates i t , as i t s t i t l e implies. The t i t l e also points to the structure of the play: i t i s a coherent series of tricks orchestrated by the maestro of trickery. In 11,4, he magnanimously pardons his master and bids him to stand up. Scapin agrees to use his talents to extract from their fathers the money the young men desperately need. Having set i t up already, he announces that he has already decided on the trick he i s going to play Argante. As for Leandre's father, Scapin i s confident that he w i l l easily think of a ruse to deceive the gullible, avaricious old man. Scapin i s surprised that his master is insulted: "Bon, bon, on f a i t scrupule de cela: vous moquez-vous?" (11,4). Once again, a potentially tense situation i s averted by the arrival of 95 another character. As Argante enters, the young men leave the trickster to his work. Argante is agitated, moving around the stage in short, erratic bursts. Scapin is entirely solicitous. He makes several speeches which are noticeably longer than any that he has pronounced so far in the play. He is trying to gain the old man's confidence. The fourbe f i r s t tries to coax him verbally. If he is unsuccessful, the verbal w i l l set up the gestural trick he has planned. In the f i r s t , verbal stage of the trick, Scapin emphasizes a l l the trouble and expense of taking the people who supposedly forced his son into marriage to court. Scapin emphasizes the cost and bother of l i t i g a t i o n and minimizes the cost of settling out of court. His gestures match his meaning. For example, a note t e l l s us that when he says that the brother of the bride i s demanding a mule in partial payment, Scapin says i t is a l i t t l e mule, and lowers his hand to the ground to indicate this. With this gesture he is attempting to diminish the demands in the mind of Argante. When he does not seem convinced, Scapin launches into a long l i s t of a l l the hidden costs of legal action, underlining them by using the technique of accumulation and gestures expressing the enormity of the expense. This carefully balanced process of setting off one alternative by playing up the disadvantages of the opposite extreme is almost successful. Argante i s about to concede, and Scapin makes his pitch for the two 96 hundred pistoles. Argante is angry. According to a stage direction, he paces the length of the stage, declaring they w i l l go to court after a l l . Scapin is persistent and repeats the process of accumulation, but to no avail. Scapin shifts tactics from coaxing to coercion. He beckons to Silvestre, who enters as a spadassin, brandishing his sword and making aggressive, pu g i l i s t i c gestures: "Par la mort! par la tete! par le ventre! s i je le trouve, je le veux echiner, dusse-je etre roue tout v i f " (11,6). The presence of someone intent on doing Argante bodily harm transforms Argante's defiant, angry postures into cowardly, shrinking ones: "(Argante, pour n'etre point vu, se tient, en tremblant,  couvert de Scapin.)" (11,6). Scapin provides Silvestre with every opportunity to intimidate Argante, and at the same time attack his master and vent any resentment he might have towards him. This scene is f u l l of visual irony. For example, Silvestre roughly seizes Argante's hand and says: "Touchez l a , touchez. Je vous donne ma parole, et vous jure sur mon honneur, par l'epee que je porte, par tous les serments que je saurois faire, qu'avant la f i n du jour je vous deferai ce maraud f i e f f e , de ce faquin d'Argante. Reposez-vous sur moi" (11,6). Scapin has tried talking, and he i s now using the threat of physical violence to convince Argante. Scapin threatens the spadassin with the show of force that Argante w i l l offer. Silvestre incessantly brandishes his sword and displays his physical prowess, ending with a 97 demonstration of how he w i l l attack Argante when he finds him. Silvestre storms away, leaving Scapin to finish the trick. The physical threat created by Silvestre's show of force has the desired effect. Trembling, he timidly t e l l s Scapin that he i s going to pay the demanded sum. One jeu de scene follows upon another as Argante hesitates to give his purse to Scapin. Annoyed, the valet s t i f f l y challenges him: "Parbleu, Monsieur, je suis un fourbe, ou je suis honnete homme: c'est l'un des deux" (11,6). The direction of this scene changes as Scapin plays hard to get, as he did with Leandre in 11,4. Again, the roles are reversed, as Scapin no longer chases the money, and i t i s Argante's turn to convince him to take i t . Rather than refusing to give i t to Scapin, he has to force i t on him. The transition between this trick and the next i s extremely brief, but Scapin, the past master, i s equal to i t . He switches into mock despair: "O Ciel! 6 disgrace imprevue! 6 miserable pere! Pauvre Gerontre, que feras-tu?" (11,7). His f i r s t strategy i s to pretend he doesn't see Geronte, even though he seems to be desperately searching for him. Rather than being the unobserved observer of his earlier meeting with Argante (1,4), Scapin now plays the unobserving observer. In the f i r s t part of this scene, Scapin runs from one end of the stage to the other, ostensibly looking for Geronte, but he is actually forcing him to chase him, his obvious despair increasing Geronte's sense of alarm. When he addresses 98 Geronte, with the help of hand gestures e s p e c i a l l y , he i s able to conjure up a v i v i d picture of the imaginary abduction of Leandre. When Scapin f i n i s h e s his account by sta t i n g the amount of the ransom, Geronte's f i r s t comment betrays his avarice, because he depairs mostly at the amount, rather than the fact that his son i s i n danger. Geronte's famous "Que diable a l l a i t - i l f a i r e dans cette galere?" r e f r a i n , born of avarice, indicates his obsession. 1 1 As with Argante, Scapin must work to convince Geronte. Eventually he succeeds, but there i s an e x p l i c i t jeu de scene centered around the money. Conesa discusses the gestural s i g n i f i c a n c e of t h i s sequence: "Le rythme meme qu'implique l a succession [des] repliques courtes donne de precieuses indications sur les gestes symetriques du barbon et du valet. On peut penser que Geronte ponctue d'un geste de bras chacune de ses interventions, s i bien que le jeu de scene epouse l e mouvement du dialogue et que l e passage y gagne une unite plus p a r f a i t e , sur l e plan dramatique." 1 2 The audience's attention i s focussed on the purse as Scapin scurries from side to side. In contradiction to his tirade about what Scapin i s to say when he de l i v e r s the money to the Turks, Geronte pockets the money and t e l l s the valet to be on his way. Conesa c i t e s t h i s tour as an example of the contradiction between the gestural and the verbal. I t i s always the character's gestures that reveal his true character, because they reveal the impulses he has trouble 99 s u p p r e s s i n g . 1 3 The t r i c k p l a y e d on Geronte has taken s i x p r i n t e d pages of t e x t t o achieve, and a s i g n i f i c a n t l e n g t h of stage time i s r e q u i r e d t o perform i t . Argante's t r i c k was even more e l a b o r a t e , and r e q u i r e d two scenes spanning e i g h t pages of t e x t . The sack scene w i l l f i l l f i v e pages. The importance of the r o l e these t r i c k s p l a y i s unmistakable. Rather than being a d e v i c e to f u r t h e r the i n t r i g u e , the t r i c k s are c e n t r a l t o the p l a y and the i n t r i g u e i s merely the o r g a n i z i n g framework. The young men e n t e r , h o p e f u l t h a t Scapin has managed t o e x t o r t the money they need from t h e i r f a t h e r s . When he pretends t h a t he was u n s u c c e s s f u l w i t h Geronte, Leandre i s i n s t a n t l y d e f e a t e d and goes away to mourn the l o s s of h i s beloved. T h i s r e c a l l s Octave's behaviour i n 1,3. The young men's l a c k of courage and perseverence stands i n s t a r k c o n t r a s t t o Scapin's i n f i n i t e r e s o u r c e f u l n e s s . Scapin c a l l s Leandre back: "Hola, h o l a ! t o u t doucement. Comme d i a n t r e nous a l l e z v i t e ! " (11,8). He t e l l s him t h a t he has the money f o r him, on c o n d i t i o n t h a t he be allowed to p l a y another t r i c k on h i s f a t h e r . P e r m i s s i o n i s g l a d l y granted and they e x i t . A note i n d i c a t e s t h a t t h e r e i s a t r a d i t i o n a l b i t of stage p l a y i n which Scapin i n s i s t s on l e a d i n g them o f f stage, because of h i s success as a f o u r b e . 1 4 The scene w i t h the v a l e t s and t h e i r masters' l o v e d ones which opens the f i n a l a c t i s markedly l e s s a c t i v e than the p r e c e d i n g ones. T h i s i s a t r a n s i t i o n scene. Hyacinte and 100 Zerbinette are young females i n love, and as such do not ges t i cu la te excess ive ly. Scapin i s r e l a t i v e l y inact ive because he i s not perpetrat ing an imposture; he i s gathering h is strength for the tour de force planned for Geronte. S i l ve s t re t r i e s to dissuade h is fe l low servant form taking advantage of Geronte, warning him of the bastonnade he w i l l rece ive. Scapin i s reso lute. He s t i l l holds a grudge against Geronte for get t ing him i n trouble with h is master, a fact which forced him to reveal h is s t rateg ies as a t r i c k s t e r and pressed him into the serv ice of the two swains. The sack scene i s der ived from both French farce and the commedia d e l l ' a r t e t r a d i t i o n s . Lebegue says that th i s scene i s made up of two gags from French farce: the sack, and the fourbe 's changing voice which makes i t seem l i k e there are severa l people beating the ensache. !5 jyjel Gordon gives a desc r ip t ion of three var ia t ions of th i s popular routine i n h is sect ion on "Comic V io lence/Sad i s t i c B e h a v i o r . " 1 6 i n the in t roduct ion to h is chapter he comments: "Set i n a world of masters and servants, the Commedia fed upon the comic subjugation and punishment of the innocent or defense less ( . . . ) The v ict ims of the v io len t l a z z i are usua l ly Pantalone and the C a p t a i n . " 1 V Scapin employs the same scare t a c t i c s with Geronte that he d id when he used S i l ve s t re to threaten Argante. The design of th i s t r i c k d i sp lays Scapin 's ingenuity. He says that Hyacinte 's brother and severa l so ld ie r s are seeking him out i n 101 order to stop him from ousting Hyacinte in favour of his own daughter. He i s using the threat of a physical attack to whip Geronte into a state of panic so that he w i l l voluntarily jump into the ruse planned for him. Scapin i s so successful in creating a climate of danger that Geronte becomes paranoid: "GERONTE, croyant voir  quelqu'un. Ah!" (111,2 ) . Geronte i s ripe for boing manoeuvered into the sack, and he willingly goes along with Scapin's plan in order to evade a beating, an instinct which we have already seen i s at the base of most characters' impostures. In an aside, Scapin says that Geronte w i l l pay for what he did to him. This i s reminiscent of Martine's aparte in Le Medecin malgre l u i , before Sganarelle's beating in the woods. As in the Le Medecin malgre l u i revenge takes the form of a beating. As in Le Medecin volant, the trickster develops additional identities to further his trick. When Scapin has the trembling Geronte safely inside the sack he adopts the accent of a spadassin from Gascony. Stage directions explain the alternation between Scapin's normal voice when he i s addressing Geronte or defending him and the spadassin's voice when he i s threatening him. Ironically, Scapin says "Monsieur, les coups de baton ne se donnent point a des gens comme l u i , et ce n'est pas un homme a etre traite de la sorte" (111,2 ) , and then beats the sack, pretending that the spadassin i s hitting him: "Ah! diable soit le Gascon. Ah! (En 102 se plaignant et remuant le dos, comme s ' i l avoit regu les  coups de baton.). GERONTE, mettant la tete hors du sac. Ah! Scapin, je n'en puis plus!" (111,2). The changes in his tone of voice, his use of dialogue and dialect, the energy with which he executes his trick a l l demonstrate his mastery of fourberie. The repetition of this jeu sends the energy of the scene soaring. Simon says of the fourbe: "Scapin seul offre d'un bout a 1'autre de la comedie ce visage extatique du jeu corporel pousse a ses limites. Et la scene II de l'acte III en est le paroxysme."18 Simon's comment refers especially to the third repetition of the trick: "SCAPIN, l u i remettant sa tete dans le sac. Prends garde, voici une demi-douzaine de soldats tout ensemble. (II  contrefait plusieurs personnes ensemble.)" (111,2). Pushing his deceit to the limit, Scapin does not assume one additional identity, but s i x . 1 9 This i s visually impressive. Scapin's s k i l l is overwhelming. Knutson extols the merits of the sack scene: "This is unalloyed virtuosity, play for the sake of play." Scapin has already exacted his punishment when he beats Geronte with the strength of one man. By beating him twice and preparing to beat him again as six men would, Scapin i s indulging his love for play. Although comic, the violence with which he treats Geronte reveals a ferocity which i s far from the spontaneous lightness of Le Medecin malgre l u i . Although there are more beatings in the earlier play, hey are 103 not planned and carried out with the degree of malicious forethought of which this meneur de jeu shows himself capable. Geronte is s t i l l smarting from his second beating when Zerbinette comes along, laughing out loud. Geronte thinks she i s laughing at him; neither of them knows that she actually i s . This laughter contrasts with the howls of the preceding scene. Zerbinette t e l l s him what is making her laugh, and he becomes more and more disturbed, fuming silently as she t e l l s the story of his foolishness. Insult i s l i t e r a l l y added to injury when he discovers that he has been duped twice in the course of a few hours. As we have already seen, the listener's jeu expresses his psychological state. Geronte's agitated gestures and his impatient, erratic movement around the stage reflect his rage and discomfort. His angry demeanor eventually informs Zerbinette that he i s not enjoying her story. The scene ends as his barely contained rage explodes in an abusive speech condemning Scapin to the gallows. The two old men come together again, but this time, they are beaten men. They resolve to punish their servants. The deus ex machina scene follows as the nurse reveals a l l . Jouanny alludes to the two ridiculous characters' posture of traditional farce in which they both throw their arms in the air as an expression of their surprise at how fate has arranged things. 2 0 Unaware of what has transpired, Octave makes a grand entrance, and f i n a l l y stands up to his father 104 once i t i s no longer necessary. Zerbinette and Geronte are also reconciled. The same sort of scene is repeated with Leandre. The play i s moving towards an equilibrium as the resolution is takes shape. Scapin enters in bandages, pleading for forgiveness before he dies. "Each trick is more ingenious and complex than the preceding one and at the end success i s l i t e r a l l y a matter of l i f e and death."21 in order to avoid death or a severe beating, Scapin shrewdly employs the imposture of injury and dying. Scapin plays his fi n a l trick with a l l the virtuosity displayed in the sack scene, and is acquitted for a l l the roguish things that he has done. Ever the miser, Geronte wants to get his money's worth out of his concession, and makes his pardon conditional on Scapin's death. Scapin manipulates him by alluding to the sack scene, which prompts Geronte to forgive him because he wants to suppress the story of his g u l l i b i l i t y . When he agrees to make his pardon unconditional, there is a traditonal c a l l to feast, with Scapin occupying the place of honour as a successful fourbe. Jouanny maintains: "Le rideau tombera quand Scapin jugera bon de clore le divertissement, ou plutot la demonstration."22 He is alluding to Scapin's role as meneur de jeu, whose fourberies create the play. Garapon captures the essence of our discussion of the visual and structural patterns of gesture and movement in Les  Fourberies de Scapin when he observes: 105 La symetrie et les oppositions des gestes et des postures s'accordent a merveille, dans les Fourberies, avec 1'artificieuse organisation du dialogue. L'ensemble aboutit a une comedie-ballet d'un genre superieur, puisque la choreographie, les figures et les airs ne sont pas relegues dans les entractes, mais font partie integrante de 1'action. En somme, voila realise le programme qu'enongait naguere le Maitre a danser du Bourgeois gentilhomme: «La musique et la danse...La musique et la danse, c'est la tout ce qu'il faut». De la sorte, les Fourberies constituent pour Moliere un exercice de virtuosite tres profitable: i l s'entraine avec un p l a i s i r a unir plus etroitement les paroles et le mouvement scenique en un tout harmonieux.23 106 NOTES 1. Jouanny, vol. 2, p. 589. 2. As with Le Medecin malgre l u i , Moliere created the role of Scapin for himself. 3. Knutson, p. 33. 4. Simon, p. 27. 5. p. 116. 6. vol. 2, n. 1673, pp. 919-20. 7. vol. 2, n. 1685, p. 920. 8. This impersonation scene gives us a preview of the repetitious, cranky old man that appears in the following scene. 9. Duchartre provides an excellent discussion of masks in La  Commedia dell'arte, rev. ed., (Paris: Editions d'Art et Industrie, 1955). 10. vol. 2, n. 1690, p. 921. 11. Lagarde and Michard discuss this type of refrain and how i t links farce and reality: Les «mots de nature» nous permettent de mieux sa i s i r . . . l e rapport entre le cote mecanique de la farce et la vie reelle....Quand ces mots sont repetes jusqu'a quatre fois, nous quittons la vraisemblance pour tomber dans la farce. Si la repetition n'est pas vraisemblable, elle trahit neanmoins une verite profonde: dans la vie, Orgon ne dit qu'une fois «Le pauvre homme!», mais i l pense sans cesse a Tartuffe et le mele a toutes ses actions. On pourra etudier de meme la «scene de la galere» des Fourberies de Scapin. XVIIe siecle, les grands auteurs franqais du programme, Collection Litteraire Lagarde et Michard, (Paris: Bordas, 1970), p. 181. 12. p. 464. 13. Conesa, p. 459. 107 14. vol. 2, n. 1713, p. 922. 15. "Moliere et la farce", p. 62. 16. p. 14. 17. p. 14. 18. p. 28. 19. The fact that Moliere created such a scene for himself indicates how extraordinary his acrobatic acting s k i l l s must have been. 20. vol. 2, n. 1726, p. 923. 21. Knutson, p. 33. 22. p. 588. 23. Garapon, pp. 84-5. 108 CONCLUSION In this discussion, the emphasis has been placed on Moliere's farces and farce-inspired comedies, or comedies bouffonnes. Referring to the Italian and French influences, Guichemerre defends the value of these plays in relation to the grandes comedies: Moliere n'a jamais renie ce qu'il devait a la farce; son influence parait jusque dans ses plus hautes creations. Mais, lorsqu'il a repris les motifs ou les plaisanteries de la farce traditionnelle, la virtuosite du dramaturge et son sens du comique les ont tellement metamorphoses que ses propres farces ou ses comedies bouffonnes, loin d'etre inferieures aux «grandes comedies», manifestent avec autant d'eclat son genie createur. 1 This examination of gesture could well be extended to include a l l of Moliere's plays. More than just a study of performance technique, i t would lead to a f u l l e r understanding of Moliere's purpose or 'message', i f Philip A. Wadsworth is correct in saying: "Critics who search for Moliere's philosophy or moral purpose should pay more attention to the way his comedies were acted in the seventeenth century and to the way the performances were received. In the controversial plays i t was the acting, as much as the words, that delighted and sometimes shocked the theatrical public." 2 We know from L'Impromptu de Versailles that Moliere was keenly interested in the manner in which his plays were performed. Regrettably, the modern reader is deprived the privilege of attending the plays directed and performed by their author. However, through the richness and the rhythm of the texts one can use 109 one's imagination and conjure up images of the exuberant, spirited performances that entertained his seventeenth century audience. Moliere's love of movement pervades his theatre. Having closely examined two short farces and two full-length farces or comedies from the perspective of indicated or implied gesture, i t is apparent that gestures are very frequent. As Conesa says, they constitute "un tissu gestuel" which provides the framework for these plays. They are used for different purposes, although underlying practically a l l of them i s irony and comic effect. As we have seen, there are several different types of gestures and movement. They are frequently conveyed by visual devices such as repetition, reversal and oscillation. There are gestures which display physical violence for punishment, threats, or ridicule. Some draw their comic effect from mimicry and may visually represent a structural or thematic aspect. Others reveal character traits such as cowardice or weakness. Then there are those which are meant simply to delight. The gestures of the individual actors are interdependent on those of their fellow actors. The relative placement of the characters on the stage frequently dictates a certain type of movement, and at the same time expresses their relative postions in the development of the intrigue. The accumulation of these gestures and movement is also significant. Their rhythm and pacing are largely responsible for the audience's 110 reaction. Bray emphasizes the importance of performance in the study of Moliere's theatre: "Tout ce theatre est compose en vue d'une seduction a operer....Une comedie est faite pour etre jouee: le texte ne prend forme que dans la representation et la representation l i e le spectateur a l'acteur dans l'allegresse de la creation. Tout y est apparence, tout y cherche a plaire....Un monde prend naissance, dans lequel le spectateur s'integre sans effort et ou i l trouve le plaisir."-* Throughout this study, we have stressed the importance of performance, which necessarily implicates the audience, without whom performance would have l i t t l e value. Bray stresses this in the quote above, and he also discusses the audience and laughter, which expresses the pleasure derived from Moliere's performances. Laughter is produced largely as the result of comic gestures and movement. This movement created by theatrical effects extends in turn to the spectator: "Si Moliere est moral, s i son theatre a quelque vertu, c'est parce qu'il f a i t r i r e et non parce qu'il f a i t r i r e de quelque chose de condamnable. Le rire est naturel a l'homme. Nous avons besoin de cette detente. I l est bon d'aiguiser notre talent de moquerie, i l est meilleur encore de nous agiter le corps et l'ame dans la mysterieuse secousse qui s'appelle le r i r e " . 4 I l l N O T E S 1. p. 121. 2. Moliere and the Italian Theatrical Tradition, p. 106. 3. p. 372. 4. p. 371. 112 B I B L I O G R A P H Y Abirached, Robert. "Moliere et la Commedia dell'arte: le detournement du jeu". Revue d'histoire du theatre, 3 (1974), 223-228. Attinger, Gustave. L'Esprit de la commedia dell'arte dans le  theatre frangais. Paris: Librairie theatrale and Neuchatel: La Baconniere, 1950. Baty, Gaston and Rene Chavance. Vie de l'art theatral des  origines a nos jours. Paris: Librairie Pion, 1932. Bowen, Barbara C. Les Caracteristiques essentielles de la farce frangaise et leur survivance dans les annees 1550- 1620. I l l i n o i s Studies in Language and Literature, No. 53. Urbana: Univ. of I l l i n o i s Press, 1964. Bray, Rene. Moliere, homme de theatre. Paris: Mercure de France, 1954. Caldicott, C.E.J. "L'inspiration italienne ou la permanence du jeu dans Le Malade Imaginaire" in Melanges a la  memoire de Franco Simone. Geneve: Slatkine, 1981, II, pp. 271-278. Chancerel, Leon. "Le Comedien Moliere et ses camarades italiens". Theatre, Dec. 1945: 11-40. Moliere. Collection "Les Metteurs en scene". Paris: Les Presses Litteraires de France, 1953. Ciccone, Anthony A. The Comedy of Language; Four Farces by  Moliere. Studia Humanitatis. Potomac: Jose Porriia Turanzas S. A., 1980. Conesa, Gabriel. Le Dialogue molieresque; Etude stylistique  et dramaturgique. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1983. Duchartre, Pierre-Louis. La Commedia dell'arte. Rev. ed. Paris: Editions d'Art et Industrie, 1955. Garapon, Robert. Le Dernier Moliere, des "Fourberies de Scapin" au "Malade Imaginaire". Paris: Societe d'edition d'enseignement superieur, 1977. G i l l , A. '"The Doctor in the Farce' and Moliere". French  Studies, II, 2(1948), 101-28. 113 Gordon, Mel. Lazzi: The Comic Routines of the Commedia  dell'Arte. New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1983. Gross, Nathan. From Gesture to Idea: Esthetics and Ethics in  Moliere's Comedy. New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1982. Guichemerre, Roger. "Moliere et la farce". Oeuvres &  Critiques, VI, 1(1981), 111-124. Gundolf, Cordelia. "Moliere and the Commedia dell'arte". Journal of the Australasian Universities Language and  Literature Association, 39-40 (1973), 22-34. Hall, H. Gaston. "Ce que Moliere doit a Scaramouche", in Melanges a la memoire de Franco Simone. Geneve: Slatkine, 1981, II, pp. 257-269. Jackson, G. Donald. "Les Frontispices des editions de Moliere parues au XVIIe siecle: stereotypes et expressivite". Papers  on French Seventeenth Century Literature, XIV, 26(1987), 37-60. "Gestes, deplacements et texte dans trois pieces de Moliere". Papers on French Seventeenth Century  Literature, XI, 20(1984), 36-59. Knutson, Harold C. Moliere: An Archetypal Approach. Univ. of Toronto romance series. Toronto and Buffalo: Univ. of Toronto Press, 1976. Lacour, Leopold. Moliere acteur. Paris: Felix Alcan, 1928. Lagarde, Andre and Laurent Michard. XVIIe siecle, les grands  auteurs frangais du programme. Collection Litteraire Lagarde et Michard. Paris: Bordas, 1970. Lanson, Gustave. "Moliere et la farce". La Revue de Paris, 3 (1901), 129-153. Lebegue, Raymond. "Moliere et la farce", in Etudes sur le  theatre frangais II. Paris: Nizet, 1978, pp. 50-68. Le theatre comique en France de Pathelin a Melite. Connaissance des lettres. Paris: Hatier, 1972. Livingston, Paisley N. "Comic Treatment: Moliere and the Farce of Medicine". Modern Language Notes. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 94(1979), 676-87. 114 Mic, Constant. La Commedia dell'Arte, ou le theatre des comediens italiens des XVIe, XVIIe, et XVIIIe siecles. Paris: J. Schiffrin, 1927. Moland, Louis. Moliere et la comedie italienne. Paris: Didier, 1867. Moliere. Le Medecin malgre l u i ; Le Medecin volant. Nouveaux Classiques Larousse. Paris: Librairie Larousse, 1965. Oeuvres completes• Ed. Georges Couton. Bibliotheque de la Pleiade. 2 vols. Paris: Gallimard, 1971. Oeuvres completes. Ed. Robert Jouanny. Classiques Garnier. 2 vols. Paris: Garnier, 1962. Nicoll, Allardyce. Masks, Mimes and Miracles: Studies in the  Popular Theatre. 1st ed., 1931, rpt. New York: Cooper Square Publishers, 1963. The World of Harlequin: A C r i t i c a l Study of the Commedia  dell'Arte. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1963. Oreglia, Giacomo. The Commedia dell'Arte. Trans, by Lovett F. Edwards. London: Methuen, 1968. Pavis, Patrice. Dictionnaire du theatre. Paris: Editions sociales, 1980. Peacock, N. A., ed. La Jalousie du Barbouille et George  Dandin ou le Mary confondu. By Moliere. Exeter: A. Wheaton & Co. Ltd., 1984. Rey-Flaud, Bernadette. La Farce, ou la machine a r i r e ; Theorie d'un genre dramatique 1450-1550. Geneve: Droz, 1984. Scherer, Jacques. Structures de Tartuffe. Paris: Societe d'enseignement superieur, 1966. Schwartz, I.A. "Moliere and the Commedia dell'arte", in The  Commedia dell'arte and i t s influence on French Comedy in  the Seventeenth Century. Paris: Librairie Samuel, 1933, pp. 79-108. Simon, Alfred. "Les Rites elementaires de la comedie molieresque". Cahiers de la Compagnie Madeleine Renaud- Jean-Louis Barrault, 13 (1956), 14-28. Sweetser, Marie-Odile. "Domaines de la critique molieresque". Oeuvres & Critiques, VI, 1(1981), 9-28. 115 Tonelli, Franco. "Moliere's Pom Juan and The Space of the Commedia dell'Arte". Theatre Journal, 37(1985), 440-64. Wadsworth, Philip A. Moliere and the Italian Theatrical Tradition. French Literature Publications Company, 1977. "Studies of Moliere and his sources". Oeuvres &  Critiques, VI, 1(1981), 69-76. 


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