Every once in a while, it’s nice to be reminded that laughter at times can truly be ‘the best medicine.’ Firehouse Theatre’s latest production. ‘INVALID’, an adaptation of Moliere’s THE IMAGINARY INVALID, is perhaps just the prescription we need as we navigate these uncertain and occasionally divisive times.
Written by Josh Chenard (who also directs) and Jane Mattingly, ‘INVALID’ is an uproarious farce delivered in iambic pentameter with a Mel Brooks twist.
We first meet Argan (Andrew Firda), who is certain he’s dying as he pores over a tray of potions designed to make him well, or at least keep him complacent. Frida’s Argan appears all at once sure of himself, nervous, neurotic and put upon by those who also inhabit his daily life.
Playing Argan’s gold digging wife Beline is Kirk Morton, in a show stopping turn that is truly ‘Divine.’ Allison Paige Gilman plays love-struck daughter Angelica with a sultry sweetness that can’t help but have the audience rooting for her. Her father wishes for her to marry his doctor’s son. Thomas (Kenneth W. Putnam) so that his mounting medical costs will be reduced via a family discount, but Angelica wants to marry Cleante (Jamar Jones).
In the midst of this maelstrom is the maid, Toinette, portrayed with unwavering confidence by Donna Marie Miller. She gives as good as she gets when trading insults with a miffed Argan, and shuttles characters in and out of the room, always keeping her wits about her while everyone else goes a bit crazy.
Chernard and Mattingly’s script certainly pays homage to its influences (Brooks and his muse Madeline Khan, Oliver Hardy and the aforementioned Divine), but the stellar cast makes each character their own, so while it may seem nostalgic, it’s never tired or trite. A marvelous set designed by Chris Raintree and costumes by Nia Safari Banks add to the frivolity, helping to ensure everyone in attendance has an enjoyable and memorable evening.
Go get poked and prodded by men in white coats, but most importantly go laugh. While you’re there, remember that laughter is a lot like flatulence: it’s healthier when it is let out.
Check out the promotional video here. (Bonus points if you recognize the soundtrack.)
Adapted from Moliere’s THE IMAGINARY INVALID by Josh Chenard and Jane Mattingly
directed by Josh Chenard
Argan – Andrew Firda*
Beline – Kirk Morton
Angelica – Allison Paige Gilman
Toinette – Donna Marie Miller
Cleante – Jamar Jones
Dr. Diaforus – Christopher Dunn
Thomas Diaforus – Kenneth W. Putnam
*appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association
Josh Chenard – Director
Jane Mattingly – Dramaturg
Chris Raintree – Set Designer
Nia Safarr Banks – Costume Designer
Andrew Boniwell – Lighting Designer
Composer – Brandon J. Johns
Blair Rath – Chair Fabricator
Cailin Lindsay – Stage Manager
Thu, Sep 6 @ 7:30pm
Fri, Sep 7 @ 7:30pm
Sun, Sep 9 @ 4pm
Thu, Sep 13 @ 7:30pm
Fri, Sep 14 @ 7:30pm
Sat, Sep 15 @ 7:30pm
Sun, Sep 16 @ 4pm
Fri, Sep 21 @ 7:30pm
Sat, Sep 22 @ 7:30pm
Sun, Sep 23 @ 4pm
Thu, Sep 27 @ 7:30pm
Fri, Sep 28 @ 7:30pm
Sat, Sep 29 @ 7:30pm
http://www.firehousetheatre.org / 804.355.2001