Thursday, February 2, and Saturday, February 4, 7 – 8:30 p.m.
Intrigues and Sentiments: A Salon Evening at The Frick Collection
The Constant Players, a play by Marivaux
The Frick Collection is pleased to present a rare opportunity for the public to experience a theatrical performance in the museum’s galleries, presented in conjunction with the acclaimed special exhibition Pierre Gouthière: Virtuoso Gilder at the French Court. The Constant Players is a comedy in one act by the French eighteenth-century playwright Pierre de Marivaux. The most esteemed successor to the seventeenth-century playwright Molière, Marivaux’s innovative language reveals the close relationship between refined artistry and raw emotion. The play is adapted and directed by Mériam Korichi with actors Joan Juliet Buck, Catherine Eaton, Adam Green, and Sophie Orloff; opera singers Clarissa Lyons (soprano), Ashley Kerr (soprano), Nicholas Martorano (baritone), and Alexander Swan (tenor); and pianist Gerald Martin Moore.
While the museum has hosted several performances in its galleries, this will be the first time a play has been performed in its entirety. The galleries of the museum will come to life as a period setting, with the actors moving between the Fragonard Room, the Dining Room, and Music Room — making for a completely unique experience. Additionally, Marivaux’s work is rarely translated or preformed in New York, allowing American audiences the opportunity to discover one of the most important French dramatists of the eighteenth century.
As the grand finale, the play will conclude with extracts from Mozart’s Così fan tutte (Women Are like That), the most Marivaldian of Mozart’s operas. This musical portion of the evening (with additional extracts from the same opera) will also be featured during the Frick’s free First Fridays event on February 3.
ABOUT PIERRE DE MARIVAUX
Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux (1688–1763) was a French dramatist who wrote numerous comedies for La Comédie Italienne of Paris and La Comédie Française, including Arlequin poli par l’amour (Harlequin Polished by Love, 1720), La surprise de l’amour (The Triumph of Love, 1723), L’Ile des esclaves (Slave Island, 1725), Le Jeu de l’amour et du hazard (The Game of Love and Chance, 1730), and Les Fausses Confidences (False Confessions, 1737). He also published a number of essays, as well as two important though unfinished novels: La Vie de Marianne (The Life of Marianne, 1731–41) and Le Paysan parvenu (The Fortunate Peasant, 1735). Marivaux was interested in human behaviors and the way language expresses the contradictions between Reason and Sentiment and exposes human nature.
ABOUT THE CONSTANT PLAYERS
The Constant Players (Les Acteurs de bonne foi) is a comedy in one act that was initially intended for a private audience. The play was published in 1757, a year before Pierre Gouthière became a master chaser and gilder. Marivaux’s final play blurs the lines between reality and fiction, between the real world and dreams, between the actor and his role, and between the actor and the audience. Madame Amelin, a rich widow, is resigned to the marriage of her nephew, Eraste, to the provincial and less rich Angélique, daughter to Madame Argante. The scene is set in the country house of Madame Argante, who does not realize that Madame Amelin expects a play to be performed for her entertainment. The play is to be directed by Merlin, Eraste’s cunning servant and Marivaux’s alter ego. The intrigue begins with the rehearsal of the company of amateurs. When Madame Argante hears of the project, a new comedy starts, with Madame Amelin pulling the strings.
ABOUT MÉRIAM KORICHI
Mériam Korichi is a philosopher and stage director. Her publications include A Treatise of Good Sentiments (2016), Letters on Evil (2006), Notions of Aesthetics (2007), Notions of Ethics (2009), and Andy Warhol (2009). She has worked at the Comédie-Française (Les Précieuses ridicules, La Grande Magia, The Tragedy of Hamlet), the Bouffes du Nord (The Comedy of Errors), the Montpellier Opera (Zaide), and the Opera Comique (Béatrice et Bénédicte, Le Freischütz). She also writes regularly about contemporary art. In 2010, in Paris, she created “A Night of Philosophy,” an acclaimed all-night event gathering philosophers and artists, and has since staged it in London, Berlin, New York, Helsinki, and at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
The Fragonard Room, The Frick Collection, New York; photo: Michael Bodycomb