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Olney Theatre to offer ‘Fickle: A Fancy French Farce’ in March

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Olney Theatre Center, will present the World Premiere Adaptation of “Fickle: A Fancy French Farce” March 1-26 in the Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab.

Adapted by Meg Miroshnik from Pierre de Marivaux’s 18th century comedy, “The Double Inconstancy,” the play tells the story of a simple country couple, Harlequin and Silvia, whose lives are turned upside down when a powerful prince decides he wants Silvia for himself. While Marivaux employed stock characters from the Commedia dell’ Arte tradition to skewer the whims of the wealthy and the power of our primal appetites, Miroshnik updates the telling to also question the rules that govern love, class and even theatre-going.
Jason Loewith, Olney Theatre Center’s artistic director says in a press release, “When looking for something lighter to follow ‘Sweeney Todd,’ I was really attracted to Marivaux, a master of French satire. The problem was that three centuries later, despite their charm, his plays are, frankly, pretty misogynist. And stodgy. That meant we had an opportunity – if we could find the perfect playwright – to adapt the story for the 21st century. I think we did in Meg Miroshnik, an early-career writer I’ve been following for years, a craftsperson of great wit and heart and fierce intelligence. She’s given us a delightful, quirky and unabashedly anachronistic take on Marivaux’s story.”
Miroshnik agrees with Loewith about the need for an update: “I think the biggest difference in my adaptation is in questioning the assumptions of the original. A lot of the plot hinges on older notions of nobility, honor and marriage. To make the play emotionally accessible to a contemporary audience, I needed to move some of the social context of the story into the present day — even if the setting is still sort of timeless.”
Returning to Olney Theatre to direct is Eleanor Holdridge, who helmed last season’s acclaimed production of “Hay Fever.” Her recent work also includes “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” (Round House Theatre), the world premieres of Caleen Jennings’ “Queens Girl in the World” (Theater J) and “Darius & Twig” (Kennedy Center).

Tickets are $45, with discounts available for groups, seniors, military and students.
Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:45 p.m.; matinees on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 1:45 p.m. No matinee performance on March 1, 4 or 15.

An Audio-described performance will be offered March 15 at 7:45 p.m. and a Sign-interpreted performance will be offered March 23 at 7:45 p.m.

A Special Discussion, “The Art of Adaptation,” will be held at 5 p.m. March 4 at 5 p.m. How does a contemporary writer make a centuries-old play relevant?
For more information, visit www.olneytheatre.org or call 301-924-3400.

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