Arts and Entertainment
May 28, 2015From: International City Theatre
Long Beach, CA - Raucously witty and devilishly ribald, love and money are at stake in David Ives' hilarious, rhyming "translaptation" of The Heir Apparent by Jean-FranÃ§ois Regnard. Comedic director extraordinaire Matt Walker directs the Los Angeles premiere of Regnard's newly rediscovered 18th century comic masterpiece for a June 19 opening at International City Theatre. Two low-priced previews are set for June 17 and 18.
Meet young Eraste. He has it all: good looks, a beautiful fiancÃ©e and a huge inheritance from an ancient uncle. There's just one little problem: the uncle won't die and he's bequeathed his entire fortune to a distant relative. Oh, and did we mention the uncle also intends to marry Eraste's fiancÃ©e? What's a fine 18th-century fellow to do? What else but enlist the aid of his resourceful servant, Crispin, who could "out-Figaro" Figaro. The ICT production stars Wallace Angus Bruce as our young hero, Eraste; Matthew Henerson as Geronte, the miserly old uncle; Eden Malyn as Lisette, a down-to-earth maid; Suzanne Jolie Narbonne as the charming and beautiful Isabelle; Adam J. Smith as Eraste's crafty manservant, Crispin; Rebecca Spencer as Madame Argante, Isabelle's dowager mother; and Adam von Almen as Scruple, a lawyer.
A "translaptation" according to Ives, who coined the word is a translation with a heavy dose of adaptation. In The Heir Apparent, he explains, "the farce is turned up all the way to 11. And what could be more up-to-date than Regnard's characters' almost feral obsession with money? The off-color jokes made me howl even while I marveled at his facility at rendering them in such graceful couplets. I needed only a single reading to know I had to take on the piece."
At the turn of the 18th century, Jean-FranÃ§ois Regnard appeared to be MoliÃ¨re's heir apparent. His first full-length comedy, Le Joueur (The Gamester) was played at the ComÃ©die FranÃ§aise (MoliÃ¨re's theater) every year until his death, and he had just debuted his masterpiece, Le LÃ©gataire Universel (The Heir Apparent). More than 300 years later, Regnard's name is virtually unknown in the American theater. Lost over three centuries of political upheavals and changing tastes, his work is rarely translated and even more rarely produced. In 2011, Ives was commissioned by the Shakespeare Theatre Company's ReDiscovery Series, for which he had previously "translapted" Pierre Cornielle's The Liar, to bring the rambunctious characters, knockabout plots and expertly rhymed couplets of Regnard's play back to the stage.
Le LÃ©gataire Universel premiered at the ComÃ©die FranÃ§aise in 1708. In 2011 303 years later David Ives' The Heir Apparent premiered at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington D.C. In 2014, it opened at the Classic Stage Company, where it was the recipient of an Outer Critics Circle nomination for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play. In his New York Times Critic's Pick review, Charles Isherwood hailed Ives' adaptation as "lavishly spiced with contemporary slang that springs from the prancing verse like little jack-in-the-boxes and never fails to delight." The Wall Street Journal warned, "Prepare to laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh!"
David Ives is widely known for his one-act plays, the greater part of which are collected in the anthologies All In The Timing (originally an evening of six one-acts that won the Outer Critics Circle Playwriting Award), Time Flies and The Other Woman and Other Short Plays. He has been included in the Best Short Plays series seven times to date. His full-length plays include Venus In Fur; The Liar (adapted from Corneille's comedy, and winner of the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play); New Jerusalem: The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza (winner of the Hull-Warriner Award); The School for Lies (adapted from MoliÃ¨re's The Misanthrope); Is He Dead? (adapted from Mark Twain); Irving Berlin's White Christmas; Ancient History; Don Juan in Chicago; The Land of Cockaigne; and Polish Joke. He has translated Feydeau's A Flea In Her Ear (winner of a Joseph Jefferson Award) as well as Yasmina Reza's A Spanish Play, wrote the libretto of an opera (The Secret Garden, with music by Greg Pliska, which premiered at the Pennsylvania Opera Theatre in 1991), and has adapted 32 shows for New York's celebrated Encores! series of American musicals in concert. He is also the author of three young-adult novels: Monsieur Eek, Scrib, and Voss. A former Guggenheim Fellow in playwriting and a graduate of Yale School of Drama, he lives in New York City. He is on the Council of the Dramatists Guild of America.
Matt Walker is an eight-time Ovation Award winner, as well as the recipient of an O.C. Weekly Award for Career Achievement, the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Margaret Harford Award for Sustained Excellence in Theater, and the LADCC's Joel Hirschorn Award for Outstanding Achievement in Musical Theater. As artistic director of the Troubadour Theater Company, he has adapted and directed over 30 original productions at venues including the Carpenter Center, La Mirada Theater for the Performing Arts, Getty Villa, Roxy, Falcon Theatre, Ford Theatres and Laguna Playhouse, among others. As a performer. he appeared at ICT in Lend Me a Tenor, Noises Off and Loot. He has trained with notable performers and organizations including Bill Irwin, Second City Improv, the Royal Shakespeare Co., the San Francisco Mime Troupe and Cirque du Soleil. He is a graduate of Ringling Bros. Clown College and did time as a circus clown for Ringling. He currently serves as adjunct professor of clowning and commedia for the MFA acting program at USC, in addition to his duties as a show director for Universal Studios Hollywood.
International City Theatre was born in 1985 when Shashin Desai opened a 99-seat black box theater on the campus of Long Beach City College where he was chairman of the drama department. From the beginning, the fledgling company attracted critical acclaim and multiple awards including the Los Angeles Drama Circle's prestigious Margaret Harford Award for "Sustained Excellence in Theater." Determined to build a high quality professional, mid-size theater company in the City of Long Beach, Desai was delighted to receive encouragement from the Mayor and City Council to move International City Theatre downtown to the Center Theater at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. By 1996, ICT was producing simultaneous seasons on the college campus and at the Performing Arts Center. In 1999, the Long Beach City Council proclaimed International City Theater the "Professional Resident Theater Company" at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. A year later, ICT made the choice to invest entirely in the downtown, mid-size theater with an annual five-play season. When Desai retired in 2011, ICT's board of directors unanimously approved caryn desai, ICT's general manager since 1990, to take the reins as producing artistic director. The 2015 season marks the fifth under the leadership of caryn desai.
Set design for the ICT production is by Christopher Scott Murillo, lighting design is by Jeremy Pivnick, costume design is by Kim DeShazo, sound design is by Mark McClain Wilson, props are by Patty, Gordon and Christopher Briles, wigs are by Anthony Gagliardi, casting is by Michael Donovan Casting and the production stage manager is Pat Loeb.
Previews: June 17 and June 18 at 8 p.m.
Performances: June 19 July 12
- Wednesday at 8 p.m.: June 17 only (preview)
- Thursdays at 8 p.m.: June 18 (preview), 25; July 2, 9
- Fridays at 8 p.m.: June 19 (Opening Night), 26; July 3, 10
- Saturdays at 8 p.m.: June 20, 27; July 11 (dark July 4)
- Sundays at 2 p.m.: June 21, 28; July 5, 12
International City Theatre
Long Beach Performing Arts Center
300 East Ocean Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90802
- Opening Night (June 19) : $54 (includes post-show reception with the actors)
- Saturdays and Sundays (except June 19): $48
- Thursdays and Fridays: $46
- Previews: $34
For reservations and information, call the ICT Box Office at 562-436-4610 or www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.