In December, when most theaters are doing holiday shows, Theater Artists Olympia (TAO) presents Molière’s 17th-century farce The Physician in Spite of Himself. TAO’s version of the French comedy, as adapted by Philip Wickstrom and the TAO collective and directed by Pug Bujeaud, is set in Louisiana in the 1880s.
Sganarelle, played by Robert McConkey, is a poor woodworker who drinks a lot and beats his wife. Through a bizarre set of circumstances, he finds himself in a predicament wherein he must pretend to be a doctor. He discovers he likes it.
“I think I had better stick to physic all my life. I find it the best of trades; for, whether we are right or wrong, we are paid equally well,” Sganarelle says. “A shoemaker in making shoes can’t spoil a scrap of leather without having to pay for it, but we can spoil a man without paying one farthing for the damage done. The blunders are not ours, and the fault is always that of the dead man.”
Bujeaud said, “In these times when everywhere I turn there is more tragedy in the world, I have needed to step back and ground myself. I simply wanted a break from the angst, from the anger, and to have some great fun and share it with both my theater coworkers and the larger theater community. Physician in Spite of Himself is just that. It is funny, it is naughty, it lends itself to inclusion. I was gifted a copy of a translation that my college theater professor did for a production I was in years ago, with the encouragement to take it and run with it. So I’ve recruited some of the best talent in the area to do just that.”
In addition to McConkey, the play features local actors Mark Alford, Jess Allen, Marko Bujeaud, Alayna Chamberland, Heather Christopher, George Dougherty, Sara Geiger, Gabe Hacker and Vanessa Postil.
What: The Physician in Spite of Himself
Where: The Midnight Sun,
113 Columbia St. N, Olympia
When: 8 p.m. Dec. 2-3, 9-11 and 15-17
How much: $15
Learn more: 360-359-3149 | Artful.ly