Student actors deliver a big hit with “The Misanthrope”

Cadence Neenan, Staff Reporter

“The Misanthrope,” written by French playwright Molière, first performed in 1666, might seem like an odd, outdated choice for college theatre. 

Its performance by the Tulane Department of Theatre and Dance, however, was lively and entertaining, despite many of opening night attendees attending solely for theatre class requirements.

The show follows Alceste, played by senior Josh Bernard, and his frustration with the two-faced nature of the society he is forced to take part in, a sentiment many college students can relate to.

It’s not just this message that caused the show to strike such a chord with students. The characters are slightly exaggerated portrayals of the people you love to hate on campus. Oronte, the guy in the flannel reciting painfully mediocre poetry who takes himself just a little too seriously, played hilariously by Jake Szasz. Olivia Ros portrays Arsinoé, the deeply unattractive, nasal-toned girl always accessorized with a back-handed compliment and a vape.

While the play itself, dated by a vocabulary drawn straight from an SAT prep book and a mildly irritating constant rhyme scheme, might not appeal to all Tulane students, the acting in it should. Every character has a distinct, vibrant personality played with passion by an energetic cast. 

True, only two characters, Philinte, played by John Berner, and Éliante, played by Veronica Bird, are actually likeable, but there’s no fun in seeing a show where you can’t complain about almost every character. 

Plus, the only two characters you actually root for end up together, so there’s the bonus satisfaction of seeing your “The Misanthrope” one true pairing coupled off adorably at the end of the show.

The vivacious, spirited cast of “The Misanthrope” puts a spring in the step of a centuries-old play — making it a must-see for Tulane students. The show runs through Sunday, and tickets are $8 for students.

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