Social Climbing with Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme

27th June 2023
BY James Livingstone, Head of Modern Languages

Last week, the French Department staged the first play in French at Winchester in ten years. Fifteen pupils from years 9, 10, and 12 performed in front of full-house audiences for three consecutive nights with a sparkling adaption of Molière’s farcical satire of social climbing, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (1670).

Performed entirely in French with accompanying English surtitles, this production brought some of the most extraordinary and unusual talents of Winchester pupils and staff to the fore.

Molière’s text is a difficult and demanding one even for native French speakers, and for a group of school pupils to grasp hold of it with such confidence, sensitivity and flair highlights the intellectual and theatrical brilliance of this exceptional cast.

The lavish costumes and detailed set designs conjured a flavour of seventeenth-century Paris, while the actors brought their characters to life with remarkable energy, wit and conviction.

Special congratulations must go to the whole cast and crew, as well as to directors Monsieur Fondain and Madame Lombardo, who have worked tirelessly over the past few months, and whose expertise enabled this play to be such a roaring success.

We also thank Constantin (C) for the use of his excellent photographs.

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