The Learned Ladies

by  Freyda Thomas

Full Length Play, Comedy  /  4m, 6f

Translated and adapted by Freyda Thomas from the original by Moliere

Read more +

The Learned Ladies

by  Freyda Thomas

License Estimator

Use this tool for cost estimates based on your specific needs.

  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    4m, 6f
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    From Off-Broadway
  • Suggested Use

    Suggested Use

    • Cutting Approved for Competition
    • UIL Approved
    • Competition or audition material

Additional Info

Ms. Thomas’ previous and similar rollicking version of Moliere's Les Femmes Savantes delighted audiences off-Broadway in 1991, in a production starring Jean Stapleton as Philamente, a blossoming literary lady on the verge of coming into her own. It was re-imagined in 1993 at ACT in San Francisco, with many productions throughout the country since then.  During the Salon movement of the 17th century, women, thirsty for knowledge and freedom, began to read, discuss and absorb all the learning they could now get their hands on. Frequently, into that mix came sycophants and opportunists, to take advantage of the budding but not fully formed intelligence of the Women's Movement. Enter Trissotin, a mediocre poet with a lot of sex appeal and little literary talent, who all but seduces Philamente, determined to be at the forefront of the movement. Equally determined to marry him off to her younger daughter (who just wants to marry her sweetheart Lycandre and raise children), she bullies her meek husband into tacitly agreeing, and the machinations that follow between family members, visiting poets and maids who refuse to learn proper French are predictably and delightfully Molière. This version strays from a strictly literal translation of the play, often employing anachronisms in the rhymed couplets that may appall purists, but have delighted audiences since its original inception. In this new version, there are 6 women and 4 men, and the familiar "Voice of Reason", present in almost every Moliere play and always a male, is now, for the first time, FEMALE!  If you want your audiences to roll with laughter as they recognize their hilarious selves in the midst of a “Feminist culture,” this version is for you. 
Read more +

Reviews

REVIEWS 

"The show’s most consistently enlivening presence is that of translator and adapter Freyda Thomas, who translates the playwright’s alexandrine verse of 1672 into vital musical forms marked by crisp and unexpected rhymes, period echoes and cheerfully clanging anachronisms….Thomas harmonizes the classical and the contemporary to make us hear Moliere’s wit in an appealing new key." - San Francisco Chronicle 

"Flavoring her rhymed couplets with contemporary anachronism, adapter Freyda Thomas has devised a pop version of Moliere that amalgamates styles and periods entertainingly. As a result, Ms. Thomas serves the ends of the 17thcentury French classic and the latter day spectator. The outcome is general satisfaction and general merriment." - Christian Science Monitor

"Thomas' modernisms smartly put the satire's emphasis on the pomposity rather than the feminism of the Precieuse Movement. " - Variety

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance

Production

Details

  • Setting: The home of Chrysale and Philamente.

Casting

4m, 6f
MARTINE - the maid, street smart and sassy (any age)
CHRYSALE - husband of Philamente, father of Henriette and Armande, master of the house (50-60)
ARISTA - Sister to Chrysale, the voice of reason (50s)
HENRIETTE - Daughter to Chrysale & Philamente, sweet (20s) 
CLITANDRE - Henriette’s suitor, hotheaded but a good guy (30s)
TRISSOTIN - a house guest and a bad poet (40s)
VADIUS - another poet, rival to Trissotin (30s)
JUDGE - played by Vadius
PHILAMENTE - wife of Chrysale, a liberated woman (50s)
ARMANDE - Older sister of Henriette, a wannabe liberated woman (30s)
BELISE - Sister to Chrysale, very eccentric but lovable (60s)
See all +

Cast Attributes

  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)

Resources

More

Authors

Freyda Thomas

Freyda Thomas

The Learned Ladies premiered at the Classic Stage Company Theatre in New York City in February of 1991 under the direction of Richard Seyd.

Now Playing

Community Experiences