Coproduction With Griffin Theatre Company
Juliet and Clinton are in love. Guileless, sweet, all-encompassing love. But love is not without impediments.
Standing in the way of their eternal happiness are Juliet’s mother and sister, whose disapproval is of the most high-brow kind.
This is the world of The Literati. It’s sassy, it’s silly, it’s Sydney.
Written by great Australian playwright Justin Fleming after Molière’s Les Femmes Savantes, and fresh from writing the acclaimed Tartuffe (2014) the play is audaciously brought screaming into 21st century Australia and it is fabulous.
In partnership with Griffin Theatre Company, and directed by Griffin’s Artistic Director Lee Lewis with award-winning playwright and actor Kate Mulvany (Bell Shakespeare’s Tartuffe, Macbeth and Julius Caesar).
Amanda is trying to convince her younger sister Juliet, not to marry. Juliet should instead dedicate herself to intellectual pursuits. But Juliet has chosen Clinton, her sister’s former admirer, to be her husband.
Amanda is incensed. She is certain Clinton still loves her. However Clinton claims that Juliet is the one he loves, despite Juliet’s mother, Philomena’s opposition to the match. Juliet’s father, Christopher, and Vadius, a visiting scholar, agree to support the match.
Philomena is in a terrible mood and uses the excuse to dismiss the tart-tonged maid, Martina, for having disregarded grammatical rules. Christopher who was brave in Philomena’s absence, invariably bows to her wishes, which turns out to be a plan to marry off Juliet to elitist poet Tristan Tosser.
Philomena and Amanda go into raptures when Tristan Tosser treats them to ridiculous verse he has written for the Tuesday Book Club. But Vadius arrives on the scene and denigrates Tristan Tosser’s poetry, leaving an uproar in her wake.
Amanda accuses Clinton of being unfaithful. Clinton says he is not the man Amanda claims he is. Rather than lose him, Amanda says she is willing to marry him, but it is too late: Clinton will keep his lover’s word to Juliet. Philomena reminds him that she has other plans for her younger daughter.
A note is brought accusing Tristan Tosser of plagiarism and informing Philomena that the would-be poet wants only to get his hands on the family’s money. To spite those who oppose her plans, Philomena decides that the marriage will take place that very evening.
In vain Juliet tries to reason with Tristan Tosser. Christopher again vows that she will marry Clinton.
When the Attorney who is to draw up the marriage contract arrives, there is some confusion as there are two grooms for one bride. Suddenly a letter arrives bearing bad news: Philomena and Christopher have lost all their money. Tristan Tosser immediately leaves the scene: he has no desire to marry a girl against her will. And minus her money.
Philomena has finally seen through her hero, but Juliet now refuses to marry Clinton because he is penniless. All ends well, however, as the letters were a hoax dreamed up by Vadius and executed by Christopher to reveal the true nature of Tristan Tosser. As for Amanda, she will have to find consolation in philosophy.
By Justin Fleming
After Moliére’s Les Femmes Savantes
Director Lee Lewis
SBW Stables Theatre
Previews 27 – 31 May
In Season 1 June – 16 July
27 July – Sat 30 July