IU Theatre director brings modern-day parodies to ‘The Imaginary Invalid’

imaginary_invalid-300x297Click below to read IU Newsroom contributor Jaclyn Lansbery’s Guest Blog for Art at IU discussing Director Gavin Cameron Webb’s stirring critique of Big Pharma in IU Theatre’s upcoming production of Moliere’s Imaginary Invalid:

ART at IU: IU Theatre director brings modern-day parodies to The Imaginary Invalid.

Sept. 26: Theatre Circle presents Dr. Alison Calhoun on Molière’s Imaginary Invalid

Courtesy of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France

“‘This Fatal Marriage’: The Critique of Opera in Molière’s Imaginary Invalid”

Molière’s Imaginary Invalid draws a very fine line between fact and fiction, since it not only presents illness and dying as its subject matter, it has gone down in the history of theater as the play during which its dramatist, playing the title role, met his own death. But Molière’s final performance was not just brought about because of bad health. His fame and the future of his comedies were also severely threatened by his once collaborator, turned rival, the opera composer Lully. This talk will look at how the more obvious subject matter of quack doctors and ridiculous medicine doubled as a clever strike at Lully and the rise of opera.

Dr. Alison Calhoun, Department of French & Italian

Dr. Alison Calhoun, Department of French & Italian

Alison Calhoun is Assistant Professor of French in IU’s Department of French and Italian. Her research focuses on the cultural and intellectual history of the Renaissance and extends to the 17th and 18th centuries to study genre, reception (theater), and morality. Her approach is interdisciplinary (philosophy and literature, music and literature) and often fits into the categories of history of the book, reception theory, and genre studies. Her forthcoming book, A Transverse Self: Montaigne and the Lives of the Philosophers, situates Montaigne and Diogenes Laertius in the history of life writing in the Renaissance and Classical Age in France.

In Calhoun’s latest research project, Motion and Emotion in Early Modern French Drama, she explores the reading, staging and stagecraft of composite drama (court ballet, machine plays, comedy-ballets, and opera). With key authors like Balthasar de Beaujoyeulx, Honorat de Bueil de Racan, Honoré D’Urfé, Jean Mairet, Pierre Corneille, Isaac de Benserade and Philippe Quinault, she aims to show that the libretto, parallel to and concurrently with the novel, trained readers not only to imagine greater fictional possibilities than before, but also to feel (sometimes to practice) more diverse emotions.