On Friday, November 6 and Saturday, November 7, Cairn students will take the stage in Chatlos Chapel for a rendition of Moliére’s 1673 play, The Imaginary Invalid.
Known in its original French title as “The Hypochondriac,” this story follows Argan, a self-centered man who constantly seeks unnecessary medical attention for himself, manipulating those around him to get it. Argan navigates his relationships with his second wife, Béline, who awaits his death and inheritance; his daughter, Angélique, who is in love with Cléante; and his witty housemaid, Toinette. Despite Angélique’s love for Cléante, Argan plans to arrange a marriage between her and a rich, aspiring young doctor, Thomas Diaforious, in an attempt to secure more medical attention for himself. With this love-triangle, Béline’s plots for an inheritance, and Argan’s constant antics, it is up to Toinette to ensure the family does not end in destruction.
The selection of this play is timely for several reasons. With concerns about COVID-19 and rehearsal schedules for students on campus, this play calls for a smaller cast and can allow for more distancing on stage. Additionally, the main character is a hypochondriac, which allows masks to be seamlessly incorporated as a prop. Ultimately, though, this play was chosen because it is a comedy, and as Cairn professor and play director Dr. Mike Breece explained, “we could all use a bit of humor and fun in our lives right now.”
Junior Kayla Powlison is serving in the role of assistant director for the production, but she noted, “I’ll make a tiny cameo in Act III, so keep an eye out for that.” Kayla expressed excitement to be part of the first non-musical play that the Cairn Opera Theater has performed in many years. For Kayla, it’s the first play she has been a part of since Pirates of Penzance in Spring 2019.
Preparing for this play has served as a welcome opportunity for Kayla and her fellow performers to come together during this unique semester: “It’s been an absolute joy to watch our actors grow in their skills, to laugh until we have tears streaming down our faces, to play with props and costumes, and to pray together. Doing theater together turns you into a family.”
An in-person performance of The Imaginary Invalid will take place in Chatlos Chapel for students, faculty, and staff on Friday, November 6 at 7 pm. A second performance will be live-streamed on Saturday, November 7 at 2 pm, which is available for free to the public.
For more information or to secure your live stream tickets, visit cairn.edu/tickets.
In August of 2022, Dr. Debbie Lynn Wolf, chair of Music Education in the School of Music, was one of 40 music researchers selected to present papers for the Research