From Thursday, March 23rd through Sunday the 25th, Meridian High School’s theater company will be performing “The Love Doctor,” a french comedy written by 17th-century playwright Molière. This will be the second comedy the company has performed since last year’s spring show “The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged).”
Also referred to as “Love Is the Best Medicine,” Moliere’s “The Love Doctor” is the story of a young woman in love with a “dashing” young man. When the woman’s mother engages her to an older man, the woman pretends to be sick to try to get out of the marriage. Meanwhile, the woman’s sister gets a “fool” to pretend to be a doctor to take care of her, after which then “madness ensues.”
Following the success of “The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged),” Meridian’s theater director/teacher Shawn Northrip said he wanted to look for another opportunity for “laughs.” Having been a fan of Moliere’s “The Flying Doctor” — “The Love Doctor” being a short part of that play — Northrip said his growing interest sent him “on a journey” to read other works by the French playwright to “try and find the right opportunity” for the company.
Auditions for the “The Love Doctor” consisted of Northrip looking for students “who took the material and made me laugh.” He said the designing of the set was a “beast,” as it was driven by the “ambitions” of students in the school’s Technical Theater class.
Meridian junior Julia Wolf, portraying the character Monsieur de Fonandres in the production, said she wanted to audition because she wanted to get involved with theater after being unable to enroll in Theater class this school year.
Wolf said her favorite part of this year’s production is the “witty, well-timed jokes and misunderstandings” throughout the show, as well as working with fellow cast members who are “so much fun to work with.” She said audiences should look forward to each character’s “quirk,” whether it be their “movements, voice or props.”
As for her character Monsieur de Fonandres, Wolf said she loves “how arrogant and funny” he is.
“[Monsieur de Fonandres] thinks his way of medicine is the best and will cure everyone, when really he’s a 17th-century doctor who has no idea what he is doing,” Wolf said.
As with every production of a show, one challenge Northrip said he faced was trying to keep the story “funny,” as the cast and crew have had to rehearse for eight weeks now. To keep the “energy up,” Northrip held “crazy rehearsals,” such as “wear funny clothes” day and “have a funny walk” day.
Without wanting to reveal much about the show, Northrip said his favorite part of the show is a moment toward the end that makes him “cackle every time” and that the audience should look out for.
“I hope the cast gets a lot of laughs as [a] reward for all of their hard work,” Northrip said. “The audience can expect the cast will go to any length to entertain them.”
“The Love Doctor” will be performed on March 23, 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. The show will be streamed on Showtix4u.com on March 26. Tickets will be sold at the door; $5 for students and $10 for general admission. A sign language support showing will be on March 25.