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Molière à la Richard Wilbur

A Live Conversation and Lively Performance

Monday, May 3, 2010

7:00 PM

Poet Richard Wilbur will discuss his passion for translating Molière with Dana Gioia, before a live studio audience and through a live video webcast. This special free event will also include performances of select scenes from the classic farces, demonstrating firsthand the delightfulness of Wilbur’s well-turned verse.

A revelatory Comédie Français production of The Misanthrope in 1948 Paris first inspired Wilbur to try his hand at translating Molière, which in the decades to follow has become part of his lifework. These renowned translations have brought one of Western literature’s greatest masters of comedy to English-speaking audiences and readers throughout the world.

“No major American poet today has had a longer or closer relationship with theater than Richard Wilbur. It would be hard to overpraise Wilbur’s special genius for verse translation,” says Gioia.

“My notion of translation is that you try to bring it back alive,” Wilbur explains, “What you want to do is to be as perfectly the slave of it as you can be. My chief virtue as a translator is stubbornness: I will spend a while spring day getting one or two lines right.”

This event celebrates the publication of a new series from TCG Books, with four volumes of Wilbur’s translations for years available only in acting editions—as well as L.A. Theatre Works’ audio theatre collection of some of Molière’s best-loved plays.


Richard Easton : Awarded the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play in 2001 for his role in Tom Stoppard's The Invention of Love.

Emily Bergl : Starred on Broadway in The Lion in Winter opposite Laurence Fishburne and Stockard Channing, for which she won the FANY award for Best Broadway Debut.

Hamish Linklater : will be appearing in the park this summer in The Winter's Tale and Merchant of Venice.

Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre, exists to strengthen, nurture and promote the professional not-for-profit American theatre.  Its programs serve nearly 700 member theatres and affiliate organizations and more than 13,000 individuals nationwide.

L.A. Theatre Works is a non-profit arts organization based in Los Angeles whose mission for over 25 years has been to present and preserve classic and contemporary plays, making great theatre available to the widest possible audience through public radio, internet, audio publishing and education and library outreach initiatives.

This event was funded by the Sidney E. Frank Foundation.


Emily Bergl, Richard Easton, Dana Gioia, Hamish Linklater and Richard Wilbur