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Celebrating 400 Years of Molière


‘Late bloomer’ … detail from portrait of Molière in the role of Caesar in Corneille’s La Mort de Pompée, c.1658, attributed to Nicolas Mignard. Photograph: Granger Historical Picture Archive/Alamy

January 15, 2022 marked iconic French playwright Molière’s 400th birthday!

On the occasion of this unique anniversary, 2022 will be dedicated to Molière’s theater: Molière 2022. This celebration was conceived by an international network of researchers to study the new uses and interpretations of Molière in our globalized world.   

Molière, the man who has “a thousand faces and a thousand theaters,” according to Eric Ruf, Director of the Comédie-Française—known as La Maison de Molière, or the House of Molière—will be celebrated throughout 2022 during various cultural events in France and the United States.  

Events in France:  

Entirely dedicated to Molière, the Comédie-Française’s program will offer twelve original productions directed by Ivo van Hove, Julie Deliquet, Lilo Baur, and Louise Vignaud as well as the revival of a selection of plays by Molière from mid-January to mid-July. 

In particular, the first version of Tartuffe (Le Tartuffe ou l’hypocrite), directed by Ivo van Hove, will be performed at the Comédie-Française from January 15 to April 24, which hasn’t been seen at the legendary theatre since it was banned by Louis XIV after its first performance in 1664. 

The celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Patron, as he’s called by the Comédie-Française, doesn’t stop there—it continues on the internet with the posting of new theatrical productions and roundtables!   

Numerous meetings, readings, and conferences will be organized within the Comédie-Française, several of which will be broadcast both in theaters (in association with Pathé Live) and on television (in partnership with France Television).   

The Comédie-Française has also partnered with several radio stations to create content related to Molière, including RFI, France Inter, and France Musique.   

Several venues will present exhibitions related to Molière and his work, and a virtual exhibition was organized by the Société d’histoire du théâtre that shows all the traces left by Molière in their archives. 

In partnership with numerous international universities, several symposia, meetings, and conferences will be held in France and abroad.  

Events in the United States:  

The party dedicated to Molière continues across the Atlantic.  

KC Molière in 2022 – Kansas City  

Taking place in Kansas City, Missouri, from January 12 to June 12, the KC Molière 400 in 2022 festival showcases the multicultural potential and contemporary relevance of Molière.   

Performances of Molière’s plays such as The PestsTartuffeThe Imaginary Invalid; and a contemporary adaptation of Sganarelle—entitled Secrets & Lies—will play throughout the year in Kansas City.   

The celebration will be in full swing on May 1 with the free 400th anniversary party at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.   

Molière Celebration at the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF)  

From March 10 to 12 at 7:30pm, a selection of excerpts from Molière’s plays directed by Lucie Tiberghien will be performed at FIAF Florence Gould Hall. These 17th century satires have lost none of their relevance today.   

On Thursday, March 23, at 7pm, in partnership with the Library of America, acclaimed author Adam Gopnick and broadway director Erica Schmidt will host a talk in the FIAF Skyroom that will shed new light on Molière’s biting wit about the society of his time.  

On March 30 at 7pm, FIAF will screen a never-before-seen broadcast in French with English subtitles of Tartuffe ou l’hypocrite directed by Ivo van Hove for the Comédie-Française. The original version, censored in 1664 by the king at its first performance, has been reimagined by Ivo van Hove in a modern staging that challenges the limits of classical theater.    

Molière in the Park – New York City  

Molière in the Park is a festival dedicated to the performance of Molière’s theater in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.   

Ingenious, free, and inclusive, the plays capture the spirit of Brooklynites celebrating Brooklyn’s cultural blend.  

More information to come on the festival’s events and schedule.  

Decentering Molière – New York University & Yale University – New York City  

The 400th anniversary of Jean-Baptiste Poquelin is the occasion for New York University and Yale University to organize an international conference on April 14-16, 2022: Decentering Molière.   

The discussion will broaden the framework of study of Molière and his plays to include other authors, fields of study, genres, arts, and places.  

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