September 2008, Volume 12, Number 7

Cultural Spotlight

French Classic Gets South Florida Treatment

In the 17th century French farce Le Médecin malgré lui/A Doctor in Spite of Himself, Jean Poguelin (better known by the moniker Molière) satirizes the medical profession. The main character, Sganarelle, is an alcoholic lumberjack who, despite his idiocy, manages to pass for a reputable doctor.

In one memorable scene, Sganarelle is reminded by his patient that, contrary to what he had said, the heart was on the left side of the body and the liver on the right.

“That was formerly so,” Sganarelle says, “but we have changed all of that.”

Some critics have argued A Doctor in Spite of Himself is one of the funniest of Molière’s shorter plays, “much more polished and finished than the others I’ve read,” wrote one.

A Spanish-language adaptation – El médico a palos – was staged at the Lehman Theater at MDC’s North Campus recently, breathing a fresh perspective into the piece for a new audience.

Max Ferrá’s adaptation, performed by members of the Actor’s Arena, stuck close to the original. A woman decides to get even with her husband by telling others he is a famous doctor. When two servants go seeking a doctor to cure their lord’s daughter, the wife tells them about her husband’s expertise, but warns them he won’t practice medicine unless they first beat him.

— Staff Report

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