Le Malade Imaginaire in Europe

I said in an earlier article that Moliere’s Le Malade Imaginaire was frequently revived throughout Europe. And to prove it, let’s take a tour of the continent, to see a whole lot of productions and a whole lot of Louisons with their bottoms in peril! There are eleven countries on our itinerary, and since every journey starts at home, our first port of call is bound to be…

France

To be specific, we begin in Picardy, home of the Theatre de la Ramée company, who produced the play in 2011. The good news is that it’s OTK and Louison is wearing a short skirt. The bad news is that it’s shot from a distance and the spanking doesn’t get as far as contact.

Compagnie Alegria produced a touring version in 2014, and staged the scene as a caning, with Louison bending over a desk. Maybe not how I prefer to see it, but even so, this video trailer shows a triumph of comic timing and physical theater:

And finally in France, we head east to witness the 2014 production at Pfetterhouse in Alsace:

01 2014 Pfetterhouse02 2014 pfetterhouse

From here, it would be an easy matter to cross directly into Germany, but first we need to take a small detour to…

Switzerland

… where the 2010 production at St Niklaus saw Louison bending over the bed to be caned:

03 2010 Turnhalle St Niklaus rehearsal

And so, as anticipated, we pass into…

Germany

… where Le Malade Imaginaire is exceptionally popular, especially at high schools. It’s with a high school in Freiburg that our Deutsche itinerary begins, and though the 2002 production did the scene as a caning, it features a most welcome choice of costume for Louison:

04 2002 Wentzinger Gymnasium 1

05 2002 Wentzinger Gymnasium 206 2002 Wentzinger Gymnasium 307 2002 Wentzinger Gymnasium 4

Northward now to Karlsruhe, where the play was on offer at the Sandkorn Theater in 2009:

08 2009 Sandkorn 109 2009 Sandkorn 210 2009 Sandkorn 3

Next stop Cologne, where the play was produced by the Theater das Spielbrett in 2011:

11 2012 Theater das Spielbrett

Followed by a trip to the Prinz Regent Theater in Bochum:

12 Prinz Regent Theatre Bochum

At Dorsten, the play was produced in both 1999…

… and 2015:
13 2015 Dorsten14 2015 Dorsten

Back to school now, for a 2009 production at Warstein:

15 2009 Warstein Gymnasium with Magdalena Kleinow as Louison

The carpet-beater also saw service at Willebadessen in 2012:
16 2012 Willebadessen

Osnabruck in 2014 was the scene of yet another school production:

17 2014 Angelaschule Osnabruck

18 2014 Angelaschule Osnabruck06 2014 Angelaschule Osnabruck

And here’s the work of an amateur group in Rotenburg in 2014, with Jurgen Cassier and Sofie Stallzus:

19 Rotenburg20 Rotenburg21 Rotenburg

malade-2014-rotenburg-w-jurgen-cassier-sofie-stallzus

And with that, we bid farewell to glorious Germany, and cross the border into…

Denmark

… where we find two productions, both from 2011, both OTK…

22 2011 Denmark

… but one with a somewhat stricter Argan:

Or putting it another way, we’re in Central Europe, where skirts are optional in mainstream spanking scenes! And with that, eastward we go to a country that no longer exists:

Czechoslovakia

And back in 1957, a touring theater company that no longer exists, whose name translates as Village Theater, staged a production with Hans Hofer as Argan and Bertha Hanich as Louison. Here’s her most perilous moment:

malade-1957-czech

And now it’s eastward again to…

Poland

… where the play was produced in Warsaw in 2011, with Andrzej Grabowski as Argan and Maria Pawlowska as Ludwisia, as she’s called in Poland. Once again, it wasn’t a proper OTK spanking, but at least Argan has a properly Central European idea of what to do with a naughty girl’s skirt:

23 Poland 2011

For a view from a different angle, here’s the trailer:

And so we travel east again, to find ourselves in…

Russia

Here’s how Anastasia Tkachenko got spanked in St Petersburg in 2012:

2012 St PetersburgSt Petersburg

And that serves to remind us that what goes for Central Europe, goes for Eastern Europe too…

South now to Novgorod, and a trailer that, unfortunately, cuts out at just the most frustrating moment:

Now a big leap south takes us to…

Romania

In Bucharest, the Midacris School of Acting put the play on in 2013. It’s a relatively extended spanking, but not OTK, and the students obviously haven’t yet learned anything about how to do convincing stage violence:

West now to…

Austria

The play was produced professionally at Linz in 2013, with Vasilii Sotke as Argan and Anna Eger as Louison. Bad luck, Anna, because we’re still in Central Europe!

24 Linz 2013 Anna Eger & Vasilii Sotke cu

Moving westward again, we come to Piber Castle, where there is a festival every year, which in 2011 included a production of Moliere’s play. This one produced a real curio. The show was publicized with a specially posed spanking picture… in which Argan (Bernd Sracnik) spanks not his daughter but his maid, Toinette, played by Agnes Julia Redl!

25 2011 Schlossfestspiele Piber

Now we slide down the Balkans to the cradle of European civilization:

Greece

A vintage production, this one, with an exciting chase and a bit of lively spanking action before Louison’s collapse.

Even more vintage next. This is from 1953, with Christopheros Nezer as Argan and Alike Bougiouklake as Louison:

1953 Greece

And now we’ve reached the Mediterranean, it’s time for a leisurely cruise westward, to…

Italy

Here’s a production from 2010:

26 Italy 2010

The Teatro Franco Parenti in Milan is another venue that has seen the play more than once. First, a while back:

And in 2015, with a different cast but essentially the same design:

Milan 2015

And finally, another westward Mediterranean trip takes us to…

Spain

… where we finish with a spanking at Saragossa:

Just as when we started, the camera could have zoomed in closer, but at least this time we get as far as some action!

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