One man's idea to obtain a perfect wife is to marry his ward, whom he has made every effort to keep dumb and docile through the years, in the hopes that she will never be unfaithful.
Right. Nothing can possibly go wrong with such a plan.
Those plans unraveling make for a hysterical comedy in Molire's "The School For Wives," which opened at Coach House Theatre May 9. In the play, Arnolphe (played by Andrew Cruse) scorns the lot of married men and the women who would cheat and take advantage of them. He gleefully tells his friend Chrysalde (played by Ryan Christopher Zarecki) his "perfect" plan for a married life: marry his young ward, Agnes (played by Tess Burgler), a woman he has carefully kept ignorant from the world's temptations and influences. What Arnolphe doesn't realize is that his two faithful but dim-witted servants Alain (played by Benjamin Fortin) and Georgette (played by Katie Zarecki) have been duped into allowing the young Horace (played by Joe Pine) to visit Agnes and court her in secret. The opening night audience laughed throughout the show as Arnolphe watches his schemes compromised.
Also in the cast are Mark Stoffer, who plays a Notary, Alfred Anderson, who plays Enrique and Timothy Champion, who plays Oronte.
The cast does a commendable job in bringing out all of the comedy of this script, but Cruse deserves special kudos for filling in at the last moment in the leading role due to illness. While he needed a script on opening night, it wasn't distracting, and his delivery and facial expressions were hilarious.
Ticket and show information
"The School for Wives" will run through June 1.
Curtain times are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m. There is no show May 18.
Dinner or brunch is available to all theatre patrons prior to every performance, at the Akron Woman's City Club next door.
Tickets are $15 for other Thursday performances, and $20 for other evenings. Students are $12 for all shows.
For details or reservations, call 330-434-7741, or visit www.coachhousetheatre.com.
Coach House Theatre is at 732 West Exchange St. in Akron, next to the Akron Woman's City Club, and at the corner of West Exchange and North Portage Path.
Coach House will give a free staged reading of "Last Romance" by Joe Di Pietro May 27 starting at 7 p.m. The reading features Richard Figge, Dede Klein and Maureen Johnson. Reservations are recommended.
Next season's shows announced
Coach House also announced its 2014-15 season of shows, which will include:
"Over the River and Through the Woods" by Joe DiPietro Oct. 2 through 19;
"Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks" by Richard Alfieri, Nov. 20 through Dec. 14;
"Towards Zero" by Agatha Christie, Jan. 29 through Feb. 22;
"Children of a Lesser God" by Mark Medoff, March 26 through April 19; and
"The Foreigner" by Larry Shue, May 14 through June 7.
Coach House also will bring back its Elder Theatre Series for the third year. This is a series of one-evening staged readings. The readings are free and start at 7 p.m., but reservations are encouraged. The Elder Theatre Series includes:
"Mass Appeal" by Bill C. Davis on Oct. 14;
"A Walk in the Woods" by Lee Blessing on Dec. 9;
"The Lyons" by Nick Silver on Feb. 17; and
"Clarence Darrow" by David Rintels and Irving Stone, on June 2.
In addition, Coach House will stage a show as part of its Black Box series on April 6 and 7 at 8 p.m.; the show will be announced in the future.