The play takes place in Paris in the age of Louis XIV.
The stage represents the Palais Royal Theater. At the junction of two latrines, at the curtain with which they are separated, the enormous size of a harpsichord. In the first restroom there are a lot of tallow candles. In the second lavatory on the table, only a lantern with colored glass and a large crucifix, in front of which a lamp burns. All over the seal of extraordinary excitement. Charles-Varle de Lagrange, an actor nicknamed the Register, not engaged in the play, is sitting in the toilet, immersed in a thought. He is in a dark cloak, young, handsome and important.
In the first restroom, Bud, the candlelight tester in the theater and Moliere’s servant, fell to the cracks in the curtain. Roger Charlatan sticks out in the doorway. There are audible bursts of laughter, then the final rumble of laughter. Because of the curtain shows the famous actor and playwright Jean Baptiste Poklen de Moliere, dressed up by Sganarelle – a purple nose with a wart. With his left hand, Moliere clings to his chest. The door swings open, the actor du Croisi, made up by Polishinel, runs in and says that the king applauds. Moliere returns to the stage and reads impromptu poems dedicated to the King of France Louis XIV, in which he calls the King the Sun of France. The King thanks Moliere and remains to watch one more interlude.
The bud lowers the curtain. Moliere appears in the restroom
Moliere asks Charlatan about the secret of his focus. The charlatan sits at some distance from the harpsichord, makes such movements in the air, as if playing, and the keys in the harpsichord are squeezed, the harpsichord plays gently. The charlatan does not agree to open Moliere’s secret and leaves. Moliere returns to the stage.
The curtain leading to the second lavatory is moved away and the actress Armanda Bejart arises. Her facial features are charming, she looks like her older sister Madeleine Bejart, also an actress. Armande is about seventeen. Lagrange stops Armand and begs her not to marry Moliere. Armand makes an attempt to remove Lagrange and pass. Lagrange takes out his sword and threatens to stab the girl if she does not renounce her marriage. Armande says that she is in connection with her fiancé, otherwise she can not do anything and whispers something to Lagrange in her ear. Lagrange invests the sword in the sheath, says that he wanted to save her and leaves.
Armand remains in the restroom. Moliere enters; He embraces her, and at the same instant Bud appears. Moliere sends him away, takes off his nose and wig, kisses Armand. She whispers something in his ear. “I want to live for another century: with you, you will be the first, you will be a great actress, but remember: if you do not keep your vow, you will take everything from me,” Moliere tells her. Armanda swears on the crucifixion in eternal love.
They knock at the door. Lovers hastily agree to meet here, “when the theater goes out.” Moliere opens, and enters Budon, Lagrange and Marques d’Orsigny, a duelist named “One-eyed, Pray,” in the suit of the Company of the Black Musketeers with an oblique black bandage on his face. One-eyed hands Moliere the king’s reward -5000 livres. Moliere takes 500 livres to himself, and divides the rest equally among the actors, then leaves to spend the king. The one-eyed man begins to flirt with Armando. Wanting to stop him, Bouton meets in their conversation. Moliere comes back, and One-Eye Dismisses. Moliere sends Armand and orders to call Madeleine Bejart. When Madeleine arrives, Moliere tells her that she intends to marry Armande. Madeleine kneels and begs Moliere to marry “anyone, but not on Armande.” Moliere tells Madeleine, that he had to do it. Then Madeleine announces her retirement from the theater and asks Moliere not to tell Armande that they had an affair. Moliere makes a promise and leaves.
Madeleine remains. Lagrange enters. He alone is devoted to the mystery of Madlena. Lagrange promises Madeleine that no one will ever know her secret. Madeleine says goodbye and leaves. Lagrange puts a lantern on the table, sits down and records the events of the past day in his book-register. Then he puts down his pen and says: “There is a terrible event in the theater: Jean-Baptiste Poquelin de Moliere, not knowing that Armande is not the sister, but the daughter of Madlena Bejart, married her.” It’s impossible to write this, but as a token of horror I put a black cross. ” Lagrange takes the lantern and walks away like a dark knight.
For some time the darkness and silence, then the harpsichord’s cap is raised, and from it comes the famous actor-lover Zacharias Moirron. This is a boy of about fifteen with an unusually beautiful, vicious and tortured face. Ragged, dirty. He whines, complains that he did not sleep for two days, then falls and falls asleep. The light of the torch floats, and, stealthily, Moliere leads Armand in a dark cloak. Armand becomes frightened of the boy and squeals. Moirron wakes up and shakes with horror. Moliere is threateningly asking who he is. The boy replies that he is unhappy Zacharias Moirron. Moliere laughs – he understood the secret of Charlatan.
The second action
Reception of the King. At the card table, the famous Marquis de Lessac player plays cards with Louis. A crowd of courtiers, dressed with extraordinary splendor, watches over Lescas. Before that pile of gold coins, sweat flows from his face. Ludovik is sitting alone, all the others are standing. All without hats. Behind the armchair of Louis stands One-Eye, leads the game of the king. One-eyed notes that de Lessac plays cards with cards. The King asks One-Eyes what he should do in this case. One-eyed responds that De Lessaq “must hit the face with a candlestick” and scold. Ludovik calls the Fair Shoemaker and orders him to scold de Lessac. The clown happily carries out the order. “Plant the Marquis de Lessac for one month in prison, then send him to the estate – along with the money” – orders the king. De Lessaka is gone.
Before Louis, as if from under the ground, there is a dining table with one appliance. Near the fireplace arises the archbishop of Paris, the Marquis de Charron, and asks the king for permission to present him a wandering preacher, Father Bartholomew. The door opens and Father Bartholomew appears. He’s bare, he’s crazy, he’s girded with a rope, his eyes are insane. He dances and sings. Everyone is surprised, except for Louis. Brother Fidelity, one of the members of the Kabbalah of Holy Scripture, – a lean face with a long nose – stands out from the crowd of courtiers and creeps towards Sharron. Bartholomew, addressing the king, calls Moliere Antichrist and calls: “Burn him with his wicked creature Tartuffe in the square.” The whole world of faithful sons of the church demands this! ” Ludovic is annoyed, he is angry with the word “demands”, he orders that Father Bartholomew be imprisoned for three months.
Louis eats, then expresses the desire to speak with the archbishop alone. The courtiers all retreating to the staircase. Louis asks Sharron whether he shares the opinion of Father Bartholomew about Moliere. “Sire, this is Satan,” answers Sharron firmly. He flattered the king and begged him to intercede for the religion Moliere insulted with his Tartuffe. “A daring actor is talented… I will try to correct it, it can serve to the glory of reign, but if he makes one more impertinence, I will punish” – says Ludovic. Then he allows Father Bartholomew to be released from prison in three days.
Moliere enters. The king invites him to dinner, orders him to give him a chair. Moliere, paling, accepts the high honor. Louis tells Moliere that in “Tartuffe” he is not careful with clerics. The King allows you to play a play in the Palais Royal, provided that in the future, the work of Moliere will go the right way. Molière rejoices. Ludovik gives him another favor – the right to make a royal bed. Moliere grasps two candelabra from the table and walks ahead of the king. Both are hiding.
All disappear, and only Charron and Fidelity remain on the scene, both are black. They are plotting some kind of intrigue against Moliere. In this they need to help a woman who lures in their network the person they need. One-eyed enters. Sharron and brother Fidelity disappear. A fool approaches a One-Eye and gives him a note from a woman wearing a mask. The one-eyed man leaves thoughtfully. The lights begin to go out. Hearing voices: “Krol is sleeping!”. The fool lays down on the card table, wrapped himself in a curtain with coats of arms and falls asleep.
The palace disappears, and Moliere’s apartment appears. Day. Muarron, a very handsome, luxuriously dressed man of about twenty-two, plays the harpsichord. Armande is listening in the armchair. They rehearse a new play. Moirron calls Armando a mamma, and Moliere calls his father. They adopted him. Muarron considers himself the best actor in Paris. During the rehearsal, Muarron seduces Armand, leads her to her bedroom and locks the door to the key. Armanda curses the day when Moarron was found in the harpsichord.
Moliere enters, calls for Armando. The key in the lock instantly turns. Moliere rushes to the door, Armando screams, then Moarron rushes in, holding his wig in his hand. In anger, Moliere throws out Muarron from the house and from the troupe. Muarron threatens Moliere, says that he owns his secret. It reminds of Madeleine Bejart, who is at death. Moliere grabs the gun from the wall, and Muarron disappears. Moliere asks Armando: “Suffer a little more, I will soon release you.” I do not want to die alone. ” Armand comes out in tears, swears that he will not leave Moliere. Moliere regrets that he drove out Moirron. He does not want a scandal and is going to return it.
Stone cellar, lit by a three-storey chandelier. At the table sit members of the Kabbalah of Holy Scripture in masks; In the chair alone, without a mask, Sharron sits. Two in black – people of a terrible kind – introduce Muarron with bound hands and with a blindfolded eyes. Hands untied to him, remove the bandage. In the morning of this day, Moarron slandered Moliere, and now Sharron makes him repeat his denunciation in the presence of witnesses. Muarron tells how, several years ago, he was sitting in a harpsichord and heard the voice of Lagrange. The voice said that “M. de Moliere did not marry Madeline Bejart’s sister, but her daughter.”
Muarronu blindfolded, bind his hands and lead away. Sharron pushes the hood over his face and disappears into the darkness. Brother Fidelity opens the door. Appears Stranger in the mask, which leads by the hand of One-Eye. His eyes are tied with a handkerchief. One-eyed removes the bandage, looks around and snatches the sword, deciding that he was trapped. Brother Strength and brother Fidelity calm him down. They tell the Marquis that, through Moliere’s fault, they laugh at him at court, because the image of Don Juan Moliere wrote from him. The one-eyed man’s face changes with rage. He is again blindfolded, and the Stranger takes him away. Sharron announces a meeting of the Kabbalah of Holy Scripture closed.
Immense Cathedral. Small confessional archbishop. Armand and Lagrange appear, lead by the arms of Madeleine. That – gray-haired, sick. Madeleine enters the confessional, Armande and Lagrange sit down on the bench, and the darkness swallows them. Sharron arises in the confessional and tells Madeleine that he himself decided to confess her. Under the pressure of Sharron, Madeleine admits: “I lived with two and had my daughter Armandu survive and my whole life was tormented, not knowing whose it was… When she grew up, I brought her to Paris and gave her away for my sister.” Sharron lets her sins and asks to call Armand. Madeleine leads Lagrange. Armand enters the confessional. Sharron appears scary, in the horned miter, he baptizes Armand with the reverse diabolical cross. “She’s your mother, I forgive you, but today, run away from him, run,” Sharron says. Armand falls and remains motionless on the threshold of the confessional.
Day. Reception of the King. Louis is at the table. Before him, dark and exhausted Charron. A Just Cobbler is sitting on the floor, repairing his shoe. Sharron tells the king about the crime of Moliere. Louis orders us to call Mr. de Moliere and bring Muarron. Moirron enters. He is intimidated and looks like he was sleeping without undressing. Ludovik, whom he first sees so closely, makes a strong impression on him. The king announces to Muarron that his denunciation is confirmed by the investigation and asks what kind of reward he wants to receive. Muarron asks for a place in the Royal Bourgogne Theater or at the Teatro du Marais. The king refuses to him, because he is a weak actor, and gives him a place in the royal service, in the detective police.
Moirron leaves. In the other doors, Lagrange appears, introduces Moliere and immediately disappears. Moliere in a strange form: clothes in disorder, his face is leaden, his hands are shaking, the sword is hanging crookedly. He complains to the king about his health, which was shaken because of a heart attack that happened when his wife left him. Ludovic announces his decision: “I forbid you to appear at court, I forbid playing Tartuffe.” Only so that your troupe does not die of hunger, I allow you to play your comedy in the Palais Royal, but nothing more… I deprive you of the patronage of the King “. After uttering these words, Louis is removed.
Sharron enters and looks at Moliere for a long time. The archbishop’s eyes flicker with satisfaction. Moliere snatches his sword in anger. Out of the door, One-Eye with a cane comes out and starts a fight with Moliere, calling him a liar. At that moment, Lagrange enters. Moliere in anger calls one-eyed to a duel. Sharron and Lagrange are trying to stop them. One-eyed rushes to Moliere. Moliere, hiding his sword, hides behind the table. The one-eyed man jumps to the table. Moliere throws a sword, falls to the floor, says that he is sick and does not understand anything. One-eyed states that he will kill Moliere after the first performance. The fool suddenly breaks and disappears. Lagrange raises Moliere from the floor and carries him away.
Sharron with burning eyes asks One-Eyes why he did not kill Moliere. They swear. Sharron suddenly spits at One-Eye. The one-eyed man was so dumbfounded that he spat at Sharron. The door opens, an excited jester arrives, followed by Louis. The quarrels are so keen that they do not immediately stop spitting. Four long and stupidly look at each other. “I’m sorry for interrupting,” says Louis, and disappears, closing the door behind him.
Apartment Moliere. Evening. Disorder. The manuscripts are scattered. Moliere sits in a huge armchair in a wig and gown. The bud in the other. On the table are two swords and a pistol. On the other table, dinner and wine, to which the Buton is occasionally applied. Lagrange in a dark cloak goes back and forth. He reproaches himself for the fact that Muarron recognized the mystery. Moliere comforts him. The creak of the staircase is heard. Moirron enters. He is in some dirty jacket, worn, unshaven and half drunk, in his hand a lantern. Learning of Muarron, Lagrange grasps the gun from the table. Molière beats Lagrange on the arm. Lagrange shoots and hits the ceiling, then rushes to Muarron, knocks him on the floor and begins to strangle. Moliere and Bud are dragging Lagrange away from Moirron. Lagrange threatens to kill him. Moirron kneels before Moliere and says that not later than midnight he will hang himself under his windows, but he will not even look at Armand. Moliere says that Armande is gone, and he forgives Muarron and returns to his house. Moarron cries. Lagrange accuses Moliere of being too soft. Moliere informs Muarron that a “one-eyed dog-musketeer” was thrown at him, and the king deprived him of his protection. Moirron knows that “Maitre is recognized as an atheist for Tartuffe and takes it to protect.” Lagrange and Muarron take a gun, a lantern and go off guard. “A pause. Lagrange and Moarron take a weapon, a lantern and leave to watch. Pause. Lagrange and Moarron take a weapon, a lantern and leave to watch. Pause.
Moliere loudly calls the King of France a tyrant. The bud calms him down, tries to silence him, is afraid that he will be hanged with his master for these words on the square. Moliere tells him to pack things, intending after the last performance to flee to England. The door opens and the head of old Rene, the decrepit nurse Moliere, appears in her. She says that the nun came to take the theater costumes. Moliere tells me that she should come to Palais Royal tomorrow at the end of the play. Rene is hiding. Molière suddenly picks up his head under the blanket. Bud begins to glorify the king so loudly that even Muarron hears it on the street.
Cleaning staff in the Palais Royal. The lamp of the crucifix and the green lantern are also burning. Behind the curtain can be heard a rumble and whistles. In the armchair sits Moliere in a dressing-gown and a cap, in a make-up with a caricatured nose. Moliere is in a strange state, as if drunk. Near him, Lagrange and actor Philibert du Croisi in black suits of doctors, but without makeup. Muarron stands still in the distance. The bud goes in with the message that the doorkeeper, wounded by the Musketeers, has died. Lagrange reports that “the theater is full of stowaware musketeers and unknown personalities.” The bud begs Moliere not to finish the play, but to flee. Then he reports that in the Theater One-Eye. Behind the curtains a whistle and a roar. Moliere frantically rushes to Muarron and hides in his cloak. Moirron is silent, embracing Moliere.
The door opens, and Marietta Rival hurries in. She is wearing an original suit, a doctor’s hat on her head, glasses with wheels. Rival looks at Moliere for a long time and says that we must play. Moliere climbs out from under his cloak and apologizes to everyone. Rival says: “Right now, after your last sentence, we’ll take you down to the hatch, hide it in my closet till morning, and at dawn you’ll leave Paris.” Moliere agrees.
Du Croisi, Lagrange, Moirron and Rival are hiding. Moliere takes off his robe. There is a huge bed on the stage. The prompter appears in the box. Moliere, abruptly changed, flies to the bed with unusual ease, fits, covers himself with a blanket. The bud raises the main curtain. Actors play a scene from the play “The Imaginary Sick”. During the performance, One-Eye is suddenly shown from the box, sits on board it and freezes in a waiting pose.
Suddenly, Moliere calls to Madeleine and falls. The music is silent. In Moliere’s restroom there is a terrible nun, quickly collects all the costumes of Moliere and disappears with them. The scene is confused. Lagrange excitedly tells the public that the play can not be over. The public demands money back. Muarron takes out a sword and calls One-Eyed Dirty Beast. One-eyed, taking out his sword, rises to the stage and goes smooth cat’s tread to meet Moirron. He looks at him with Moliere, sticks his sword into the floor, turns and leaves the stage. The prompter in the booth is crying. The actors rush to Moliere, surround him with a crowd, and he disappears. The bud drops the curtains after the group that carries Moliere. The curtain is swelling, the curious are trying to climb onto the stage. Du Croisi extinguishes the chandelier. The rumble in the hall subsides.
The scene plunges into darkness. Then a lantern comes out – dark Lagrange is going. He goes to his lavatory, unfolds the book and writes: “On the seventeenth of February… At ten o’clock in the evening, M. de Moliere, playing the role of Argan, fell on the stage and was immediately kidnapped without repentance by an inexorable death… The reason for this was the disgrace of the king and black Kabala. ” Writes and fades in the darkness.