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The Triumph of Love

The Triumph of Love
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Pierre Marivaux
Translated by: James Magruder
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 57
Pub. Date: 1994
ISBN-10: 0822214156
ISBN-13: 9780822214151
Cast Size: 3 women, 4 men

About the Play:

The Triumph of Love is a full-length comedy by Pierre Marivaux, translated by James Magruder. This timeless comedy, by one of the most performed French playwrights, makes self-reflection and self-consciousness both the substance and obstacles of the action, as it focuses on the tireless efforts of Princess Léonide to woo Agis and his guardians.

The Triumph of Love clearly demonstrates the ageless affinity of laughter and love. Princes Leonide, in disguise, arrives in the garden of the philosopher, Hermocrate. She has come to try and win some time in his retreat for she has fallen in love, from afar, with Hermocrate's student, Agis, who is the "legitimate" prince of the realm over which Leonide rules. Knowing that Hermocrate is steadfastly against women joining the retreat (except for his sister, Leontine, who helps run the place), Leonide puts on the disguise of a man, calling herself Phocion, and brings along her servant Corine, under the alias Hermidas. Phocion proceeds to woo all the people at the retreat depending on what they figure out about her/him. Hermocrate sees through the disguise so Phocion convinces him she has fallen in love with him and until Hermocrate gives her some time to prove herself, she will not leave. When Phocion meets up with Leontine, who buys the disguise, Phocion persuades her he is in love with her so she will petition Hermocrate to let Phocion stay. All the while, the jester and gardener, who now know of the disguise, are being bought off by Leonide and wooed by Corine. All of this just so Leonide can find some time alone with Agis. Once she corners Agis, she first wins him over as a friend, then later reveals she is a woman. Since he has been taught to loathe love, and women as the object of love, he is at first resistant; but soon, attracted to Phocion, and he so very innocent, he is won over and falls in love. Now all the major players in the retreat prepare to marry Phocion (who by now calls herself by all different names). When they all meet in the courtyard, in wedding attire, Leonide not only reveals to Leontine that she is a woman, but reveals to all that she is the illegitimate ruler – so often feared and reviled – she is not hateful, loves Agis, and wants to abdicate the crown to him. The two young lovers go off together, leaving the older philosopher and his sister stunned and silent.

The Triumph of Love was first presented by the Comédie-Italienne of Paris in 1732. The much-admired translation by James Magruder was first produced in 1993 at Center Stage in Baltimore, where he was dramaturg. The play enjoyed widespread acceptance among leading regional and college theatres looking for something to spice up the standard diet of Moliere.

Cast: 3 women, 4 men

What people say:

"Marivaux's command of comedy is so adroit that the exploit moves as effortlessly as a master chess game, while the humor is pure delight…The present translation by James Magruder…maintains such a delicious soufflé lightness to it all, that amusing phrases which might have jarred here merely enchant." — New York Post

"Thanks to the talent of translator/dramaturge James Magruder, this typically frantic, light French farce comes alive en Anglais, acquiring a surprisingly lyrical depth and sexiness that registers somehow as topical as our beloved American soaps today." — Warfield Business Record

"James Magruder retains the flavor of Marivaux's flowery locutions,…his translation also accommodates the kind of anachronisms that give the charade a contemporary edge." — The New York Times

About the Playwright:

Pierre Marivaux (1688-1763), commonly referred to as Marivaux, was a French novelist and dramatist. He is considered one of the most important French playwrights of the 18th century, writing numerous comedies for the Comédie-Française and the Comédie-Italienne of Paris.

James Magruder is a playwright and award-winning translator who lives in Baltimore. He teaches at Swarthmore College and the Yale School of Drama.

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