Figaro

By Charles Morey

Freely adapted from Le Mariage de Figaro by Beaumarchais

Directed by Michael Michetti

March 1 – May 10, 2015

Co-Production Sponsors: Kathleen & James Drummy and Alan M. & Sheila R. Lamson

“A knee-slapping blast!” – Los Angeles Times

Critics Choice

“A dazzling show (with) a superbly talented cast. Chock full of fun!” –Examiner

“Delightfully surprising. A solid hit!” –San Gabriel Valley Tribune 

“An exhibition of great acting talent.” –Pasadena Independent 

“Riotous. A hoot!” – Los Angeles Times

“Tremendous! RECOMMENDED.” –Stage Raw

“Funniest of 2015.” – Haines His Way

Figaro crackles and pops!” – Los Angeles Times

Running Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes, including a 15 minute intermission

Figaro and Suzanne, servants to the Count and Countess Almaviva, are making preparations on the morning of their wedding. When Suzanne learns that the Count has given them the bedroom adjacent to his, she protests. She fears that the Count will use this proximity to take advantage of her. The Count’s designs anger Figaro, and when Suzanne leaves, he promises a revenge that will preserve Suzanne’s virtue.

Marceline and her former employer, Doctor Bartholo, arrive with a plan to prevent Figaro’s marriage. Marceline wants to marry Figaro herself, and plans to do so by enforcing the terms of an unresolved contract for a loan she made to Figaro years earlier. Suzanne returns and shares a contentious exchange with her rival.

Marceline leaves and Cherubin arrives. The young page has been banished from the castle after the Count found him in a compromising position with Fanchette, the gardener’s daughter. The page is pleading with Suzanne to intervene on his behalf when the Count pays a surprise visit. While Cherubin hides, Suzanne refuses the Count’s propositions. When they hear Bazile approaching, the Count also hides until he overhears Bazile telling that Cherubin is suspected of flirting with the Countess. In the midst of his tirade about Cherubin’s indiscretions, the Count inadvertently uncovers the page from his hiding place. The following confusion is interrupted by the arrival of Figaro and the Countess. The Countess convinces the Count to allow Suzanne and Figaro to still marry the next day as it is their own anniversary. Figaro also manages to convince the Count that Cherubin should not be punished but rather join the military on the frontier, a harsh punishment as far as Cherubin is concerned.

Suzanne is relaying the morning’s events to the Countess when Figaro enters to explain his plan, a diversion that Figaro asserts will ensure that his wedding proceeds as planned. He has sent an anonymous letter to the Count warning that the Countess is planning a tryst with a lover. Additionally, Suzanne is to agree to the Count’s proposition for an illicit encounter, but Figaro has arranged for Cherubin to be disguised as a girl and sent in Suzanne’s stead. Figaro retrieves Cherubin, and Suzanne and the Countess dress him for the charade. Illustration from La Folle journée ou Le Mariage de Figaro, showing the Count discovering Chérubin in Suzanne’s bedroom.

They are surprised by a knock on the door from the Count. Cherubin hides, locking himself in the closet. The jealous Count, angered by the anonymous letter, threatens to break into the closet, but when he and a reluctant Countess leave momentarily to obtain the necessary tools, Suzanne takes Cherubin’s place in the closet. The page escapes, jumping out of the window. The Count and Countess return and Suzanne emerges from the closet. The Count begs forgiveness but defends his suspicions with the anonymous letter. The women admit the letter was fabricated by Figaro.

Figaro enters and denies knowing anything about the letter. Antonio, the gardener, arrives and is outraged that someone has jumped from the window into his melons. As Suzanne and the Countess discredit Antonio for being a drunkard, Figaro claims that it was he himself who jumped. With the Count’s suspicions renewed and confusion mounting, Marceline arrives along with her cohorts and makes her claim for Figaro to either repay his debt to her or marry her.

Suzanne and the Countess have created a new plan in which Suzanne is to promise to meet the Count, but instead the Countess will go in disguise and reveal the Count’s infidelities. The judge oversees the trial between Marceline and Figaro. Figaro claims that he cannot marry her because he requires his parents’ permission, and being an orphan, that is not possible. Figaro’s story of being kidnapped as an infant sounds familiar to Marceline, and a birthmark on Figaro’s arm confirms that he is Marceline’s long-lost son, the result of her affair with Doctor Bartholo. The proud parents embrace their son and their future daughter-in-law, and a double wedding is planned.

Meanwhile, Suzanne and the Countess write a letter to the Count confirming the tryst that evening. They seal the letter with a pin. Figaro and Marceline happen upon Fanchette in the garden searching for the pin she was meant to return to Suzanne as confirmation of the tryst. Fanchette naïvely reveals her mission, and an enraged Figaro swears revenge for what he believes is his bride’s unfaithfulness. Figaro hides himself in order to catch Suzanne with the Count. Suzanne and the Countess exchange clothes. Suzanne hides, and the Countess, dressed as Suzanne, awaits the Count’s arrival.

Instead, Cherubin comes. Finding the supposed Suzanne, he propositions her until the Count interrupts. Cherubin hides. The Count makes advances towards “Suzanne” until Figaro intercedes. The Count flees and the Countess hides. Suzanne, still pretending to be the Countess, steps forward, and Figaro recognizes his wife’s voice. The plot becomes apparent to him, but he plays along for a moment—until Suzanne reveals her true identity, and both are reconciled.

Figaro and Suzanne (still dressed as the Countess) stage a love scene for the Count’s benefit. The jealous Count calls for help, and one by one, everyone is extracted from hiding. The Count points to the woman he believes has betrayed him, but the real Countess steps forward, removing her disguise and unveiling the entire charade. The Count, overcome with guilt, is forgiven by the Countess. All couples are happily restored, and they leave to enjoy the wedding festivities.
❖ EDITED FROM: LA Opera