‘The Imaginary Invalid’: Risqué and Refreshing

(Courtesy of JSU Drama Department)(Courtesy of JSU Drama Department)

Miranda Ladd, Correspondent 

Farce. Satirical. Dramatic. This play had audience members crying from laughter in their seats.

The Imaginary Invalid, written by Moliere, adapted by Constance Congdon, and presented by the JSU Drama Department, opened on Friday, November 15. The play focuses on Argan Geronte, a hypochondriac in 17th century France. Romance, secrets and flatulence ensue.

What made this play so unique and refreshing was not only its hilarious tone, but the audience participation as well. People from the audience were chosen to volunteer and became a part of the play themselves. Crying, laughing, creating a façade – the volunteers did just as the characters did.

The play’s dependence on improvisation gave it even greater strength. Practically everyone was laughing and immersing themselves in the world of this play.

Dylan Curvin, Servant #1 who relied heavily on interacting with the audience and the people dragged on stage, said 

“You have to be prepared for everything,” said Servant #1, played by Dylan Curvin, when discussing audience participation. “It can be more difficult.”

The servants in this play were extremely admirable, reacting to the other characters just as the audience did. They added to the humor of the play.

Musical numbers, sexual innuendos and references to the 21st century also gave a boost to a play written centuries ago. Argan’s sassy nurse Toinette was just as dramatic and hilarious as he was.

“Toinette is super sassy, so it was fun to play that,” said Chloe Barnes, who portrayed Toinette. “It was fun to find the physicality and the voice because there’s parts of the show when she’s different…being able to play up her wackiness was fun.”

This play had everyone united by laughter. I often wondered what ridiculous act would occur next. It kept you on your seat in the best way possible. 

Dr. Michael Boynton, the director of JSU’s production of The Imaginary Invalid, did nothing short of a fantastic job.

I have been attending JSU Drama’s plays since my freshman year of college in 2015. I can safely say that this is the funniest play I have seen put on by the JSU Drama Department. The Imaginary Invalid gave a refreshing belly-laugh.

“It is a super welcoming environment,” said Bridgett Rayburn, a first-time performer with JSU Drama. “Everyone with all types of talents are allowed to come in and show themselves off and it’s a great environment.”

Not only was the acting itself fantastic, but the costumes and scenery were stunning. The century pieces helped transport the audience into the world of Argan. Scenic Designer Jennifer Luck and Costume Designer Freddy Clements deserve applause.

All in all, this play had me bubbling with smiles and laughter. Who knew fart jokes could still be so funny?

If you are interested in other productions put on by the JSU Drama Department, check out the Spring productions! “Once Upon a Mattress” will be showing February 21-24 and “The Diary of Anne Frank” will be showing between April 17-20. You can find additional information on JSU Drama’s webpage – www.jsu.edu/jsudrama.

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