from an original work by Molière
Liz Lochhead's Miseryguts is an adaptation of Molière’s classic comedy of manners, The Misanthrope (Le Misanthrope). It was first performed on 22 March 2002 at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh (press night on 23 March). It followed her earlier adaptation of Molière's Tartuffe, which premiered at the Royal Lyceum in 1986.
Molière’s The Misanthrope is a bitter comedy about a worldly sophisticate who cannot help telling uncomfortable truths about his fellow men and women. But yet, despite himself, he falls deeply and painfully in love with one particular woman, the vivacious Celia. And though he acknowledges what he sees as the superior virtues in some of his own female admirers, his heart still lies with her.
Lochhead's version transposes the action of the play into the world of media and politics in 21st-century, devolved Scotland, allowing for a rich seam of contemporary satire.
In her introduction to the 2002 edition of the play, Lochhead describes her approach to adapting the play: 'Le Misanthrope is Molière’s darkest, strangest, therefore potentially most hilarious anti-comedy. What could be less funny than to find yourself deeply and hopelessly in love with someone of whom you know you deeply and fundamentally disapprove? ... Nothing in this that couldn’t be set in the here-and-now. So (unlike Tartuffe) the characters got new names as well as flats in the New Town and Leith. Do they speak Scots? Well, they speak the way these particular Scotsmen and women do right now. Some Scots, yes, some Americanisms, lots of clichés and buzz-words, much casual profanity, I’m afraid. Like life.'
The Royal Lyceum premiere was directed by Tony Cownie and designed by Geoff Rose. It was performed by Jimmy Chisholm, Greg Powrie, John Kielty, Cora Bissett, Ronnie Simon, Barrie Hunter, Helen Lomax and Janette Foggo.