The Honored Artist of Russia
Vyacheslav Dolgachev
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The Heir Apparent (The Residuary Legatee) (12+)

  • Author: Jean-Fransois REGNARD    
  • Translation from French: Mikhail DONSKOY
  • Director: Vladimir BOGATYRYOV
  • Artistic Designer: Alina ALIMOVA
  • Background music: Vladimir BOGATYRYOV

The first performance: December 22, 2012

Duration of performance: 2 hours 30 minutes

It is not the first time that the New Drama Theatre brings back the half forgotten authors at the stage. Regnard is staged in Russia since XVIII century. His moral plots are easily translated into our native manners. Besides, The Residuary Legatee is the rare masterpiece of situation comedy and at the same time it is a comedy of characters, a naughty, farcical, burlesque and popular play.

The student of Moliere, Jean Regnard (1655–1709) in his turn became the tutor for many later playwrights. For instance, his influence can be found in «The Barber of Seville» and «The Marriage of Figaro» by Beaumarchais. His comedies Les Folies amoureuses, Le Distrait, The Twins, and especially his culmination works Le Joueur and The Residuary Legatee entered the repertory of the world theatres.

It was an epoch when the Third Estate claimed its rights, the bourgeoisie, the entrepreneurs. The time of rapid capital making. The clash of gold made their heads dizzy, it kindled passions, it ruined the moral norms and traditions. Regnard laughs at the lust for money and lays bare the mechanism of human psychology at the same time. The respectable madam Argante is ridiculous in her attempt to marry her young daughter Isabelle to the senile rich man, Geronte: «Believe my experience, the marriage without money is a foul marriage». Geronte is also ridiculous with his marriage whim; the more so are his heirs waiting passionately for his death: «The ravens have gathered, they feel the corpse». Everybody is comic in their desire to became a heir of an untold wealth: Geronte’s shabby nephew Eraste and the impudent servants Lisette and Crispen who are ready for everything. They are ready for anything in order to get the inheritance of dying Geronte. The gluttonous notaries Scrupule and Gaspar are only one step removed from them. What an absurd competition in lying, simulation, faking, lack of principles, where they change their clothes and even their gender! Everybody tries to seize the moment, everybody wants to become rich immediately — and may be their attempts are not in vain?