Such was my experience at the Colony Studio Theatreís production of Stendhal, and a wonderful experience it was. The title is a bit misleading though, as the story is not really about the writer Stendhal, but about Antoine Berthet, as Stendhal tells Berthetís story to his friend Mme. Gaulthier on the eve of Berthetís trial. In the story leading up to this trial, we see Berthet as a boy distressed by Napoleonís fall and unhappily working on his fatherís farm. He is encouraged to join the seminary, and does so, only to be later sent to the home of the Michoud family as the tutor for their children. There, Berthet finds himself tutored in the wonders of love by Mme.
Michoud who unintentionally betrays him with evidence of his staunch allegiance to Napoleon.
Up to this point, the delicately
tuned and timed humor works beautifully, setting a very specific tone to
the production. After his betrayal, however, the tone becomes inconsistent;
we expect humor to soften the serious edge, but it never comes. Still,
this production is presented with the utmost skill by director Randal Hoey
and his committed cast. Of particular note are Kent Stoddard as the young
Berthet, Lindy Nisbet as the giddy Mme. Michoud, Don Woodruff as an Abbe
of questionable intent, and Ruth Crawford as the sensitive, sultry Mme.
Stendhal at the Colony Theatre