On April 21st, 2016, students in my French course Travaux pratiques de la scène put on a show highlighting the important place of medicos in French theater. The promotional copy ran thus:
Doctors Dashing, Dastardly, and Dizzy
French Theater Salutes the Medical Profession
The French stage, from its earliest heyday, has reserved a special place for doctors. In this review, we present notable scenes involving physicians from 20th-century plays and an entire 17th-century farce by Molière (who was particularly fond of putting doctors on stage).”
Here are the excellent cast of seven, plus one other person:
(All pictures are courtesy of champion photographer DGP.)
The three items on the program were these:
I. Elle est tout à fait normale, n’est-ce pas?
She’s Quite Normal, Isn’t She?
a.k.a. Une Visite médicale. From the (virtual) playbill: “A mid-twentieth century sketch by an unknown author, in which a zany physician instructs an upper-class Parisian couple in how to bring up their daughter.”1
II. Docteur Knock, ou le Triomphe de la médecine
Doctor Knock, or the Triumph of Medicine
“Scenes from a famous 1923 comedy by Jules Romains, in which a country practitioner strives to convince the inhabitants of an entire district that they are all very ill.”
III. Le Médecin volant
The Flying Doctor
“One of the earliest texts we have by Molière (c1650), this farce showcases the same situation as his very last play: to defeat folly and help young lovers, a servant must pretend to be a doctor. The fake physician in our story turns out to need not only a glib tongue, but limber limbs.”
- The complete text can be found here.