Madame Melville, by Richard Nelson, is an enticing coming-ofage play about a lonely 15-year-old American boy named Carl who is compelled into maturity by his literature teacher, Claudie Melville. Madame Melville is making its debut on the Gilbert Theater stage June 10 through June 27.
The story is told by a man in his 50s who is recalling the memory of the play from the apartment of Madame Melville in Paris. Madame Melville schooled Carl in everything, and while her life was perhaps not what she would truly want it to be she creates a fond memory for Carl which he holds dearly in his heart for the remainder of his life. The part of “Carl” will be played by Topher McLean.
“I think it’s a story that shows emotional experiences as common human experiences and provides a greater understanding of the adolescence coming of age,” said Marcela Casals, who is playing the part of Madame Melville.
Casals is no stranger to Gilbert patrons having directed a number of plays at the theater. It is a rare treat to see her on stage, and one the Gilbert faithful is sure to enjoy. “The purpose of any art is to be a mirror of us and look at part of ourselves we many not look at otherwise,” said Casals.
Madame Melville was originally performed in the Vaudeville Theatre of London, in 2000, and drew rave reviews, particularly for its subject matter.
“Nelson, in his 100-minute play, intertwines two familiar themes: the sexual initiation of the young and the confrontation of American innocence by European experience. But what gives the play its peculiar charm is the tender collision between two people at different stages of their emotional cycle: Carl has what Henry James called “the hungry futurity of youth” while the messed-up Claudie has the restless solitude of the permanent other woman,” noted Michael Billington of The Guardian.
The curtain opens Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets will be $10 per person. For group rates and ticket purchases please call: (910) 678-7186. For more information contact the Gilbert Theater at (910) 678-7186.