France marks 400 years of Moliere, master of stage and satire

Paris   –  France launches Saturday a year of events to mark the 400th anniversary of Moliere, the nation’s most illustrious and ever popular master of the stage and satire. Baptised on January 15, 1622, and probably born a day or two before, Moliere — real name Jean-Baptiste Poquelin — remains as central to French culture as Shakespeare to the English-speaking world. When the French refer to their native tongue, it is as the “language of Moliere”. Many of the celebrations will be staged in places that marked his life as an actor, company director and playwright, but above all at the Comedie-Francaise, created by King Louis XIV in 1680, seven years after Moliere’s death. His plays alone will be performed at the  Paris monument to Moliere until July, starting from Saturday with the orginal censored version of “Tartuffe”, which will be shown live in cinemas too.  “The Imaginary Invalid”, “The Miser” and “The Bourgeois Gentleman” will follow at the Comedie-Francaise, the longest-running theatre company in the world, performing his work every single year since it opened.

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