Learned Ladies (Les Femmes Savantes) (Archive)

A Social Comedy by Molière in a new translation by Paul McClean

October 1992

Les Femmes Savantes was Molière’s penultimate play, written at the age of 50. It was first performed in March 1672, with Molière himself taking the part of Chrysale and his wife Armande (confusingly) playing Henriette. The part of Philaminte, as tradition held, was taken by a man.

The play has sometimes been seen as a rather dangerous ridiculing of the emancipation and development of women in education. This is, however, a misinterpretation of its main intention, which is to satirise not the desire of Philaminte’s circle to improve themselves, but their pretentions to greatness from their learning. Molière is also strongly aiming his attack at the pretensions and pedantry of Trissotin (literraly “three times the fool”) and Vadius, both based on his real-life enemies. It may be seen, therefore, less as an attack on Feminism than as a satire on vanity and egotism in both men and women.


Chrysale Barry West
Philaminte Hazel Galvin
Armande Hazel Blenkinsop
Henriette Jaquie Beckett
Ariste Graham Kerr
Belise Brenda West
Clitandre Paul Bairstow
Trissotin Paul McClean
Vadius Joseph Hughes
Lepine Ken Beer
A Solictor Kate Stephenson


Producer Paul McClean
Assistant Producer Chris Squire
Stage Manager Christine Sutton
Set Design Chris Sutton
Lighting Paul Huc
Sound Chris Lawes
Props Chris Squire
Continuity Chris Ward
House Manager Ian Squire
Set Construction Chris Sutton, Christine Sutton, Jim Melville, Ian Squire, Barry West, Paul Huc