Feb 16, 2016

The University of Virginia’s Department of Drama spring semester productions begin with the celebrated 18th Century French comedy The Triumph of Love from February 25-27 and March 1-3.

Chase Kniffen, associate artistic director of the Virginia Repertory Theatre, will direct this commedia classic, written by Pierre de Marivaux and translated by James Magruder.

First presented by Théâtre Italien in Paris in 1732, The Triumph of Love is a hilarious look at the age-old battle between love and reason, fought in this case with a dazzling array of comedic weaponry including cross-dressing disguises, all manner of commedia dell’arte hijinks, dueling schemes, sharp wordplay, and beautiful language. And while the title may be a spoiler alert for how the story ends, there is no shortage of surprises in store for audiences on this comedic thrill ride tale of a beautiful young princess Leonide, and her riotously convoluted search for the true love we all desire. Leonide’s quest leads her to disguise herself as a young man in order to gain entry into the home of an exiled young prince who happens to be planning her murder in order to usurp her throne.

Kniffen, chosen as one of Style Weekly’s “Top 40 Under 40” for his contributions to the Richmond Arts community, is a four-time Richmond Theatre Critics Circle Award winner for Best Direction of a Musical.

“I think audiences are going to have a great time with this show,” Kniffen said, “and yet still be moved in the end. This is a French neoclassical comedy in the style of Moliere, such as Tartuffe, yet has perhaps more heart than some of those plays. Thematically, I think it is something that is very relatable to modern audiences – particularly in how it looks at both the folly and the triumph of love. We have really leaned in to find the contemporary in the piece and I feel like you can relate to what these individuals are going through.”

Kniffen said he has taken some of his inspiration from other popular modern interpretations of classic works. “I feel like this is a little like Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette in that way.” Kniffen and his production team have worked to create a look and feel for the show that also reflects both its classic and contemporary influences and appeal. “I think that it will be a really exciting looking show,” he said. “It is a really neat set and costume design we have worked out that is certainly of the period and yet not exactly what you would expect in terms of the set, the costumes, and the sound design as well.”

Event Information: 

Thursday, February 25 – Saturday, February 27 and Tuesday, March 1 – Thursday, March 3 | 8:00pm | Ruth Caplin Theatre | $8-$14

$14 for adults, $12 for Seniors, UVA faculty, staff and UVA Alumni Association members, and $8 for students. Tickets are available online, by phone (434-924-3376), or in-person from noon until 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at the UVA Arts Box Office, located in the lobby of the Drama building. Full-time UVA students may receive one free ticket if reserved at least 24 hours in advance of their desired show date.

Free parking for all UVA Drama performances is available at the Culbreth Road Parking Garage, conveniently located alongside the theaters.

For more information on the production, visit www.virginia.edu/drama.

John Kelly
John Kelly PR