At Theatre Three, La Bête Could Be Better

David Hirson's tribute to Molière, La Bête, is the sort of play Theatre Three thinks they should be doing - but shouldn't. The 1991 comedy, which has enjoyed a couple of decent Broadway runs, the latest starring the incomparable Mark Rylance, is written in rhymed couplets. Nobody wants to see plays written in rhymed couplets. Not since around 1690.

Two hours of rhymed couplets make the head ache and the ears bleed. Afterward, many aspirin you will need.

Yes, that is a bad couplet. Here's one from the show: "There's nothing but a space between my ears/One time I had amnesia in Algiers."

Plotwise, it's all about 17th century actors competing for the patronage of an elderly princess (Georgia Clinton). Elomire (Jakie Cabe, wasting his talent in another T3 bomb) writes highbrow stuff, which he thinks the French court should support. Valere (Bradley Campbell, wearing a wig only the Cowardly Lion would envy) is a vulgar hack who churns out lowbrow plays called Death by Cheese and The Dying Clown. Valere bursts into the first act and does a 400-line rhyming monologue containing such cringers as "Cleopatra/tit-for-tatra."

Multiply that by 100 pages. Really, you'll want to slink out of your seat and crawl out to the lobby long before intermish, praying for a bout of amnesia to forget La Bête.

Doesn't Death by Cheese sound fun though?

La Bête continues through January 14 at Theatre Three. Call 214-871-3300.

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Elaine Liner
Contact: Elaine Liner