By Rebecca Smith
KC MOlière: 400 in 2022 teams with Kansas City's Sunday Script Circle and KKFI Community Radio to present a reading of Molière's ever-popular comedy The Miser in a brand-new translation. For free admission to this premiere at 7:00pm on Sunday 26 July, go to
When you register for our event on Eventbrite, prior to the reading you will be sent an email with a Zoom link and info on how to view the event.
Who better to captivate an American audience into Molière than writer, translator and “European-American” at heart, Nick Henke? And why are we so excited to premiere his translation of The Miser?
“This translation was very intentionally conceived of in contemporary language, and I hope audiences are able to take joy in the neurotic wordiness of it all.”
He explains, “The Miser's’ concerns are modern ones. In their best moments, the characters search for truth, in their worst, they intentionally twist it with half-baked schemes worthy of 2020 politics. Yes, it's a play about money, but at its heart, it is a story about what reality the mind creates with the raw material it is given.“
In other words, this play is of utmost relevance right now, as we stand “at the dawn of modern capitalism”, in Henke’s view.
Nick grew up in St. Louis but with long periods spent in Italy, the UK and France with his academic parents. He chose to concentrate on French studies at Northwestern, Washington University and the Sorbonne, finishing with a degree in French Literature. He has most recently been teaching in France (cut short by the pandemic), while writing his own short stories and poems.
“Molière's vision of France is so much of what attracted me to the country in the first place. His is a world of backroom dramas, bourgeois neuroses and conspiracies, money troubles, mental troubles, and sexual troubles. His sons and daughters need solutions to their romantic dramas, their fathers just need some liquid capital. This mental chaos and emotional yearning feels like the work of a 17th-century French Woody Allen.” (It’s notable that Molière has often been compared to Charlie Chaplin, as well.)
Molière vs. Shakespeare? You can predict where Henke falls. He rejects arguments that Molière is less expansive. “Yes, he is particular, but what he does, he does so well.”
Henke will be further contemplating and developing these and other issues in his writings as he heads off for an extended stay in La Réunion, a French island off the coast of Madagascar. Clearly, no shores are too far for him - or Molière.
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