chapter  7
24 Pages


Molière’s entrance in Les Fâcheux at Vaux-le-Vicomte set a tone which he would echo from time to time: that of the ‘innocent’ actor finding himself in a place whose dignity he cannot maintain. Between 1661 and 1663 the company played twenty-nine engagements for the court or its principal members en visites, where no permanent stage could be expected. Some engagements were brief, a performance played in the evening at one of the great hôtels of the nobility in Paris itself after a regular afternoon performance, often of the same play. Others were lengthy, predominantly ordered by the King for one of the palaces outside the town. The company was at Fontainebleau in August 1661; at Saint-Germain-en-Laye in May 1662 playing the best of their repertoire over a seven-day period; and again at Saint-Germain between 24 July and 11 August, when thirteen performances were given. Winter performances were given in the Louvre in December that year and the following January. The King attended Molière’s playhouse twice in 1663 to see L’École des femmes, and then, in September and October, the company played before him at Vincennes and Versailles.