The Flying Doctor at the Edmonton Fringe Festival

The Flying Doctor at the Edmonton Fringe Festival. Photo credit: Peter Taylor
The Flying Doctor at the Edmonton Fringe Festival. Photo credit: Peter Taylor

The Flying Doctor adapted and translated by Celia Taylor based on Le Médecin volant by Molière
August 11, 14, 16, 17, 19, 21 at Venue #3: Walterdale Theatre
More information:

An interview with Celia Taylor. 

Describe your show in five words.

Seventeenth century farce, with cocktails.

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?

The Flying Doctor is by the French playwright Molière; this is a new translation and adaptation which moves the action to Edmonton in the 1920s. Think commedia dell’arte by way of P. G. Wodehouse. On Jasper Avenue.

Why did you want to take on this adaptation of Molière’s Le Médecin volant?

I stumbled across Le Médecin volant a couple of years back, while researching something else. I couldn’t stop giggling just skimming the original text online, and I thought it was a shame this little comedy was so rarely performed. (How could I reinvigorate it, I asked myself? By setting it in the 1920s, I answered myself! Who doesn’t love the Jazz Age?)

Your company, Empress of Blandings, breathes “irreverent life into classic works”. How do you do this in The Flying Doctor

Well, part of it is just through the modernization of a 300-year-old script. But I didn’t just choose to set it in the 1920s because everyone loves the Jazz Age. Everyone does, of course, but I do think Molière is well-suited to this milieu. The 1920s themselves were an era of irreverence. The First World War had just ended, and shortly before that you had a long era remembered for its conservatism and occasional humourlessness. The Twenties, on the other hand, were all about letting go of respectability and responsibility and just having fun, and so is The Flying Doctor.

The Flying Doctor is based on Molière’s Le Médecin volant and while I haven’t read that play specifically, sometimes Molière’s work can be quite complicated. You say your show is suitable for ages 8 & up. What have you done to make the show accessible to such a wide audience?

Honestly, the show in its original form is very accessible. It’s one of Molière’s earliest plays, and it’s tight, with a relatively simple plot. And while you see lots of the themes and archetypes which turn up in his other work, The Flying Doctor is even more lighthearted than later Molière. Some of the laughs do come from biting social satire, but some are just straight up toilet humour.

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

It has martinis! Bad puns! Fast cars! Cute hats! Identical twins! The Charleston! Mistaken identity! Running in and out of doors! And hippopotamuses! (Hippopotami?) Literally something for everyone.