By the time this troupe is through with Moliere . . .; Le Bourgeois Avant-Garde. A comedy after Moliere, written and directed by Charles Ludlam for the Ridiculous Theatrical Company.
| New York
Such notables as Fielding and Dryden are among the authors directly influenced by Moliere. Now add Charles Ludlam - whose latest farce takes ''Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme,'' runs it through a blender, and tosses the scrambled result cheerfully in our laps. Sound ridiculous? That's the point.
The hero of ''Le Bourgeois Avant-Garde'' is a Mr. Foufas, who rivals Moliere's ''would-be gentleman'' in his determination to be something he's not. A mere businessman until now, he's itching to fathom the latest artistic fads - which Ludlam considers even more preposterous than Foufas himself, and that's going some.
Ludlam heaps ridicule on Foufas's pretensions, but saves his big-time scorn for the avant-garde itself, which he feels is not only post-modern but post-talent. The often satirical characters range from an effete composer to a graffiti artist named Moderna 83, who speaks in words of one syllable - and it's always the same syllable.
Looking at Ludlam's apparent disdain for the avant-garde, you'd never know he has blazed a few trails himself as head of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company. Perhaps it's just posing and posturing that upset him, though he treats the whole ''vanguard'' scene with a withering attitude.
In on the plot are such Ridiculous regulars as Bill Vehr and Black-Eyed Susan , along with some energetic newcomers. Ludlam leads them with a typically frantic performance that strikes a dozen perfect notes for every occasional clinker.
In all, it's not a great evening with the Ridiculous gang - sometimes self-conscious about its own silliness, and childish in some of its vulgar touches, which would probably mandate a PG rating if this were a movie. Still, the plot is as thick as can be, and the satire is closer to uproarious than anything the troupe has done since ''Reverse Psychology'' a few seasons ago. Moliere will never be quite the same - and neither will the avant-garde, which has surely met its match.