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Before the Theater, Dine as Moliere Did

August 06, 1992|ANNE KLARNER

First you dine with Arnolphe, then you laugh at his romantic blunders. What could be nicer for a summer evening out?

It's an indulgence awaiting those who attend Friday's opening of Moliere's "The School For Wives" at Occidental College's Remsen Bird Hillside Theater. Before the play is Cafe Occidental, a dinner arranged by the college's Office of Institutional Advancement.

"We wanted to make something very different," said Director of Research Shirley Gottschalk, who started the event last year for the college's traditional summer theater festival. "For years, people would bring their own picnics. I thought if we did something that no restaurant or specialty shop could offer, it would be attractive."

What the office did was produce themed buffet dinners to complement the plays being done at the festival. For example, on Friday night Cafe Occidental presents Le Menu d'Arnolphe, named after the 17th-Century satire's main character, whose obsession for keeping his wife-to-be away from other men ends up making him a fool. The menu features boeuf bourguignon, salade nicoise, asperege au buerre and crepes au chocolat. Even the colors of the napkins have been coordinated with the design of the set. Director Chris Shelton will say a few words on how Moliere's own misadventures in the marital game influenced the play.

Three other Cafe Occidentals are scheduled: one for "School for Wives" on Aug. 15 and two for "The Foreigner" on Saturday and again on Aug. 14, featuring a Southern menu.

The dinners start at 6 p.m. at the college Faculty Club, with free parking there and shuttle service to the theater. Tickets are $21 for the dinner, in addition to the $16 or $11 for the performance. Reservations are required: (213) 259-2922. Occidental College is at 1600 Campus Road, Eagle Rock.

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