Peter Gill, playwright and theatre director
Home | Up | News | Productions | Pieces | Résumé | Pictures | Studio | Publications | Links


Bookmark and Share

The Marriage of Figaro

Beaumarchais' notes on his characters

One cannot too strongly recommend the actor who plays this role to get right into the part as did Monsieur Dazincourt. If he sees in it anything other than good sense seasoned with gaiety and sallies of wit — above all. if he introduces any element of caricature — he will diminish the effect of a role which, in the opinion of Monsieur Preville. the leading comic actor of our theatre, would bring honour to the talents of any player able to appreciate the fine shades of the part and fully rise to the opportunities it offers.
She is a resourceful, intelligent, and lively young woman, but she has none of the almost brazen gaiety characteristic of some of our young actresses who play maidservants.
This part can only be played, as it was in fact, by a young and very pretty woman: we have no very young men in our theatre who are at the same time sufficiently mature to appreciate the fine points of the part. Cherubin is diffident in the extreme in the presence of the Countess but otherwise he's a charming young scamp. The basis of his character is an undefined and restless desire. He is entering on adolescence all unheeding and with no understanding of what is happening to him, and throws himself eagerly into everything that comes along. In fact, he is what every mother in her innermost heart, would wish her own son to be even though he might give her much cause for suffering.
Count Almaviva
should be played with great dignity yet with grace and affability. The depravity of his morals should in no way detract from the elegance of his manners. It was customary in those days for great noblemen to treat any design upon the fair sex in a spirit of levity. The part is all the more difficult to play well in that it is always the unsympathetic role. Nevertheless, played by an excellent actor (Monsieur Mole), it brought out the qualities of the other roles and assured the success of the play.
The Countess
Torn between two conflicting emotions she should display only a restrained tenderness and very moderate degree of resentment, above all nothing which might impair her amiable and virtuous character in the eyes of the audience.


Home | Up | Résumé | Synopsis | Characters | Figaro's Marriage | Figaro's Act V speech | Beaumarchais's Career | Beaumarchais | Da Ponte memoirs | Mozart on marriage

Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site.  Copyright © 1999-2012

Last modified: 2012-03-15