The Imaginary Invalid

Written in the seventeenth century, "The Imaginary Invalid" remains a contemporary comedy, addressing a universal ailment that has persisted throughout human history. Molière employs the medicine of laughter to enable his audience to confront and comprehend their follies and weaknesses without bruising their pride. The play revolves around a self-centered man ensconced in a world of both ignorance and wisdom. Through these characters, Molière underscores humanity's tendency to seek external remedies for its ailments instead of harnessing internal strength and resilience. Thus, "The Imaginary Invalid" serves as a metaphor for our times, skillfully illuminating a profound truth through the lens of humor.

The footage featured in this trailer was captured during performances in Austria and India back in 1996.

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Molière's comedic play follows the hypochondriac Argan, who believes himself to be constantly ailing. His obsession with his health leads him to consult numerous doctors, much to the frustration of his family. Meanwhile, his daughter Angelique is in love with Cleante, but Argan plans for her to marry a doctor to secure free medical care. Through a series of humorous misunderstandings and schemes, the play explores themes of deception, family dynamics, and the absurdities of the medical profession, ultimately culminating in a farcical yet enlightening resolution.

Featured characters

Argan, the hypochondriac

Beline, his second wife

Angelique, his eldest daughter, in love with Cleante

Beraldine, his sister

Louison, his younger daughter

Toinette, his housekeeper

Cleante, in love with Angelique

Mr. Diafoirus, a doctor

Thomas Diafoirus, suitor to Angelique

Mr. Fleurant, an apothecary

Mr. Purgon, a doctor

Mr. De Bonfois, a notary

Punchinello, in love with Toinette

The Angel


Type of show

Actors’ theatre in English, suitable for all ages

Running time

180 minutes

Actors on stage

12 actors and 2 musicians (accordion, percussion)

Minimum technical requirements

8 x 6 m stage space, two wings, mains electricity.


The show needs a simple general cover (pre-rigged).

Get in

Access is required from 10 am on the day of performance.

Set Strike time

Two hour.


On request.


The show is also suitable for non-theatrical spaces (ie halls, exhibition spaces, courtyards).





Catherine Gruyer

Original Cast

Argan - Kenneth Jay

Beline - Nicolette van 't Hek

Angelique - Sigrid Mertens/ Rita Maria Lönner

Beraldine - Alexandra Maitland Hume

Louison/ Mr. Fleurant - Deborah Eckman

Toinette - Gita Pattison

Cleante - Tim Bruce / Victor Vertunni

Mr. Diafoirus- Victor Vertunni / Reinhard Winter

Thomas Diafoirus - Tilmann Schillinger / George Barberton

Mr. Fleurant - Kim Lethbridge / Deborah Eckman

Mr. Purgon -  Kim Lethbridge

Mr. De Bonfois - Reinhard Winter

Punchinello - Tilmann Schillinger / Carlo Ferrante

The Angel - Monia Giovannangeli

Original music / Sound design

Philippe Chaignon

Didier Lamothe

Deborah Eckman


Philippe Chaignon - percussion

Didier Lamothe - accordeon, keyboard

Stage and lighting design

Martin Mohr


Monia Giovannangeli

Review quotes

I was sucked in by theatre. Just when you start to write off Indian theatre and despair sets in regarding the state of Indian drama, a breath of fresh air clears away the stagnation. This time, the revitalization comes in the form of a unique drama troupe – the Theatre of Eternal Values, a 'universal group of performers'.......

The Indian Express (Sophia Bhabha Auditorium, Mumbai, January 9, 1997)

Of the performance, one thing is certain: it is tempestuous, speedy, and colorful. French director Catherine Gruyer, along with the actors, has completely reimagined this biting comedy. Irreverence and deliberately inserted breaks in style give the whole production the feel of a furious Carnival gag, like an unrestrained prank that acknowledges nothing but itself.....

Wiener Zeitung (Theater in der Längenfeldgasse, Vienna, June 20, 1997)

Theatre of Eternal Values, an innovative multinational company, has cleverly blended dance, mime, and burlesque in this commendably inventive and highly entertaining production of Molière's classic comedy. From the moment the hypochondriac Argan takes the stage, plotting to marry his beautiful daughter Angélique into a medical family for his own benefit, the rollicking fun is non-stop.....

The Stage (for Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Greyfriars Kirk House, Edinburgh, August 1997)

Formed in Belgium only last year, the confident multinational cast of Theatre of Eternal Values begins its UK career with a vigorous adaptation of Molière's "Le Malade Imaginaire." Mixing dance, mime, and song, "The Imaginary Invalid" offers originality and a simple infectious exuberance that soon captivates the audience, though the larger-than-life performances have clearly been honed in less intimate venues....

The Scotsman (for Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Greyfriars Kirk House, Edinburgh, August 1997)

If your memories of Molière from university courses are not the fondest, you need a dose of "Theater of Eternal Values". This multinational company has conducted meticulous research into 17th-century French song, dance, and burlesque, resulting in a vibrant new interpretation of "The Imaginary Invalid.".....

Austria Today (Theater in der Längenfeldgasse, Vienna, October 26, 1997)

performance history
(country, theatres)


26-28/ 09/1996
Studio Moliere
Vienna, Austria

Akropolis Theatre
Prague, Czech Republic

05 - 08/10/1996
Theatre de Terr-Sainte
Coppet, Switzerland

11 - 12/10/1996
De Rode Pomp
Ghent, Belgium


09 - 10/01/1997
Sophia Bhabha Auditorium
Mumbai, India

13 - 15/01/1997
Siri Fort Auditorium
Delhi, India

24 - 25/05/1997
Festsaal Kulturzentrum
Meidling, Austria

04 - 05/06/1997
Teatro Ciak
Milano, Italy

Le Mois Moliere Festival
Versailles France

Theatre du Gymnase Marie Bell
Paris, France

Moliere Theatre
Vienna, Austria

18 - 19/06/1997
Bezirksfestwochen, Theater in der Längenfeldgasse
Vienna, Austria

Festsaal, Schulzentrum
Neumarkt, Austria

01/07 - 03/07/1997
Kleines Theater
Schallmoos, Austria

18 - 30/08/1997
Fringe Festival, Greyfriar's Kirk House
Edinburgh, Scotland

07/ 10 + 14/10//1997
St. Pölten, Austria

Linyer Volkshaus Keferfeld/Oed
Linz, Austria

25 - 26/10/1997
Theater in der Längenfeldgasse
Vienna, Austria

Black Box am Gasteig
Munich, Germany


25 - 28/05/1998
Theater Akzent
Vienna, Austria

Radio Kulturhaus, Grosser Sendesaal
Vienna, Austria


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