Moliere’s ‘Scapino’ brought into 21st century at Gulfshore Playhouse

Jeff Binder doesn’t mention that the title character of “Scapino” was written for him.

Binder, associate artistic director of Gulfshore Playhouse, talks about admiring Moliere as a playwright-actor whose intimacy with the stage filtered into his scripts.

He mentions the ultimately benevolent tone of “Scapino” — the Gulfshore Playhouse production opening Saturday — as a new facet of Moliere for some theatergoers weaned on the more acid “Tartuffe.”

He talks about the opportunity to examine the play, like a jeweler inspecting a diamond, rolling its words around in his mind “through five of these old public domain versions” during his Hurricane Irma-enforced sabbatical.

But truth is, Binder is looking at playing what may be one of his favorite characters in theater: the sly, scheming, Scapino, who rationalizes his behavior because justice is a lover who has jilted him — rather conveniently, one suspects. Binder didn’t flinch at rewriting the script to bring it into a pair of 20th century mob families suspected of commandeering their son’s life to forge an alliance in their fractious relationships, with Scapino running comic interference to stop the freight train.

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