Cover art "Macaire as Speculator" by Honoré Daumier

The Fraudster

Honoré de Balzac, translated by Laurence Senelick
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THE FRAUDSTER follows Auguste Mercadet, a man fighting against his creditors and the ruses he uses to escape them.

Production Info

Cast: 15 total (4 female, 11 male)
Full Length Comedy (about 120 minutes)
Single Set
Period Costumes
Categories: , Tags: ,

Press Quotes

“The name has remained in the language to designate a glib-tongued promoter of doubtful enterprises. But it is more than a character comedy; it is also one of manners and a satire on an epoch of frenzied speculation, when small business gave way to large combinations and stock-companies, when money, not honor, was the god of France … It is the earliest representative of naturalism on the stage.” —Joseph L Borgerhoff, 1931

“The great theme of THE FRAUDSTER is the void. This void is incarnate in Godeau, the phantom partner always awaited, never seen, and who eventually creates a fortune from his void alone. Godeau is an invention for producing hallucinations; Godeau is not a creature, he’s an absence, but this absence exists because Godeau is a function … Balzac saw the coming modern age no longer as the world of property and individuals (categories in the Napoleonic code), but as that of functions and values. What exists is no longer what is but what is assumed to be. In THE FRAUDSTER all the characters are voids (except the women), but they exist because their vacuity is contiguous: they assume one another to exist.” —Roland Barthes

About the Author


  • Honoré de Balzac

    Honoré de Balzac was born May 20, 1799 in Tours, France and died August 18, 1850 in Paris. He produced a vast number of novels and short stories collectively called La Comédie humaine (The Human Comedy). He helped to establish the traditional form of the novel and is generally considered to be one of the greatest novelists of all time. He was also the author of seven plays.

  • Laurence Senelick

    Laurence Senelick is the Director of Graduate Studies, Fletcher Professor of Drama and Oratory, at Tufts University. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard. His expertise is in Russian theatre and drama, history of popular entertainment, gender and performance, history of directing, classical theory. Prof. Senelick is the author or editor of more than twenty-five books, the most recent being, Soviet Theatre: A Documentary History; Stanislavsky: A Life in Letters; and The American Stage: Writing on the American Theatre (Library of America) and A Historical Dictionary of Russian Theatre. Others books include: The Chekhov Theatre: A Century of the Plays in Performance and The Changing Room: Sex, Drag, and Theatre, as well as over a hundred articles in learned journals. He is a former Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Institute for Advanced Studies in Berlin. Prof. Senelick was named Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011. Prof. Senelick has been named a Distinguished Scholar by both the American Society of Theatre Research and the Faculty Research Awards Council of Tufts University. He is the recipient of grants and awards from, among others, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies. He has received the Barnard Hewitt Award of the American Society for Theatre Research for The Chekhov Theatre; the George Freedley Award of the Theatre Library Association for The Age and Stage of George L. Fox and The Changing Room; and the George Jean Nathan Award for best dramatic criticism of 2000. He holds the St. George medal of the Russian Ministry of Culture for services to Russian art and scholarship, and is honorary curator of Russian theatre at the Harvard Theatre Collection. He was also awarded a stipend from the TranScript/Mikhail Prokhorov Fund for Translation from the Russian. In 2008 he won the Graduate Teaching award (doctoral level) of the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools and in 2012 the Betty Jean Jones Prize of American Theatre and Drama Society for Distinguished Teaching. He is a widely produced translator of plays from such authors as Chekhov and Feydeau, and director at Tufts of his own translations of The Inspector General, The Bakkhai, and Anything to Declare? He has acted and directed with such organizations as the Poets' Theatre, the Loeb Drama Center, the Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Baroque, the Actors Theatre of Louisville, and the revue The Proposition. He recently devised new courses on Cabaret, Theatre and Visual Studies, and Low Comedy and played Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape at the Balch Arena Theatre. His recipes appear in the Bon Appetit cookbooks.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 10/7/2022
Pages 136
ISBN 9780881459371

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:
The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
The Fraudster is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC