Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes

Hannah Moscovitch’s play Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes is brilliant

The stage offers a place for reflection, and a little comic relief, in this gripping production at Centaur Theatre.

Hannah Moscovitch’s brilliant play titled Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes, directed by Eda Holmes, zones in on the illicit relationship between two characters: Annie, a 19-year-old post-secondary student (played by Inès Defossé) and Jon Macklem, a middle-aged celebrated novelist and professor who is struggling after his third divorce (played by Marcel Jeannin). 

Both Defossé and Jeannin offer lively, thought-provoking performances. The 90-minute play does not disappoint. Though it deals with complex themes, with some moments that can admittedly be difficult to watch, it also incorporates comedy into the narrative, something that helps to keep the audience further engaged.

Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes Centaur Theatre
Photos by Andrée Lanthier

While the archetype of the professor-student relationship has been explored before (My Dark Vanessa, The Corrections, to name a few), Moscovitch offers a fresh take on this archetype, especially through her steady incorporation of comedic relief. Viewers are immersed in the two different minds and lives of both characters and their motives and are left ultimately wondering: who holds the power in this relationship?

Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes elicits questions about accountability, tackling both sides of a taboo affair. It doesn’t shy away from the tough questions. In fact, it embraces them. The stage almost offers a place for reflection.

Centaur Theatre

Of the several monologues delivered by both characters, arguably the most powerful one comes from Annie near the end of the play, when she acknowledges the effect that her relationship with Jon has had on her. It is a harrowing moment, one that will resonate with those living in the era of #MeToo. It is also a moment that will undoubtedly stick in the minds of the viewers. This is one performance you will not want to miss. ■

For more on Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes, which runs through Nov. 27, please visit the Centaur Theatre website.

For more Montreal arts coverage, please visit the Arts & Life section.