The Philanthropist


Writers: Christopher Hampton


Show Information

Number of Acts
First Produced
Contemporary, Unit/Single Set
Time & Place
england, 1970s
Cast Size
Ideal for
Small Cast
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes adult, young adult characters


The Philanthropist is Christopher Hampton’s revisioning of Moliere’s classic French play, The Misanthrope. The play follows the life of academic philologist, Philip, largely over a period of 24 hours, and his misadventures and inability at dealing with life. While out in the real world, the Prime Minister and many of his cabinet ministers have been assassinated, Philip’s world revolves around anagrams, his own sexual ineptitude, and finding the real meaning to his life. During the course of the play he unwittingly witnesses an accidental suicide, hosts an unsuccessful dinner party, provokes an arrogant novelist, goes to bed with the wrong girl, and loses the only woman he hoped to marry. At the end of his dinner party, all of the guests--fellow academic Don, Philip’s fiancee Celia, grad student Araminta, arrogant novelist Braham, and silent student Liz--all pair up to travel home. After they each spend the night with another guest (with varying levels of success), Philip’s cozy world comes crashing down around him. His endless amiability with his contemporaries leads him to end up alone and more confused with his life than ever before. Witty, clever, and surprisingly moving, The Philanthropist revolves around Hampton’s sophisticated, yet subtle dialogue.

Lead Characters

The Philanthropist guide sections