Yes, I must admit that this is my first time reading Beaumarchais. *Cate hangs her head*Though I was aware of the basic plot and the effect The Marriage of Figaro had on the French Revolution, my exposure to Beaumarchais was only as direct at Rossini's "Largo Al Factotum" and Mozart's "Voi Che Sapete" could muster, since neither had I watched or even heard the operas in the their entirety. It's only now when I've established something of a rivalry between Marguerite (who was Suzanne in the play) and Geneviève (who plays Cherubino in the opera) that I'm finally studying them both -- and I think I'm falling in love with Wolfie. (Rossini's opera didn't premiere until 1816, so sadly he is being ignored.) It's very true that the original Marriage of Figaro is much more political than the opera. In truth, Beaumarchais get occasionally very, well, unsubtle about his political views, stopping the action to have a character pontificate about some issue that was already inherent in the plot. What I did enjoy about the plays, especially Marriage was the naturalness of the characters. Present in Barber, they come fully to wonderful, sarcastic life in the second play. The opening scene with Suzanne/Suzanna and Figaro -- with plenty of teasing on both sides -- is one of my favourites in both versions. One can see that Beaumarchais had been working at his craft between the production of the two plays. While The Barber of Seville is a fun romp, the more complex plot and even more natural dialog of The Marriage of Figaro sets the second play off as a treasure, even if its length and larger cast makes it the more difficult to produced. (As translator John Wood points out, it's so well structured that it does not allow for many cuts and in full it takes four and a half hours to perform.)Recently, I was made aware that Beaumarchais wrote a third Figaro play, La mère coupable (The Guilty Mother). I'm a little hesitant to read it, as it seems Beaumarchais makes a 180 regarding the Countess' relationship with Cherubin, but I suppose curiosity shall win out -- I have a copy of the full trilogy on order at the store. Lastly, I am happy to be vindicated by Beaumarchais' character notes, which the publishers were so kind to include. I'm still looking for a woman who plays Cherubino "properly" (ie: how I picture Geneviève playing him) -- I've seen too many productions with him either moping about the stage or being positively vindictive to the Count, rather than giving us Beaumarchais's "charming young scamp" who "throws himself eagerly into everything that comes along".