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Tartuffe - by Molière - Translated into English verse by Richard Wilbur
by Molière
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d into English verse by Richard Wilbur
Directed by Tony Vezner

Feb. 14-Feb.24, 2002
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8:00PM Sundays at 2:30PM Also, Sunday, Feb. 17 at 7:30PM Saturday, Feb. 23 at 2:30PM

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Orgon once led an extravagant life, indulging his daughter and second wife.  Then he fell under the spell of Tartuffe, a religious leader both mysterious and aloof, and Orgon became Tartuffe's prized student, shifting from bourgeois to prude.  Orgon's family and servants are forced to pull out all the stops to expose the larceny, seduction, and treason hidden in Tartuffe's religious con.

Tartuffe Cast and Crew

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 . . . . . . .  About  . . . . . . 

   . . . .  Notes  . . . .  

More   Page 2    Page 3   Page 4

 the play

 the author

Director

Dramaturg

Background    
Cast in order of appearance:

Flipote, Mme. Pernelle’s maid Sabina, Eve Nelson
Dorine, Mariane’s maid, Roxanne Taylor
Madame Pernelle, Orgon’s mother,  Marilyn Darnall
Elmire, Orgon’s second wife, Kathleen Kusper 
Damis, Orgon’s son, Rich Kropp 
Mariane, Orgon’s daughter, Stephanie Abramowitz
Cléante,
Orgon’s brother-in-law, Harry Hultgren
Orgon, Elmire’s husband, Craig Mahlstedt 
Valère, Mariane’s suitor, Seth Evans
Tartuffe, a hypocrite, Bill Hammack 
Monsieur Loyal, a bailiff,  Marion J. Reis
Officer,  Joel Nikoleit


Director’s Note
It seems to me very appropriate that our production of Tartuffe is running during the same month as the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. I know that our actors feel like they have endured six weeks of “athletic comedy training” rather than rehearsal for a farce. Comedy is hard work—and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It may look easy, but it’s a strenuous routine. This is especially true when you work on a text as vibrant and lively as Molière’s Tartuffe.
First off, it’s a workout for the mouth and the memory. It is standard for actors to be concerned about being heard and understood. Yet when you work on a Molière play, you have the added challenge of lengthy sentences written in rhyming couplets. The frenetic nature of the play’s action demands that the text be spoken quickly. The amount of vocal dexterity and lung power it takes to speak the lines challenges the actors’ lungs, lips and jaws. And even though some actors find the rhyming couplets easier to remember, those couplets can be unforgiving should memory fail. Most actors can ad-lib natural-sounding prose; still others with a sense of rhythm can improvise non-rhyming blank verse, as in Shakespeare. But if your memory falters while performing Molière, you not only have to say something that makes sense, you have to make it rhyme. Cleverly. Now, that’s a challenge. 
Then there’s the workout for the body. A number of cast members have remarked that each rehearsal provides a day’s worth of aerobic exercise, and I’d have to agree. Molière borrowed his comedic style from an Italian tradition called “commedia dell’arte” which emphasized broad, physical comedy, silly stage violence, and tricks of physical agility. We’ve found many opportunities to use this style in our production. You’re going to see actors crawling, running, leaping, wrestling, and throwing each other around tonight. The table scene (you’ll know it when you see it) may appear to be a fun, lusty romp over and around a table. In reality, it’s a long, choreographed routine of precision moves and stage combat more akin to Olympic pair figure-skating than acting. Finally, there’s the workout for the actors’ sensibilities. It’s not enough to speak in rhyming couplets and perform athletic moves—they need to make it seem natural to the character. In the midst of rhyming like they really mean it, they have to interact with passion and real need. This last challenge has stretched us all, and only you, our audience, can decide if we pull off this final undertaking. 
I believe that if curling is an Olympic sport, acting in a Molière comedy should certainly gain the same status some day. With that said, sit back, relax, and let the games begin!


About the Play 
Tartuffe was first performed at the palace of Versailles in 1664 and was immediately banned. The King had delighted in the satire, but powerful members of the Catholic Church in France were outraged. To underscore the true target of the play, Molière changed the title to The Hypocrite, but even that did not appease his detractors. Scandal makes for good box office, and as a result, the French nobility were anxious to see the play; Molière performed numerous readings of Tartuffe in private homes. Soon he was called before the papal legate to read the script. Happily, the legate believed that the play mocked the Jansenists (an extreme right wing of the Church), while the Jansenists in turn believed that the play portrayed the loose morals of the left wing of the Church. Thus, thanks to the reality that we can easily see the foolishness of others but not our own, Tartuffe returned to the stage for good.

About the Author  
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin was born in Paris in 1622, and his upbringing was thoroughly bourgeois. His father’s royal appointment as “Bourgeois de Paris” (“middle-class guy”, more or less) was earned by selling bedding to the nobility. By the time Jean-Baptiste was 22, he’d quit law school, taken up with an actress(!), started a theatre, achieved bankruptcy, and changed his name to Molière, thus becoming the most bourgeois of bourgeois sons—a bohemian dropout. Molière’s initial venture into theatre was so financially and artistically disastrous that he fled Paris. He spent the next thirteen years touring the provinces, where he learned his craft as actor, director, and writer. He was especially influenced by the farcical style of Italy’s commedia dell’arte. When his company finally returned to Paris, they performed Molière’s biting, up-to-the-minute social farces in a broadly physical style. Parisian audiences flocked to the performances, and Molière began to seek approval from courtly circles. The King’s brother became Molière’s patron. In 1661, Molière wrote the first of his major plays, The School for Husbands, which revealed his skill with light rhymes rather than the heavy, image-laden poetry of his contemporaries. It also revealed the theme that would inspire the rest of his plays—middle class obsession. He wrote of obsession with money in The Miser; with health in The Doctor in Spite of Himself; with manners in The Bourgeois Gentleman. With Tartuffe, written in 1664, Molière took aim at “obsessive religion” (in contrast to what he termed “true religion”), and suddenly the author needed all of the protection that his new patron, King Louis XIV, could provide. For the next nine years, Molière was embroiled in bitter battles with the Church. 
On February 17, 1673, while performing in The Imaginary Invalid, Molière was stricken with a coughing fit and collapsed. He died later that night. His wife was forced to beg Louis XIV to intercede with the Archbishop of Paris so that Molière could be properly buried, a right actors forfeited by their choice of profession.

Setting:  Orgon’s house in modern-day Paris, France (if modern day French people spoke in rhyming couplets and France retained a functional monarchy).

Production Credits
Director,  Tony Vezner
Stage Manager, Liz Egan
Assistant Stage Manager, Charlie Egan

Costume Designer, Beth Hubbartt

Costume Crew, Karen Babcock, Kim Hurley, Andrea Imes, Mary O’Dowd, Patricia Rafferty, Carolyn Redding, Jane Stacy, Dorothy Tressler, Marilyn Weiher

Dramaturg, Carol Dapogny

Lighting Designers, Dick Jacoby, Peg Jacoby

Lighting Crew, Jon Mills, Paul Roach,

Stephanie Rychlowski, Cal Turner

Makeup Designer, Ginny Richardson

Makeup Crew, Merrilyn Tomchaney, Sara Torrey

Properties Designers,Carin Klock, Susan Kosiarek

Properties Crew, Bryon Abramowitz, Bonnie Hilton, Jan Mahlstedt, Stephanie Robey, Julie Suarez

Set Designer, Tom Squillo

Set Construction Chair,Tom Squillo

Set Construction Crew, Mark Favoino, Tim Feeney, Tom Frohnapfel, Michael Huth, Heinz Karplus, Mike Pavia, Bill Redding, Bill Rotz

Set Painting Chair, Bill Rotz

Set Painting Crew, John Allen, Ralph Byers, Carol Clarke, Art Kelly, Sandra Lulay, Susan Remy, Pat Rotz, Fred Sauers, Sandy Squillo

Sound Designer, Martha Hogenboom

Sound Crew, Hedy Bosch

Technical Director, Shelley Dotson

Production Box Office Chair, Sandy Squillo

Production Box Office Crew, Peg Callaghan, George Dempsey, Jill Neely, Lori B. Proksa, Patti Roeder, Mary Ellen Schutt, Virginia Swinnen

Production Coordinator, Carol Dapogny

Production Group Sales Chair, Carol Clarke

Production Hospitality Crew, Catherine Bloomer, Linda Bremer, Brian Centers, Mark Cunningham, Judy DiVita, Pauline Gamble, Jon Genson, Jennifer Jindrich, Karin Kramer, Caitlin Machak, Lisa Machak, Nikita Machak, Joanne Patten, Jim Patten, Lauren Patten, Nora Patten, Rob Snyder, Gregg Valek, Lenka Valek, Stephanie Williams

Production House Managers, Jack Calvert, Susan Cardamone, Joe Delaloye, Jim Dutton, Mike Mallon, Kevin McGrath, Jon Mills, Tom Schutt, Bill Wilson, Denny Wise 

Production Lobby Photo Display, Marge Heffernan, Jane Stacy

Production Posters, Kathleen Kusper

Production Program Chair, Mary Maureen Gentile

Production Program Design, John Vilhauer

Production Publicity Chair, Linda Auer

Artistic Director, Tony Vezner

Marketing and Managing Director, Jeffrey P. Arena

About the Translator

Richard Wilbur, Pulitzer Prize winner for Things of this World (1956) and the second United States Poet Laureate, was born in New York City on March 1, 1921. As a translator, he strives for the same easy style he demonstrates in his original works. He has translated Don Juan, The Imaginary Cuckold, The Misanthrope, and other plays by Molière, as well as Andromache and Phaedra, both by Racine.


Acknowledgments:
Produced by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc.

Special Thanks:
Philippe Parker, of site-moliere.com, provided practical, historical and scholarly advice.

Charron and Dick Traut generously loaned the Theatre the chandelier used in the production.

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