A glossy checkerboard floor, notched table, elegant chairs and glittering chandeliers set the scene for the Department of Theater and Dance’s latest performance, Molière’s “Tartuffe.” Directed by Tom Whitaker, an Associate Professor of Acting, “Tartuffe” is a splendid two hours of family dilemmas, debauchery and a tyrannical imposter.
Brian Bock, a fourth-year theater major, plays the role of the fraud, Tartuffe, whom he describes as “an entitled sociopath pretending to be a priest who is completely power-driven, money-driven and sex-driven.”
Orgon, a wealthy but foolish man, takes great delight in Tartuffe’s seemingly pious ethos. He refuses to believe his family members when they warn him about Tartuffe’s vindictive, manipulating demeanor. Naïve Orgon takes the imposter into his opulent Parisian home, much to the dismay of his wife, children and brother. Even the maid, played by fourth-year BFA member Allie Granat, is perturbed by Orgon’s new house guest.
“Dorine, the sassy maid, is the voice of blunt truth and practicality,” Granat said. “She fights for what is right, even if it is not her place to do so.”
The show, filled with arguments, sexual innuendos and flamboyant costumes designed by Ann Bruice, offers a little something for everyone in the audience. The excellent script and comedic plotline are timeless, which explains why the show has been around for centuries.
“Even though it was written hundreds of years ago, elements in Tartuffe are still continuous in our society,” director Tom Whitaker said. “There is a family infiltrated by an imposter, and familiar dynamics like the controlling father, advising uncle and innocent daughter in love.”
After six weeks, over 120 hours of rehearsal and a fiasco that involved Brian Bock accidentally pulling out Elena Adcock’s bra instead of a handkerchief, “Tartuffe” is perfected and ready for show time. Performances are tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.