– by Chantelle Pitt
Moliere’s Tartuffe is a comedic masterpiece centered around religion, lust and greed. Performed by the Actor’s Hub Gap II students, Tartuffe is the best production I have seen in months.
Monsieur Tartuffe, a religious man, takes up residence in the Orgon household. He soon becomes a favourite of Monsieur Orgon, head of the house. Despite pleas from family and friends, Orgon welcomes Tartuffe into his home and family and Orgon becomes his devout friend, follower and brother. Unfortunately Tartuffe’s entrance into the household eventually spells disaster for Monsieur Orgon and his family.
This production has been the highlight of my theatre-going year so far. I absolutely loved it. While I was initially taken aback by the constant rhyming that the dialogue is built upon, once I grasped the concept everything made sense and I began to understand what was being said. I had never thought about how a seemingly simple act of rhyming lines would trigger such ecstatic laughter from the audience but it does. (I suppose there is just something naturally funny about watching people speak in rhymes.) The set is simply three platforms joined to make an upside-down ‘U’ with the middle platform raised higher than the rest; there are no scene changes but instead settings change when characters leave via each stage exit and new characters bring new settings and new conflict. Such a blank set leaves much the imagination as to what the Orgon house actually looks like and I enjoy that experience more than if a large set were used.
There were outstanding performance from all of the cast but special mention should go to Adam Droppert (Tartuffe). To his credit, Dropperty was the villain I loved to hate. Angela Mahlatjie (Dorine) handled the amount of lines with amazing grace and left a lasting impression on me.
I do have a point of constructive criticism I’d like to make to the actors and director Vivienne Garrett. Although I loved the play and I believe it was truly well done, I noticed that there is movement during dialogue when it didn’t seem required. Perhaps a simple change in direction could have done the movement justice and broken up the repetitive pattern.
If you like rhyming, comedy, or if you simply love to hate the villain then I seriously recommend you book tickets to Tartuffe.
Warning: This production contains sexual references. Not suitable for patrons under 15 years.
Tartuffe plays at Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre until the 25th of July. Information can be found at email@example.com
Images credit to The Actors Hub.