In an unconventional rendition of a classic play, our junior and senior students will perform an Old West inspired version of “Tartuffe” written by French playwright Molière. Dr. David Klein, our school’s acting instructor, gave insightful background into the story of Tartuffe and Molière’s life.
“This play was written in the 17th century by Molière who was considered one of the greatest satirists of all theater history, and he was a little bit controversial and lived a fascinating life. He was an actor and he was the son of the royal upholsterer and it was assumed he would take over that job, but instead he ran away and joined a caravan of actors,” Dr. Klein said.
He explained Molière was a great playwright and actor who often acted in his own plays.
“Tartuffe” focuses on religious hypocrisy, something Dr. Klein believes remains an issue in today’s society.
“I wanted to do something where it would invoke something more modern; so people would understand that this is not so far away from us; this is not 400 years ago. This is not that different from today,” Dr. Klein said.
Choosing to set “Tartuffe” during the 1950s in the American south, he believes this setting can portray a time where people were very religiously naive and intense.
In light of this setting, the cast will speak in a southern dialect. Dr. Klein described the script, written primarily in rhymed couplets, as unusual and something that the cast has to accommodate. “In their auditions, they spoke in verse where they would be able to get a feel for it,” Dr.Klein said.
“Tartuffe” chronicles a rich man (Orgon) who welcomes a religious con-artist into his home, under the belief that the con-artist is a priest (the con-artist’s name, Tartuffe, means imposter in French). Orgon becomes so loyal to Tartuffe that he gives him his daughter’s hand in marriage, his deed to his house and even throws out his son due to his disapproval of Tartuffe.
“It ends up with the whole family in chaos which Tartuffe has caused, and the whole family almost becomes bankrupt out on the street,” Dr. Klein said.
Senior Natalie Medina, stage manager, helps assist in planning the show successfully, along with assistant stage manager sophomore John Eastep.
“A stage manager basically stays in contact with everyone constantly whether it be the cast, the technical directors or the director. They are in charge of making sure everything runs smoothly.” Medina said.
“I also have to keep tabs on how everyone is running and how far we got. After every rehearsal I have to write rehearsal reports to all the directors and designers. I also make sure that the actors are in line . . . and if they are not, I can help with that,” Medina continued.
Medina explained how Eastep, her assistant stage manager, assists her with the paperwork and other responsibilities usually covered by designers and publicists.“[In the end] it’s going to be her [Medina’s] show. She will be the boss,” Dr. Klein added.
“It is supposed to be set in the 1600s, but we are transposing it to the 1950s, so we’ve been watching television shows from the 50s, looking at the political climate and the fashion so we have an idea of the time,” senior Frederick Bredemeyer, who plays Tartuffe, said.
“Having the experience of playing a role like Tartuffe is so incredibly amazing . . . playing a complex character like that, you get to learn so much about the nuances of acting,” Bredemeyer said.
“I believe people should go see the show because it is going to be so different from anything they’ve ever seen before. It’s a classical play set in the south in the 50s. Who’s ever done that?” Junior Adelina Marinello, who plays Filpote, said.
“Tartuffe” and the fruits of the labor of the cast, directors and stage managers will premiere Nov. 14-17.