Tartuffe

By Moliere, translated by Christopher Hampton

Tue 14 – Sun 19 July 2009

It is odd with our modern eye to imagine that such a play as Tartuffe was banned on its first appearance in 1664 for holding up a mirror to the hypocrisy prevalent in French catholic society at the time. Yet banned it was. And only after considerable re-writes (the original did not contain the Mariane storyline, nor the final comeuppance of Tartuffe) was it allowed. Despite playing to packed houses, it was again banned until the late Victorian era, when our production is set – a time when, not unlike today, liberality was embraced as a necessary virtue that provided relief from the severe austerity of the past. As such, the play deals not only with the hypocrisy of the church, but also the potential delusion and hedonism that can result from carefree liberality without the grounding forces of frugality, sobriety and morality. Tartuffe is unquestionably a hustler and it is easy to laugh at Orgon’s lack of self awareness in allowing him in, but he is only exploiting a void already present in his victim. As such, the play asks each of us if, given the option of finding deeper, simpler meaningful satisfaction in our lives, is it not possible we would also go to absurd lengths – if we don’t already – to fill the vacuum.

Tartuffe is one of the most brilliantly structured plays in western literature and we at TTC hope you enjoy it as much as we have presenting it for you.

CAST IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE

Madame Pernelle Honor Southam
Dorine Nicky Moreton
Damis Steve Upsall
Elmire Samantha Comfort
Cleante Jenny McQueen
Mariane Jenny Hills
Orgon John Walker
Tartuffe Chris Woodward
Lauraine Helen Tudball
Valere Steve Batchelor
Mr Loyal Derek Von Bethmann-Hollweg

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