Translated by Richard Wilbur
Directed by Makaela Pollock
Performed at the Center Theatre at Seattle Center
March 17, 2015–April 12, 2015
Orgon’s household is under the influence of a seductive swindler named Tartuffe. This cunning con man, masquerading as a holy man, plans to dupe the gullible Orgon out of his fortune, his daughter, and his reputation. The pious grifter can do no wrong in his host’s eyes, yet everyone else in the household smells a rat. Just when the jig is up, Tartuffe ups the stakes and the charm. Moliere’s laugh-out-loud funny tale of deception, hypocrisy, and power shish-kabobs false morality.
Running time: 2 hours and 15 minutes with one ten minute intermission.
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Makaela Pollock (Director), Carol Wolfe Clay (Set Designer), Christine Meyers (Costume Designer), Andrew D. Smith (Lighting Designer), Robertson Witmer (Sound Designer), Robin Macartney (Props Designer), Miranda C. Pratt (Stage Manager)
CAST (in alphabetical order)
Quinn Armstrong (Valére), Christine Marie Brown (Elmire), Suzy Hunt (Madame Pernelle), Bill Johns (Monsieur Loyal), Peter Lohnes (Orgon), Alex Matthews (Damis), Bhama Roget (Dorine), Riley Shanahan (Laurent), Brandon J. Simmons (Cléante), Reina Struk (Flipote), Maya Sugarman (Mariane), R. Hamilton Wright (Tartuffe).
Orgon’s family is up in arms because Orgon and his mother have fallen under the influence of Tartuffe, a pious fraud. Tartuffe’s antics fool no one else. Orgon announces that he will marry Tartuffe to his daughter, Mariane (already engaged to Valère). Mariane is shocked, and the family realizes how much influence Tartuffe has over Orgon.
The family devises a plan to trap Tartuffe into confessing to Elmire, Orgon’s wife, his desire for her. Tartuffe tries to seduce Elmire as Orgon’s son, Damis, listens in hiding. When Orgon arrives, Damis tells him what happened, but Orgon is convinced that Damis is lying and disowns him. Orgon signs over all his worldly possessions to Tartuffe.
Later, Elmire challenges Orgon to hide and witness Tartuffe’s true nature. In hiding, Orgon overhears Tartuffe’s forward
advances to Elmire. Orgon reveals himself and orders Tartuffe out of his house. Tartuffe in turn reveals that, earlier, he had taken a box containing letters which would incriminate Orgon. Tartuffe leaves and soon a message arrives thatthe family will be evicted. Even Madame Pernelle, Orgon’s mother, is finally convinced of Tartuffe’s hypocrisy.
As the messenger leaves, Valère rushes in with the news that Orgon is about to be arrested. Tartuffe arrives with an officer,
but to his surprise the officer arrests him instead. The officer explains that the enlightened King has heard of the injustices happening in the house and ordered Tartuffe’s arrest instead; it turns out that Tartuffe has a long criminal history and has often changed his name to avoid being caught.
As a reward for Orgon’s previous good services, the King not only forgives him for keeping the incriminating letters but also invalidates the deed that gave Tartuffe all of Orgon’s possessions. The entire family rejoices, and Orgon announces the upcoming wedding of Valère and Mariane.