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What better activity is there to do on a fall evening than to see a play?  The most recent Principia production, Tartuffe, was performed four times this past weekend, each time just as amazing as the last.

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Molière’s social comedy Tartuffe is the story of a religious hypocrite attempting to get an innocent friend and his family arrested and ultimately to cheat them out of their house.  Through professions of love, potential marriages, and transferred inheritance, the hypocrite Tartuffe is ultimately jailed for his treachery.  It seems that the play’s ultimate goal was to satirize hypocrites and certain aspects of the Catholic Church.

Tartuffe is considered a classical play, something that is performed at Principia every other year on average, and it was executed wonderfully.  From the fabulous costumes, to the well-executed technical attributes (such as the strobe light fast forward!), to the rhyming lines, it was easy to feel like the audience was back in the 1600’s with the actors.  Each actor had a great handle on the 17th century language, and it was amazing to see how in-character each person was.  Sophomore audience member Robert Barnacle said, “The actors did an amazing job being in character the entire time. It was good that they stuck to the translation [so] well.”

With rehearsals six days a week, three to four hours a day, putting together this difficult play in eight weeks was no small task.  Fortunately, with the efforts of a wonderful guest director, Tom Bruno, it went on flawlessly.  Senior Kirsty Rivett, who played Dorine, said, “not only was it great to get the experience of working with someone new, but [Bruno] was such a gift to us. He’s a hilarious, hard-working, professional guy who we all admire and cherish the experience of working with. It never feels like work, though.”

Under the direction of guest director, Tom Bruno, Tartuffe received a great response from the campus. photo // Darline Ambugo

Another great aspect was the diversity of characters that Tartuffe provided for the actors.  Senior Erik Siegling said, “I really enjoyed playing the character of Orgon because he was actually very different from anything I’ve played before. Usually I get cast as the leading young man, and I never get to play those old fat characters. This has been a fun challenge to play age, weight, style, and rhyming verse all in one!”

Audience member Lauren Cornthwaite said, “This play was one of the best I’ve seen performed here at Prin. The actors really stepped up their game and pushed to make this a spectacular performance. Molière isn’t easy to do, and they really got all of the lines and mannerisms down! I could really understand everyone; they were all enunciating, and that made it incredible.”

Molière, born Jean Baptiste Poquelin in 1622, was a controversial and talented comic playwright. He mastered French “social comedy” and on his own made it well respected. In his plays, he analyzes society and picks apart different people in it and the roles that they play.  Tartuffe was such a controversial play that it was banned from production, and the only way Molière got it on stage was through his influence with the king.

Tartuffe was a great representation of the excellence that can be expected from Principia students. Make sure to look out for more Principia productions: from plays, to dances, to singing, they are sure to be just as fantastic.

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