Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Tartuffe" at BYU

I was so excited to see BYU's theater department would be putting on Moliere's Tartuffe this semester. Johann got us tickets as a Christmas gift and we went to see it just under a month ago (thanks Bryan and Natalie for babysitting!). If you're not familiar with the play, take an hour and read it. Moliere is the expert in using humor to point out the follies all too common to humanity, in this instance he focuses on hypocrisy.
We went with high hope (me especially having spent a term talking about 17th century French theater). We left...somewhat underwhelmed.
The play itself is hilarious but the inability of many of the actors to speak the lines without completely falling into the sing-song trap was a little irksome; running through the lines just to hit on the rhyming couplets.
On to some of the better points. Intermission was hilarious. They did some interaction with the crowd, sang some songs etc. The staging was great as was the set. They used picture frames with screens and posed behind them while singing or before their entrances. Orgon and Cleante were great, Tartuffe was pretty good, the rest were alright.
Overall, glad we went. I always enjoy a night out, especially to see a play!

Some of the most important lines:

“Your simulators don't disarm my wits. Like courage, piety has its hypocrites. Just as we see, where honor beckons most, the truly brave are not the ones who boast; the truly pious people, even so, are not the ones who make the biggest show. What? Do you really see no difference between devoutness and devout pretense? Do you want to give them both the selfsame place, honor the mask just as you do the face, equate artifice with sincerity, and take similitude for verity? Isn't there any difference for you between phantoms and men, false coins and true?” (Act 1, Scene 5, Line 324-338).

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