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Intellect

Molière's "Tartuffe" gets fresh look in BYU production Jan. 20-Feb. 6

“Tartuffe,” the classic comedy by one of the greatest comedic playwrights of all time, Jean Baptiste Molière, will open the winter semester theater calendar at Brigham Young University Wednesday, Jan. 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the Pardoe Theatre, Harris Fine Arts Center.

It will run through Saturday, Feb. 6, except Sundays and Mondays, with a matinee performance Saturday Jan. 30, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15, $13, $11 or $8 with a BYU or student ID and can be purchased online at byuarts.com, by phone at (801) 422-4322 or in person at the Harris Fine Arts Center Ticket Office.

As the play opens, Orgon, who is in the twilight of his life, has decided to give all his worldly possessions to a pious holy man named Tartuffe. However, this holy man is not all that he seems to be, and Orgon’s frantic family and friends are not fooled by Tartuffe’s behavior. They try to convince Orgon to abandon his folly. Otherwise, they will lose all to Tartuffe.

“‘Tartuffe’ is a very funny play, but there are strong and urgent consequences resulting from the characters’ actions, consequences that sometimes have dire effects,” said director Stephanie Breinholt. “I want the audience to feel that edge, not just revel in the humor.”

In a unique twist, the story’s design and acting styles span a period beginning in the 1600s and ending today. “The play is a farce, but it has dark and lasting implications,” said Breinholt. “I’ve found similar qualities in the work of [film director] Tim Burton.”

“I was also inspired by Cirque du Soleil. I recently saw their production ‘O’ again, and I immediately thought of Tartuffe and the line in the script referring to Orgon’s household: ‘It’s like a madhouse with the keeper gone,’” she said. “We made the servants of the house into ‘Cirque’ clowns who see everything and often understand what other characters production don’t.”

The cast includes Dallin Allred as Orgon and Andrew Veenstra as Tartuffe, as well as Anne Fleming, Alexis Wardle, Christie Clark, Rafe Gándola and Tanner Garrett.

Production staff members are original music composer David Jon Banks, dramaturg Wade Hollingshaus, stage manager Camee Faulk, scenic designer Eric Fielding, lighting designer Amber Coyne, costume designer Haleh Risdana, sound designer Kt Harrel and makeup and hair designer Jaynanne Meads.

The production is sponsored by the Department of Theatre and Media Arts. For more information, contact Stephanie Breinholt at (801) 422-4631 or at stephaniebreinholt@hotmail.com.

Writer: Ricardo Castro

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