PLATTEVILLE — The UW–Platteville Department of Performing and Visual Arts Theatre and Pioneer Players will present Molière’s classic comedy “Tartuffe,” in the Center for the Arts Theatre today through Sunday.
Tickets for the production, which is recommended for mature audiences, are available through the University Box Office, 342-1298 or tickets.uwplatt.edu.
The production opens with a special $3 Benefit Wednesday performance today at 7:30 p.m. All proceeds will go to the Platteville Food Pantry and Emergency Medical Service. Regular performances, with ticket prices ranging from $5 to $9, will continue Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Matinee performances are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.
“‘Tartuffe” is considered by theatre scholars as the strongest of Molière’s many fine comedies,” said Dr. David Schuler, UW–Platteville associate professor of theatre and the production’s director.
According to Schuler, the play follows a wealthy merchant, Orgon, who has fallen under the con man Tartuffe’s spell. The rest of Orgon’s family knows Tartuffe is a fraud, out to steal his wealth, seduce his wife, and marry his daughter. Will Orgon come to his senses before it’s too late?
Molière’s condemnation of religious hypocrisy still rings true today, some 350 years later. He mercilessly examines the evil men commit and the damage they cause under the guise of religious fervor. Danger awaits those who blindly follow despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary.
“Since we survived ‘Macbeth’ last year, I wanted to continue challenging the students with the demands that classical theatre places upon actors,” said Schuler. “Richard Wilbur, one of America’s poet laureates and a Molière specialist, has done a marvelous job translating the rhymed couplet French verse into more compact iambic pentameter rhymed couplets.
Like Shakespeare, Molière’s plays deal with large ideas and long thoughts, so the trick once again is to balance size with a conversational honesty and truth.”
Schuler added that since “Tartuffe” is also a classic comedy of manners influenced by the Italian Commedia dell’Arte, there is a tremendous amount of both physical comedy and verbal wit in the play.
“‘Tartuffe’ gives our students a chance to tackle both stylized heightened language and physical comedy,” said Schuler.
The cast includes UW–Platteville students Bob Briggs of Burlington; Emily Cooksey of Watertown; Jarrod Diehm of Grinnell, Iowa; Cody Ellis of Butler; Jen Jacobus of Boscobel; Bridget Kelly of Monroe; Jake Lange of Greenfield; Rachael Lester of Libertyville, Ill.; Johnny Schumaker of Crystal Lake, Ill.; Dakota Vaassen of Galena; and Nick Varela of Fennimore.
Additional UW–Platteville students involved in the production include Nancy Horstmann of West Salem, the stage manager; Dana Hach of Highland, scenic designer; and Lucas Pawelski of Stevens Point, assistant technical director.
Jeffrey Strange, UW–Platteville assistant professor of theatre and the university’s resident designer and technical director, is designing the lighting for the production.
“As usual, Jeffrey has done a marvelous job at conveying an urban chic environment while simultaneously supporting the modern, eclectic feel of Dana Hach’s scenic world,” said Schuler.