Tartuffe is shrouded in the guise of an angel.
But underneath his well-crafted persona lurks a devious liar.
His mentor, Orgon, is blind to Tartuffe’s real character and believes his apprentice is a pious and saintly man. Orgon’s family realizes Tartuffe’s real disposition and as its concern increases, it begins to work to expose Tartuffe’s true nature.
Yet Tartuffe possesses strong persuasive skills and even as family members work against him, Tartuffe is slowly tearing the family apart.
It’s a dilemma explored in Moliere’s play Tartuffe, this fall’s theatrical presentation by the Vancouver Island theatre department.
The French writer created the satirical play because he saw people abusing positions of power.
“The character of Tartuffe is a con artist … He completely pulls the wool over the eyes of his mentor Orgon,” said Leon Potter, a VIU theatre professor.
“I play a cheater who uses so much energy. Basically I do everything to convince everyone I am telling the truth,” said Elly Tomasson, a second-year theatre student who plays Tartuffe.
The stage is plainly set with multiple doors lining the backdrop.
It creates a dreamlike experience for the audience with the real presence of the actors bringing the viewers further into the tale.
“By making something almost dreamlike it can survive forever and is timeless,” said Potter.
It allows the actors to create their own way of telling the story.
“This is going to be stunning to look at visually,” said Potter.
The play is picturesque but is also “hilarious,” he said.
For Jocelyn Dickson, also a second-year theatre student, the play allowed her to explore choreography.
“She is almost catlike,” said Dickson about her character Elmire, Orgon’s wife. “She is moving with this weird specific flow.”
Tartuffe premiers tonight (Nov. 5) at 8 p.m. at the Malaspina Theatre. Showtimes are Nov. 6-7, and Nov. 12-14 at 8 p.m. Matinee shows are Nov. 10 at noon and 4 p.m. and Nov. 12 at noon. Tickets are $10 for students and seniors and $12 for adults, available at the door or by calling 250-740-6100.