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Mainstage production to offer modern take on “Tartuffe”
Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tartuffe at SUNY Fredonia
The cast of the Mainstage production of “Tartuffe” includes, from left, Dave Ebert as Tartuffe, Adam Kane as Orgon and Amy White as Elmire. The play opens Nov. 30 in Bartlett Theatre at SUNY Fredonia

A charming con man puts all his talents to use to take advantage of a well-to-do family that makes the mistake of taking him in. 

No, it’s not the plot of the latest reality television series. It’s the basic premise of “Tartuffe,” a masterwork by Moliére, France’s most celebrated comedic playwright.

“Tartuffe” will be the second offering from the Department of Theatre and Dance in the 2007-08 Walter Gloor Mainstage Series. It will open Friday, Nov. 30 in Bartlett Theatre.

A comedy in five acts, Tartuffe recounts the tale of an “irreclaimable hypocrite” with an uncanny ability to fool those around him and take advantage of them.

While Moliere’s original work is set in the aristocratic society of 17th century Paris, this particular production will move the setting to modern-day Southern California.

“We wanted some place that was bright and sunny to provide a good background for a comedy,” said director Ted Sharon, a professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance, “and Southern California certainly lends itself to affluence.”

According to Professor Sharon, the Mainstage production features a pre-show not to be missed with pre-recorded video surveillance footage of Tartuffe's scandalous antics. The cast will also be ready to improvise in verse at the ring of an audience-controlled bell.

“It’s coming together fast and furious,” Professor Sharon said. “The concept is holding strong, the cast members are embracing their roles, the set is looking great and the music is coming together.”

As with other Mainstage productions, the set and lighting design are being done by students in the Department of Theatre and Dance.

While the setting will be a modern one, the spirit of Molière’s original work carries through.

“The definition of a classic is a work that can fit in any time period,” Professor Sharon said. “It has a universal theme that holds true.”

The SUNY Fredonia production of Tartuffe is described by Sharon as “a fast-paced ride to hilarity the whole family will enjoy.”
Show dates and times for “Tartuffe” are: Friday, Nov. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 1 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 2 at 2 p.m.; and Thursday, Dec. 6 through Saturday Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. Due to the intimacy of the space, the Department of Theatre and Dance would like to remind patrons that late seating is not permitted in Bartlett Theatre.

For tickets, interested persons should visit the SUNY Fredonia Ticket Office in the Williams Center or phone 673-3501 (toll free at 1-866-441-4928).

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