TARTOOF! It’s as fun to say as it is to watch, and it’s all hands on deck we we prepare to open Molière’s comic romp on Friday, July 6, officially kicking off our summer Mainstage repertory season!

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. Hijinks and physical comedy ensue as they hatch a plan to catch the rat before he brings the house down.

Tartuffe was written and first performed privately for King Louis XIV in 1664. The play was quickly banned, however, when it caused an uproar among factions of the French Roman Catholic Church who mistook the play’s railing against hypocrisy to be an attack against religion itself. Moliere’s attempts to rewrite and re-title the piece to seem less critical of religion were futile in the eyes of the Church, and it wasn’t until years after his critics lost influence that he was able to perform the piece without scandal.

Richard Wilbur’s 1963 English verse translation maintains both the clever barbs and searing social commentary of the original. “Molière, like Shakespeare, uses wit and word play like a weapon, skewering his unsuspecting victims and the audience at once,” says Producing Artistic Director, Dawn McAndrews. “This quintessential sitcom by the father of farce is the perfect vehicle to kick off our season of family.” Set in the realm of 17th-century Parisian high society during the reign of King Louis XIV, the play skewers hypocrisy of all sorts and upholds traditional family values and plain-old common sense.

Mark S. Cartier as Orgon

Matthew Arbour, who directed TAM’s 1999 Romeo & Juliet, returns to stage the production and features James Noel Hoban as the con-artist Tartuffe, Mark S. Cartier as the foolish head-of-house Orgon, Brooke Edwards as his second wife Elmire, and Janis Stevens as the saucy housemaid Dorine. Set design by Michael Minahan, costumes by Heather Carey, sound by Rew Tippin, and lights by Lynne Chase.

Evening performances
July 5, 6, 7, 11, 22, 28, & 31; August 3, 15 at 7:30 p.m.;
July 22 at 7 p.m. followed by a post-show discussion;
Matinee performances
July 15; August 9, 11, 14, & 19 at 1:00 p.m.

Ticket prices range from $20-$28. For calendar and reservations, please contact the Box Office at 207.933.9999 or visit www.theateratmonmouth.org.