Review: Two-Faced ‘Tartuffe’

This past weekend was the opening weekend for Theatre NDSU’s production “Tartuffe,” in the style of commedia dell’arte.

NDSU met Molière’s theatrical comedy with early 20th-century American circus, complete with clowns and masks. Tartuffe, played by Caleb Steele, has charmed Madame Pernelle and her son Orgon, played by Michaela Burns and Alex Kleven respectively, into thinking he is a saint while everyone else knows that quite the opposite is true.

The drama begins when Orgon arranges for his bubbly daughter Mariane (Marissa Koppy) to marry Tartuffe. She makes clear her distaste for the con man and everyone else agrees that she should stand up to her father and marry her true love, Valere (Jordan Henry).

Mariane’s mother Elmire (Abigail Walker), tries to speak to Tartuffe about her daughter’s true wishes, but he only tries to seduce her. Elmire promises to never tell her husband, but her other daughter Damis (Andi Johnson) has other plans in mind to expose Tartuffe and his impious ways.

Orgon is none the wiser to Tartuffe’s intentions, even when his family, along with their sassy maid, Dorine (Maria Sunderman), tell him of his wrongdoings and hedonism. Orgon will have none of this slander and disinherits his daughter Damis and adopts Tartuffe as his son.

This will turn out to be a grave mistake for Orgon and his family later on when the bailiff brings him notice of his eviction and arrest.

In the closing scene of the dramedy, the trusty servants, the clowns of the house, save the day and arrest Tartuffe instead of Orgon.

With their own twist on a classic in the style of commedia dell’arte, the cast kept the crowd laughing throughout the night.

Theatre NDSU will be performing “Tartuffe” for one more weekend: March 1-3 at 7:30 p.m. in Walsh Studio Theatre. Admission is free for students and can be reserved by calling or visiting the Performing Arts Box Office, otherwise tickets are available for purchase for the public for $8-15.

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