Don’t miss Molière’s ‘Tartuffe’ at the Courtyard Theatre at DUT in Durban

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Anele Situlweni and Vuyelwa Maluleke. Photo: Dee-Ann Kaaijk

Durban audiences have the chance to catch the much-anticipated touring production of Molière’s Tartuffe coming to the Courtyard Theatre at DUT on May 25 and 26  – for day time schools and evening public performances.

The story centres on Tartuffe, a weasely swindler, disguised as a paragon of piety who manipulates his way into Orgon’s house and unleashes his lecherous reign.

Directed by the award-winning Sylvaine Strike of the Fortune Cookie Theatre Company, Tartuffe is translated by Richard Wilbur.

Molière is regarded as one of the greatest masters of comedy and director Sylvaine once again brings her winning signature directorial style to this timeless global theatre classic.

Exploring the way in which people are easily manipulated by symbols of power and honeyed words, this is an uneasy comedy with a potent message at its core.

Controversial when it was first performed in 1664, the play was closed down, censored and Molière questioned by the religious authorities of the time, who saw in it an audacious critique of hypocrisy within the church. Considering this, in a time when the artist, cartoonist or satirist’s freedom of expression is not guaranteed, Tartuffe is as relevant now as it was then.

The production follows on the Fortune Cookie Theatre Company’s runaway success in 2012 with their production of Molière’s The Miser which ran to wide critical acclaim, seventy sold-out performances and which won four Naledi Awards, including Best Production and Best Director.

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Craig Morris and Neil McCarthy. Photo: Dee-Ann Kaaijk

Making his long-awaited return to the stage, Neil McCarthy (Born in the RSA) plays Orgon, with Khutjo Green (Animal Farm) as his wife Elmire.

Craig Morris (Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny), takes on the title role of Tartuffe, and theatre stalwart Vanessa Cooke (Vigil) plays the housekeeper, Dorine.

Other cast members include Anele Situlweni (7de Laan), Vuyelwa Maluleke (Emotional Creatures), Adrian Alper (Generations), William Harding (The Miser) and Camilla Waldman (Closer).

Set design is by Sasha Ehlers and Chen Nakar, costume design by Sasha Ehlers, lighting design is by Oliver Hauser, musical composition by Dean Barrett and choreography is by Owen Lonzar.

“Promoting the work of Molière is even more relevant today as it remains utterly universal through the ongoing power of his word,” says Sylvaine. “We are proud to showcase the genius of one of France’s most accomplished artists, whose masterpiece Tartuffe will be performed by a brilliant South African cast, within a context never seen before and which promises a lot of surprises.

“It is a play which, through the strength of its comedy and satire of society, also invites us to question and interrogate.”

Book at Computicket. For discounted corporate, schools or block-bookings, charities or fundraisers, contact Alliance Francaise: Vincent Frontczyk on 031 312 9582. Tickets are R80 (R60 concessions).

There is an age restriction of no under 16 years.

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Khutjo Green andfCamilla Waldman. Photos by Dee-Ann Kaaijk

DID YOU KNOW?

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière (15 January 1622 – 17 February 1673) was a French playwright and actor.

He is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature.

Molière redefined French Theatre in the 17th century, becoming one of the greatest architects of social satire, and his impact can still be felt today.

Working under the patronage and protection of the “Roi Soleil” (Sun King) Louis XIV, he penned thirty comedies in which he satirised the shortcomings of the French society of his era.

He was extremely successful (to the extent that French is now called “the language of Molière”) but had to suffer censorship and arrest due to his accurate derisions and stinging truths. Among Molière’s best known works are The Misanthrope, The School for Wives, Tartuffe, The Miser, The Imaginary Invalid, and The Bourgeois Gentleman.

 

 

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