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MCLA TO PRESENT CONTEMPORARY POLITICAL ADAPTATION OF MOLLIERE’S CLASSIC ‘TARTUFFE’


Nov. 21, 2017
NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ (MCLA) Fine and Performing Arts (FPA) Department announces the next theatrical production of the season will be “Tartuffe,” by French playwright Molière. A satire aimed at religious hypocrisy, the play will open on Friday, Dec. 1, and run through Sunday, Dec. 10, in Venable Theatre, on the MCLA campus.
 
“Tartuffe” is the second play of MCLA’s 2017-18 theatrical season, titled “We the People,” which was planned in response to the 2016 presidential election and the nation’s political and social upheaval.
 
Directed by Laura Standley, associate professor of theatre, with scenic and lighting designs by Jeremy Winchester, assistant professor of theatre, and costumes designed by Andrea Williams, assistant professor of theatre, this production of “Tartuffe” will set the play in a “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” world with a sinister and outlandishly puritanical Tartuffe.

When the kind, yet dim, Orgon invites the religious zealot known as Tartuffe into his home, he has no idea that he has accepted a snake into his den. While Tartuffe acts like a kind minister, he is — in fact — a con man plotting to rob Orgon of everything he holds dear. While Orgon becomes hopelessly entranced by Tartuffe, his family rallies to expose Tartuffe for the scoundrel he is. Will they be able to save the hapless Orgon from Tartuffe’s clutches? It may take an act of fake seduction — and an obvious Deus ex Machina — to help defeat this lascivious hypocrite.
 
“We’re calling our production of Tartuffe, ‘Trumptuffe.’ Each character is being depicted as a person from Trump's world,” Standley said. “Just like Hamlet says, we believe the purpose of theatre is to, ‘hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature.’ When we hold the mirror up to nature, sometimes what we find is provoking, and even disturbing, but that is our job. We are proud to bring these stories to you.”

“Tartuffe is a play about hypocrisy, deception, and working through the chaos of people falling for that deception,” explained theatre student Kevin McGrath ’19, the production’s stage manager. “I love the witty and smart humor. I also find the play’s relevance to today very intriguing.”

Molière is the stage name for Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, a French playwright and actor considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. Banned in Paris in 1667, “Tartuffe” is one of Molière’s most famous comedies.

According to The New York Times, “Tartuffe” is “A classic gem. Laugh-out-loud funny.”
 
A “Talk Back” with the cast and creatives will take place on Saturday, Dec. 9, after the 8 p.m. performance in Venable Theater. A “Critical Response Session” will take place on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 6 p.m., also in Venable Theater.

 “Rhinoceros,” written in 1958 in response to playwright Eugène Ionesco’s experience of fascism in Romania in the 1930s, will be the first production of the spring semester, running Feb. 23 through March 4, 2018. North Adams theatre artist painter, puppeteer, and performer David Lane will direct this existential allegory about the nature of moral strength and weakness, and whether we should see the survival of the human race as triumph or tragedy.

The 2017-18 season will conclude with a more mature retelling of what happens after “Happily Ever After” in the musical theatre classic “Into the Woods,” April 20 through 29.

Further information about discussion events, complete casting and additional production information will be announced at a later date. For more information or to reserve tickets, please call the box office, (413)-662-5123, or go to https://mcla.ticketleap.com/. For more information about fine and performing arts at MCLA, www.mcla.edu/academics/undergraduate/fineandperformingarts/theatre.

The theatre program at MCLA develops innovative theatre artists prepared for careers in theatre and graduate study. In the intimate, culturally rich setting of the Berkshires, students hone their craft through intensive studio training and hands-on experience, within the context of their broader liberal arts education. Opportunities for practical experience abound, from courses in acting, directing, design and production to working alongside a faculty of talented professionals in our award-winning production season. On stage and in the classroom, theatre students at MCLA make theatre of the highest quality, as they explore the rich tradition of this unique, multi-disciplinary art form.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.
For more information, go to www.mcla.edu.