Student production of “Tartuffe” captivates campus
By JOSEPH GARAY
The University of Mary Washington’s Klein Theatre wraps up its spring semester by bringing a “laugh out loud comedy of unequalled stature” to the stage. Following “Frozen,” a darker and much more serious play, “Tartuffe” balances the scale by evoking amusement and providing material that makes its audience laugh.
According to the Klein Theatre’s website, Tartuffe was first performed at the court of King Louis XIV in 1664, Molière’s comedy, “Tartuffe,” has stood the test of centuries. As slippery as its title character, the play focuses on a con man hell-bent on swindling the patriarch of a well-to-do family out of everything
he holds dear. Despite Tartuffe’s best efforts, the rest of the family does not fall for his cunning, joining forces to expose him for the hypocrite they believe him to be.
This play certainly does deliver the promised laughter from its mesmerized audience, with the help of a strong cast.
The cast succeeds in bringing this play to life. While all actors clearly worked hard to develop and bring their characters to the stage, two characters clearly stood out.
Kenny Bellamy, portraying the character Orgon – the patriarch of the family that the play centers around—does a great job in his role as an older gentleman who is blind to the deception that is being played right in front of his eyes.
Bellamy uses a great range of dramatic emotion to portray his character’s incredulity at his family’s distaste for their house guest, Tartuffe, which sharply changes to anger and then devastation as the truth is revealed. Bellamy’s strong performance makes Orgon a believable character, and he is able to accomplish this with the help of the hard working cast in this rendition of Tartuffe.
His performance is particularly enhanced with the help of Maggie Murphy’s Dorine. Dorine, the family servant (who has more power than the average servant at this point in history), provides a large amount of comedic relief. Murphy’s performance is great, as she does an amazing job bringing her character to life, providing hilarious moments with facial expression, sassiness and well-timed hand motions. Her performance left the audience wanting to hear more from this character. All the cast members were simply superb in bringing their characters to life.
The set and costume choices also helped add to the success of this play. While simpler than Klein Theatre’s rendition of “Noises Off,” the details in the wallpaper and set pieces helped ground this production in the time period that it takes place in.
The strong costume choices have the same effect, as some amused the audience. “I loved that Valere donned an Aeropostale hoodie as a cape,” said senior English major, Gracyn Hill. With impending finals week looming, this play is a great way to take a break and relieve stress. “Tartuffe” opened on April 7 and will continue through April 17.