Tartuffe at Limelight Theatre

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Posted 2023-08-04 by grooverfollow

Thu 07 Sep 2023 - Sat 23 Sep 2023

Tartuffe features Elinor King, left, Lorraine Jones, Tara Libbis, Karen Tropiano, Jake Libbis and Ffion Bishop.

A fast-paced saucy romp satirising religious hypocrisy and naivety is coming to Limelight Theatre, giving a modern spin to a play almost 360 years old. Tim Mooney’s adaptation of Molière’s Tartuffe is directed by Gwen Browning and follows the title character as he worms his way into the good books of the wealthy Orgon.

Outwardly religious but inwardly lustful, Tartuffe is promised Orgon’s daughter’s hand in marriage and is taken into their home and given the best of everything. But the rest of the family see through Tartuffe’s hypocrisy and crafty manipulations – and join forces to plot against him to expose him for what he is.

Tartuffe {Gordon Park, left} demands some modesty from Dorine {Tara Libbis}, as Damis {Jake Libbis} gets ready to leap.

Molière was an actor and playwright and is regarded as “the Shakespeare of France”, given his writings and performances are still studied, interpreted and celebrated today.

“I studied Tartuffe in French at school many years ago,” Gwen said. “I recently became inspired when I visited Molière’s home village, Pezenas, in France, where they perform his plays every summer at the Theatre Comedie. It reminded me of the humour in his plays and how his universal themes transport well into modern day.”

Tartuffe {Gordon Park, left} makes a play for Elmire {Elinor King}, unaware her husband Orgon {Andrew Govey} is spying on them.

With a passion for theatre spanning several decades, Gwen joined Limelight Theatre in 1983 and has graced the stage with countless memorable performances that have earned her numerous acting awards. She has also directed the plays Hotel Sorrento, Whose Life Is It Anyway?, Life x 3, Quartet, Equally Divided, Talking Heads and Jack and The Beanstalk – the last two both picking up best production awards – and is the current president of Limelight Theatre.

Maid Dorina {Tara Libbis, centre} tries to mend a lover’s tiff between Valere {Jack Riches} and Mariane {Ffion Bishop} in Tartuffe.

As with any show, Gwen acknowledged that Tartuffe comes with its unique set of challenges. “The play is written in rhyme, which adds to the comedic aspects of the play,” she said. “But rather like Shakespeare’s blank verse, actors need to have strong sense of how to convey its meaning.”

Elmire {Elinor King} tries to escape the clutches of Tartuffe {Gordon Park}.

Tartuffe actually came perilously close to sinking Molière’s career, as noted by The Guardian: “While the first version of the play got the approval of Louis XIV himself in 1664, its satire of Catholic zealots drew the ire of the Catholic church. At the time, accusations of impiety could send a playwright to the stake and Tartuffe was swiftly forbidden. Yet Molière persisted, switching gears and rewriting the play to suggest that his target wasn’t religion or true believers – but rather the hypocrisy of those who feign virtue. (The word “tartuffe” came to describe such characters in life, too.)

Orgon {Andrew Govey, left} in contemplation mode with Cleante {Jason Pearce} in Tartuffe.

“…researchers now see Molière’s political and social acumen as a key factor in his rise to classic status, even before his death. ‘Molière was brilliant at this: he had this sense of opportunity, a gift for improvisation,’ says Georges Forestier, a Molière specialist and professor emeritus at Sorbonne Université in Paris.”

Jason Pearce, left, Gordon Park, Karen Tropiano, Lorraine Jones, Tara Libbis, Jake Libbis, Elinor King, RJ Smolders, Andrew Govey, Jack Riches and Ffion Bishop in Tartuffe.

Tartuffe plays at 7.30pm September 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23 with a 2pm matinee September 17. Tickets are $23, $20 concession – book at TAZTix.com.au or call TAZTix on 9255 3336. Limelight Theatre is on Civic Drive, Wanneroo.


!date 07/09/2023 -- 23/09/2023
261788 - 2023-08-04 05:40:44


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