Brilliant Classic Comedy TARTUFFE at Huntington Theatre Company this November
The Huntington Theatre Company presents the brilliant classic comedy Tartuffe by Molière, directed by Huntington Theatre Company Artistic Director Peter DuBois (Sunday in the Park with George), translated by Ranjit Bolt, and featuring actor and comedianBrett Gelman (Murray Bauman on the upcoming season of Netflix's "Stranger Things" and "Dinner with Brett Gelman" specials on Adult Swim) as Tartuffe and Tony Award winner Frank Wood (Side Man and August Osage County on Broadway and HBO's "Flight of the Conchords") as Orgon. Performances run from November 10 through December 10, 2017 at the Avenue of the Arts / Huntington Avenue Theatre.
Devious Tartuffe charms his way into Orgon's household and schemes to marry his daughter, seduce his wife, and run off with the family's fortune. Orgon remains entranced despite the appalling evidence of Tartuffe's behavior - will he see through this con man before it's too late? Orgon's wife Elmire, his son Damis, and his daughter Marianne must reveal Tartuffe as a charlatan before it's too late. Molière spins religious piety and hypocrisy into high comedy in this hilarious and biting satire, one of the world's great plays.
"This production of Tartuffe is going to be everything you expect from Molière," says Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois, "complete with a spin on period fashion and the brilliantly comic possibilities of staging this classic play for a modern audience. Boston is going to see 2017 alive onstage within the framework of a 17th century farce, and the result will be satirical, smart, and a gut-buster."
Ranjit Bolt's translation of Tartuffe premiered at the National Theatre in London in 2002. Many English translations of Tartuffe discard the rhyming couplets, but Bolt's translation remains faithful to the way Molière wrote the French verse. For Bolt, verse provides a vehicle for examining the ridiculous; his imaginative use of language contrasts with the formal structure of the verse to create an explosively witty text. Audiences can use verse to "escape through anarchy into a surreal world," Bolt says. "The joy of the verse is the contrast between the discipline of the form and the ludicrous nature of what's being described."
DuBois chose the Bolt translation because he thought it captured the energy necessary for his direction: free and loose while still clever and sophisticated. "I knew I wanted a translation that sang in the mouths of actors - that had rhythm and speed," DuBois says. "Bolt's translation reads well, but it sounds even better. He captures everything that is joyful and fun about rhyming verse across languages, never becoming rigid or stuffy."
The cast includes Tony Award winner Frank Wood (Side Man and August Osage County on Broadway) as Orgon, a bourgeois gentleman and leader of his house. Actor and comedian Brett Gelman (Murray Bauman on Netflix's "Stranger Things" and "Dinner with Brett Gelman" specials on Adult Swim) plays the intrusive Tartuffe. Orgon's mother Madame Pernelle is played by Boston favorite Paula Plum(Jumpers at the Huntington and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Lyric Stage Company) and his wife Elmire is played by Melissa Miller (Tartuffe on Broadway). Matthew J. Harris (Elliot Norton Award winner for Topdog/Underdog at the Huntington) plays Elmire's brother, Cleante. Orgon's tenacious son Damis is played by Matthew Bretschneider (Dead End at the Huntington and The Erlkings Off Broadway). His daughter Mariane is played by Sarah Oakes Muirhead (Sunday in the Park with George at the Huntington), and her impassioned suitor Valère is played by Gabriel Brown (Love & Money Off Broadway). The cunning and omniscient family maid Dorine is played by Jane Pfitsch (Educating Rita at the Huntington and Cabaret on Broadway), and Steven Barkhimer(Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Lyric Stage Company) appears as the commanding Monsieur Loyal. Omar Robinson (Hamlet at Actors' Shakespeare Project) is the Officer of the Court and Madame Pernelle's maid Flipote is played by Katie Elinoff (The Bridges of Madison County at SpeakEasy Stage Company).
Molière (Playwright, 1622 - 1673) was the stage name of Jean-Baptiste Poquelin. At the age of 21, he left the family business and abandoned his legal studies and birth name to take up a career in the theatre. His first appearances on stage were with the Illustre Théâtre, a young ensemble whose fortunes soon faltered. After a brief stint in debtors' prison, Molière rededicated himself to a life in the theatre, spending most of the next 15 years touring the provinces with Madeleine Béjart, the Illustre's leading lady and his mistress, and other itinerant performers, honing his skills as a comic actor and playwright (though he longed for success as a tragedian), and turning out a number of farces inspired by the Italian commedia troupes he encountered in his travels. The company returned to Paris in 1658 with Molière as their manager. Invited to perform before Louis XIV, they quickly won his favor, and Molière was granted the use of the Petit Bourbon (a court theatre adjacent to the Louvre) and later the Palais-Royal for the troupe's farces, character comedies, and lavish court entertainments - with music by Jean Baptiste Lully. In 1662, Molière married Armande Béjart (the younger sister - or the daughter, some insinuated - of his mistress), who became a leading actress in his company, beginning with his next play, The School for Wives, which demonstrated the playwright's maturing talent and propelled him into the ranks of France's greatest dramatists. Not all of Molière's plays were unqualified successes, however, and not even the patronage of Louis XIV could protect him from the censure provoked by Tartuffe (1664). Its story of a pious hypocrite and his willing dupe was interpreted by many as a condemnation of religion, and five years elapsed before the play, in modified form, passed official muster. Molière fared little better with Don Juan (1665); its free-thinking title character incurred the wrath of the censors immediately after opening night and the play soon disappeared from the repertoire. Still, by 1665, Molière's company was awarded regular pensions from the crown, and took the title of La Troupe du Roi. The Misanthrope and The Doctor in Spite of Himself premiered a year later, followed by The Miser (1668) and The Learned Ladies (1672). Molière's next play, The Imaginary Invalid (1673), which featured the playwright as a grousing hypochondriac, was to be his last; Molière, who suffered from tuberculosis, took ill during a performance and died shortly thereafter. A Christian burial had initially been denied to him because he had not received last rites nor had he made a deathbed recantation of his profession (as tradition required), but the archbishop of Paris, responding to petitions from Molière's widow, grudgingly allowed a private burial in the parish cemetery, on condition that it be carried out at night, without ceremony.
Peter DuBois (Director) is in his ninth season as Artistic Director at the Huntington where his directing credits include Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George and A Little Night Music, the world premieres of Gina Gionfriddo's Can You Forgive Her?, Lydia R. Diamond's Smart People, Evan M. Wiener's Captors, Stephen Karam's Sons of the Prophet (2012 Pulitzer finalist), BobGlaudini's Vengeance is the Lord's, and David Grimm's The Miracle at Naples; the regional premieres of A. Rey Pamatmat's after all the terrible things I do, Stephen Belber's The Power of Duff, Gina Gionfriddo's Becky Shaw and Rapture, Blister, Burn; and Craig Lucas' Prelude to a Kiss. His West/End London credits include Sex with Strangers and Rapture, Blister, Burn (Hampstead Theatre), All New People with Zach Braff (Duke of York's Theatre), and Becky Shaw (Almeida Theatre). His New York credits include The Power of Duff with Greg Kinnear (New York Stage and Film); the premiere of Rapture, Blister, Burn (Playwrights Horizons, 2013 Pulitzer finalist); Sons of the Prophet (Roundabout Theatre Company); Modern Terrorism, Becky Shaw (2009 Pulitzer finalist), Trust with Sutton Foster and Zach Braff, and All New People (Second Stage Theatre); Measure for Pleasure, Richard III with Peter Dinklage, Biro, and Mom, How Did You Meet the Beatles? (The Public Theater/ NYSF); Jack Goes Boating with Philip Seymour Hoffman and The View From 151st Street (LAByrinth Theater Company/The Public Theater); and the upcoming Can You Forgive Her? at the Vineyard Theatre. Regional US, UK, and West End credits include productions at Hampstead Theatre, Duke of York's Theatre, Almeida Theatre, American Conservatory Theater, Trinity Repertory Company, Humana Festival of New Plays, Manchester Opera House, and Kings Theater Glasgow. He served for five years as associate producer and resident director at The Public Theater, preceded by five years as artistic director of the Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, Alaska. Mr. DuBois lived and worked in the Czech Republic where he co-founded Asylum, a multi-national squat theatre in Prague. His productions have been on the annual top ten lists of The New York Times, Time Out, New York Magazine, The New Yorker, Newsday, Variety, Entertainment Weekly, The Evening Standard, The Boston Globe, and The Improper Bostonian.
Ranjit Bolt (Adapter) was born in Manchester in 1959 and educated at Perse School and at Balliol College, Oxford. He worked as an investment analyst and advisor for eight years, before concentrating on theatre translation from the end of 1990. Mr. Bolt's acclaimed translations for the theatre include works by Molière, Seneca, Sophocles, Corneille, Beaumarchais, Brecht, Goldoni, and Zorilla. He was deemed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his services to literature in 2003.
Tartuffe features set design by Alexander Dodge (Bedroom Farce at the Huntington and A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder on Broadway); costume design by Anita Yavich (The Colored Museum at the Huntington); lighting design by Christopher Akerlind (Sunday in the Park with George at the Huntington and Waitress on Broadway); sound design by Ben Emerson (Guess Who's Coming to Dinner at the Huntington); choreography by Daniel Pelzig (Sunday in the Park with George and A Little Night Music at the Huntington and 33 Variations on Broadway); musical compositions by Peter Golub (Hedda Gabler at the Huntington and Come Back, Little Sheba on Broadway). Flying by Flying by Fly. Casting by Alaine Alldaffer. Production stage manager is Emily F. McMullen; stage manager is Kevin Schlagle.
The Huntington Theatre Company is Boston's leading professional theatre and one of the region's premier cultural assets since its founding in 1982. Recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award, the Huntington brings together superb local and national talent and produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current to create award-winning productions. The Huntington runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The Huntington has long been an anchor cultural institution of Huntington Avenue, the Avenue of the Arts, and will remain so on a permanent basis with plans to convert the Huntington Avenue Theatre into a first-rate, modern venue with expanded services to audiences, artists, and the community. Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington cultivates, celebrates, and champions theatre as an art form. For more information, visithuntingtontheatre.org.