Nov. 4, 2014. The Appalachian State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance presents Moliere’s beloved comedy “Tartuffe” in the intimate I.G. Greer Studio Theatre on the Appalachian campus. This classic tale – with a modern spin – will be presented in an extended two-week run Nov. 5-8 and 12-15 at 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Nov. 9 and 16.
Ticket prices are $9 for students and $16 for adults and are available in person at the Valborg Theatre box office Monday through Friday 1 – 5 p.m., by phone at 828-262-3036 or 800-841-ARTS (2787), and online at www.theatre.appstate.edu.
Written 345 years ago, “Tartuffe” is a satirical look at human foibles that modern audiences can still enjoy. It was conceived by the renowned playwright Moliere and has historic French origins dating back to 1669. The seemingly pious character of Tartuffe attempts to seduce and steal the riches of Orgon, a naive husband and father. Fortunately, Orgon’s family is not blind to Tartuffe’s true nature and they plot to trap and expose Tartuffe for the villain he is. The play explores this story and themes of religion, hypocrisy, politics, and social and economic status. The manner in which they are explored is witty and at times biting, not unlike the approach of popular programs like “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report.”
Director Joel Williams, a professor of theatre at Appalachian, places his staging of “Tartuffe” in Louisiana in the 1930s, giving the show a French flavor unique to that region of the South. Williams came to this conclusion as he read the script and experimented with different southern dialects. He explained that “Moliere’s rich language and words just slid off the tongue, and did so in a really funny way.” Williams said he is fascinated with the fact that people laugh at the same play that kings laughed at hundreds of years ago.
The cast of 12 actors ranges from first semester freshmen to graduating students, led by seniors Luke White and Molly Winstead as Tartuffe and Elmire. The two-week run not only gives the cast a greater chance to sustain and delve into their roles, but it also provides two of the actors with smaller roles the chance to understudy a principal role. Jake Roberts and Madison Viterito will portray the leading characters during the Nov. 9 and 15 performances.
I.G. Greer Studio Theatre is located on the east side of I.G. Greer Hall below the main auditorium, with a separate entrance down the stairway on the side of the building. Parking is available after 5:30 p.m. on campus in faculty lots and the College Street parking deck near Belk Library and Information Commons.
The Department of Theatre and Dance is housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts. Its mission is to provide liberal arts educations for the B.S. degree in teaching theatre arts and the B.A. degrees in dance studies or theatre arts. The department also values the opportunity to offer coursework for integrated learning through the arts to the general university student population. Vital to the support of this mission is a dynamic co-curricular production program that provides exemplary theatre and dance experiences to departmental students, the university community and the region. The departmental philosophy is to support the university’s liberal arts environment through a balanced and integrated emphasis on teaching, creative activity, scholarship, and service.