Tartuffe, Tartuffe, Tartuffe. What a name, what a man, what a show! Opening at the Back Door Theatre, Mercer Players’ premiered their first show of the semester with a rendition of Moliere’s famous play “Tartuffe.” This play, when it first premiered 1664, was deemed scandalous and was originally banned from being performed. In today’s world, the play is merely a great mix of drama and comedy that is a delight to many audiences.
This production reveals many issues from the time of Moliere. Religious piety was a huge issue throughout the play especially with the actions of Tartuffe. He was either feigning to be a religious man or attempting an adulterous relationship with Orgon’s wife or twisting a lie for his favor. Throughout the play, however, there is a theme of genuine urging for honesty and faithfulness to God. It is evident in the play that high moral character was equally important as class. The Mercer Players successfully portrayed these social tensions in their opening performance.
From the direction of Scot J. Mann, the story of “Tartuffe” is brought to life in the Back Door Theatre after over 80 hours of rehearsal and over 120 hours of technical production. The costumes and set design were perfect for the performance. The combined artistry of the cast and the set successfully evoked the seventeenth century French atmosphere.
The cast gave a colorful performance full of comedy and drama. Cleante, played by Carlyle Glance, a new transfer student at Mercer, and Dorine, played by Hannah Hyde, a senior English and French student, were very convincing in their roles and together inspired the most laughs. Carlyle spoke with insightful prose and elegant gestures while Hannah was very impressive with her comedic quick wit. Valere, played by Kevin Kersey, a sophomore Theatre major at Middle Georgia State College, and Mariane, played by Leah Parris, a senior Voice, Theatre, and French triple major, made a lovely and comedic couple. Elmire, played by Julie Allen, a senior Theatre and Spanish double major, was the picture of a poised and good wife, but also a very clever woman. She was the perfect counterpart to her naïve husband, Orgon, played by Braeden Orr, a senior Theatre and Media Studies double major. He convincingly played the overzealous and gullible husband and father who revered Tartuffe. Damis, played by Cohen Bickley, a junior Theatre major, was full of passion and zeal like his father but was more aware than Orgon. Finally, the man of the hour, Tartuffe, was played by Liam McDermott, a sophomore Theatre and International Affairs double major. He was cunning and clever as the “oh-so” pious Tartuffe, who won over the heart of Orgon while frustrating the rest of the family with his obvious deception.
Overall, this production was incredibly humorous and an entertaining show to watch. The set and costumes along with the great acting created Moliere’s vision in this rendition of “Tartuffe.” The final showings of the production will run from Sept. 26-28 at 7 p.m. and Sept. 29 at 2 p.m. The box office opens 30 minutes before the curtain.