North Coast Repertory Theatre Brings "Tartuffe" to the Stage

The French Classic Shines Bright with Rhymes that Will Enchant Audiences on Site

A Blog View by Alejandra Enciso-Dardashti

The Cast of Tartuffe. Photo by Aaron Rumley
It is fascinating how works pass the test of time and live on through different generations that give a new breath to each iteration. North Coast Repertory Theatre rose to the challenge of producing this 1664 classic that keeps on giving 360 years later. 

Tartuffe was one of the first plays I read in junior high, and I loved it. The translation in Spanish is playful and holds more to free verses. I had never read or seen Tartuffe in English and it was joyous as Richard Wilbur's translation to English verse holds hilarious rhymes. Contrasting the play in the two language versions added to my experience. Richard Baird -who won the 2023 Craig Noel Award for Outstanding Lead Performance in a Play- directing this piece, I would like to reference fellow reviewer and podcast co-host David Coddon who mentioned on our latest podcast episode "Whenever Richard is involved in these classical theatre pieces you can expect realism, style, and commitment". All three were met with a beautiful set design by Marty Burnett using beige and gold patterns that exuded "monarchic times" brightly lit by Matthew Novotny where the scene can be appreciated more clearly as the light in the audience is dimmed instead of fully dark giving the stage a brighter frame complimented by Ian Scot's vivid sound design.

TARTUFFE.Bruce Turk & Melanie Lora & Bo Foxworth - photo by Aaron Rumley
Tartuffe is a charlatan with family authority Orgon and his mom Mme. Pernelle who are absolutely smitten by his stories and his supposed direct line with God. Orgon has given Tartuffe a creative license and he is taking advantage. The rest of the family see right through Tartuffe but how can they get the other two to see it as well? Baird did a solid job directing this multitalented cast through the French classic and having it be active as the play is over two hours including intermission. 

Bruce Turk rocks a full set of long locks thanks to Peter Herman's realistic hair and wig design to incarnate the snide Tartuffe giving audiences a cackle and making a great team with Bo Foxworth in the role of the smitten Orgon. Kandis Chappell as Mme. Pernelle starts the theatrical adventure with a mean semi-monologue that finishes almost every family member with an impressive headpiece by Elisa Benzoni that truly added to the piece with touches of lace, organza, and taffeta. All the wardrobe design is beautiful and colorful; I noticed that Melanie Lora as Orgon's wife Elmire, has almost three beautiful wardrobe changes throughout the play whereas stepdaughter Mariane, played by Shanté DeLoach, has only one. I would have wanted to see Mariane in another dress and color for the end of the play. Katie Karel as the mouthy housemaid Dorine, is funny and interprets the wordy dialogue masterfully. Kate Rose Reynolds has a brief but meaningful participation that rounds out the piece. Jared Van Heel contrasts the roles of Valere and M. Loyal creatively and corky. Rogelio Douglas III is playful as Orgon's son. Christopher M. Williams as Orgon's brother-in-law Cleante, brings the voice of reason to the plot and lands the audience's reaction. 

The opportunity to see a classic like this fully staged should not be passed up. It is a fun outing at the theatre with a beautiful design and solid cast.

Currently playing and recently extended until April 7th. For performance days and showtimes please click here

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