WCU Theatre to Present Moliere's Tartuffe

Hattiesburg, Miss., March 26, 2012 - The William Carey University Theatre will present Moliere’s comedy Tartuffe April 11-13 and 18-20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Joe and Virginia Tatum Theatre on the Hattiesburg campus.  Tartuffe is one of the classical theatre’s greatest comedies, written by one whom most authorities consider to be France’s greatest comic playwright.

Moliere’s play, set in the 1660s, focuses on the hypocrisy of false religious virtue in its famous character Tartuffe. The play opens with Orgon’s family upset because Orgon (Kevar Maffitt of Olive Branch) and his mother Madame Pernelle (Katie Hardeman of Southaven) have fallen under the pious fraud Tartuffe’s (Jason Piglia of Picayune) influence. Tartuffe does not fool the other members of the family, including Orgon’s wife Elmire (Amanda Gwin of Moselle), whom Tartuffe tries to seduce; Orgon’s son Damis (Zach Lancaster of Picayune), who witnesses the seduction; Elmire’s brother Cleante (Ben Salters of Ocean Springs), and Orgon’s daughter Mariane (Ashlyn Watts of Picayune), whom Orgon promises to wed to Tartuffe. Mariane is engaged to Valere (Cameron Moesta of Carriere), but the young lovers have a friend in Orgon’s housemaid Dorine (Catherine Kennedy of Meridian), who despises Tartuffe as well.

The family’s fortunes and reputations are at risk when Monsieur Loyal (Xavier Martin of Hattiesburg) shows up with disastrous news from the courts. Tartuffe’s antics affect others including Madame Pernelle’s servant Flipote (Bethany Bonin of Biloxi). A king’s officer (Joey Roderick of Blue Ridge, Ga.) brings resolution to the conflict between Tartuffe and Orgon and his family.

When Tartuffe was first performed in 1664 it was misinterpreted by leaders of the church, who thought that Moliere was making fun of religion, and performance of the play was prohibited.  It wasn’t until 1669 that the king allowed public performance again.  In the centuries since, the work has become recognized as a condemnation of those who use religion for their own selfish purposes.

Tartuffe is directed by Obra Quave, professor emeritus of theatre.  Tim Matheny, chair of the department of theatre and communication, is technical director and mentor for student scenic and lighting designers. The scenic designer is Chris Permenter, a sophomore theatre major from Oak Grove. The costume designer is Dewey Douglas, assistant professor of theatre. Jason Piglia, a junior theatre major, is lighting designer, and the sound designer is Joey Roderick, a freshman theatre major. Mentor to Roderick is Zach Lancaster, a senior theatre major.  Billy Burkes of Meridian, a junior theatre major, is stage manager.

Tickets are $10 for regular admission, $8 for senior citizens and military, and $5 for students. Seats may be reserved by calling 601-318-6221. The box office is open Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. beginning April 8.