Tartuffe

Tartuffe
Orgon, the head of a very wealthy family, falls for the tricks of a charlatan named Tartuffe, but the rest of the family can see through the ruse. When Orgon signs over all of his possessions to the trickster, the family is determined to show Orgon the err in his ways. Through twists, turns and lots of laughs, Orgon sees the light and Tartuffe is brought to justice.

By Molière
Directed by Raphael Parry
Opening week June 11-14, 2014 at Samuell Grand Amphitheatre
Continuing Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from June 25-July 18, 2014
Tickets $10 (available online by 3/1/14)

Synopsis:
Orgon's family is up in arms because Orgon and his mother have fallen under the influence of Tartuffe, a pious fraud (and a vagrant prior to Orgon's help). Tartuffe pretends to be pious and to speak with divine authority, and Orgon and his mother no longer take any action without first consulting him. One could even say Orgon has a single-minded obsession with Tartuffe.

Tartuffe's antics do not fool the rest of the family or their friends; they detest him. Orgon raises the stakes when he announces that he will marry Tartuffe to his daughter Mariane (already engaged to Valère). Mariane, of course, feels very upset at this news, and the rest of the family realizes how deeply Tartuffe has embedded himself into the family.

In an effort to show Orgon how awful Tartuffe really is, the family devises a plan to trap Tartuffe into confessing to Elmire his desire for her. As a pious man and a guest, he should have no such feelings for the lady of the house, and the family hopes that after such a confession, Orgon will throw Tartuffe out of the house. Indeed, Tartuffe does try to seduce Elmire, but their interview is interrupted when Orgon's son, Damis, who has been eavesdropping, is no longer able to control his boiling indignation and jumps out of his hiding place to denounce Tartuffe.

Orgon is convinced that Damis was lying and banishes him from the house. Tartuffe even gets Orgon to order that, to teach Damis a lesson, Tartuffe should be around Elmire more than ever. As a gift to Tartuffe and further punishment to Damis and the rest of his family, Orgon signs over all his worldly possessions to Tartuffe.

In a later scene, Elmire takes up the charge again and challenges Orgon to be witness to a meeting between herself and Tartuffe. Orgon, ever easily convinced, decides to hide under a table in the same room, confident that Elmire is wrong. He overhears, of course, Elmire resisting Tartuffe's very forward advances. When Tartuffe has incriminated himself beyond all help and is dangerously close to violating Elmire, Orgon comes out from under the table and orders Tartuffe out of his house.

But this wily guest means to stay, and Tartuffe finally shows his hand. It turns out that earlier, before the events of the play, Orgon had admitted to Tartuffe that he had possession of a box of incriminating letters (written by a friend, not by him). Tartuffe had taken this box and now tells Orgon that he must leave the house or risk exposure. Tartuffe takes his temporary leave and Orgon's family tries to figure out what to do. Very soon, Monsieur Loyal shows up with a message from Tartuffe and the court itself – they must move out from the house because it now belongs to Tartuffe. Dorine makes fun of his name, not aloud, mocking his fake loyalty.

Later that day, Tartuffe returns with a police officer to begin the eviction. But to his surprise, the police officer arrests him instead. The enlightened King Louis XIV—who is not mentioned by name—has heard of the injustices happening in the house and decides to arrest Tartuffe instead. Even Madame Pernelle has become convinced by this time of Tartuffe's chicanery, and the entire family thanks its lucky stars that it has escaped the mortification of leaving their house to him. It turns out that he has a long criminal history and has often changed his name to avoid being caught. The drama ends well, and Orgon announces the upcoming wedding of Valère and Mariane.