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Performance Dates

December 6-9, 1961

Creative Team

Director - Richard Davis

Designer - Fred Thayer

Light Designer - Don Porter


Jean Baptiste Poquelin, later known to posterity as Moliere, was born in Paris in 1622, the son of the upholsterer to the King of France. He received his first training in the theatre as a student in a Jesuit college. At the age of 22 he formed his own troupe, called the Illustrous Theatre, and toured the provinces of France for more than twelve years. Here he came under the influences of the Commedia dell'Arte, learning first hand what amused audiences and developing his dramatic art to perfection. After this apprenticeship, he returned to Paris to become the King's Royal Troupe and to write several of the world's greatest comedies, "The Imaginary Invalid," "The Doctor in Spite of Himself," "The Misanthrope," and "Tartuffe."

When first produced in 1664, "Tartuffe" was attacked as an insult and a danger to religion. The contemporaries of Moliere could not see that he wasn't attacking religion, but the religious hypocrites and their dupes. The play was banned and enforced by threat of ex-communication. Moliere fought this decree for five years before the ban was lifted, thanks to King Louis XIV, his grand patron.

Today "Tartuffe" is considered a masterpiece of comic writing and social criticism. It is the most frequently produced play of Moliere, being done recently by The Comedie Francaise on their last trip to the United States. It has been the desire of every great French actor to play the title role, a tribute to the world's greatest writer of comic drama. As Shakespeare's Iago is the greatest scoundrel of the English Stage, Tartuffe is the greatest of the French classic comedy.


Acting | Theatre and Performance Studies | Theatre History


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