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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Oct. 24, 2008


John Flotho (right) is Tartuffe and Janae Hohbein is the married woman who spells disaster for his web of lies in ISU Theatre's Tartuffe Nov. 6-9. Photo by Patrick Gouran.

Tartuffe brings imposter to stage

ISU Theatre will stage the comedy Tartuffe ("tar-TOOF") Nov. 6-9 for its second production of the fall.

This 17th-century play (also titled The Imposter or The Hypocrite) was written by Moliere for King Louis XIV of France. The first three of its five acts debuted during the king's festival in Versailles, but the play was pulled from public performances under pressure from the Roman Catholic Church because it mocked religious hypocrisy.

ISU's production is set in 1950s Greenwich Village, using Richard Wilbur's English translation of the rhyming dialogue. Adam Heffernan, who directs the play, said the setting is unique, but the dialogue is unchanged.

"I think it would be shocking to see these plays in their classic form," Heffernan said. "That's the brilliance of these classic pieces. They can be translated into any time period."

Tartuffe, played by senior John Flotho, is a con man using religion to insinuate himself into a position of power over a wealthy family headed by Orgon, played by senior Michael Rubke. Posing as a saintly spiritual adviser, Tartuffe gains the trust of Orgon and eventually is handed control of the family's finances. Orgon even tries to arrange a marriage between Tartuffe and his daughter Mariane (played by freshman Samantha Rieff).

Orgon's friends and family are not deceived by Tartuffe and search for ways to expose his trickery. It is Tartuffe's continued lecherous pursuit of Orgon's wife Elmire (played by senior Janae Hohbein) that ruins his scheme. Trapped by his lies, and thanks to a timely intervention by the king, the imposter is sent to prison.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 6, 7 and 8; and 2 p.m. on Nov. 9. All performances are in Fisher Theater.

Tickets are $14 ($12 for seniors, $7 for students) and available through Ticketmaster and the Iowa State Center ticket office.