The Sam Houston State University theatre department is performing a tale of greed, trickery and hypocrisy.
The department is currently showcasing the updated version of the farce, “Tartuffe” on the Main Stage inside the University Theatre Department.
The comedy was written by Jean Baptiste Poquelin de Moilere in France during the 17th century and was later translated into English by Richard Wilbur.
“Tartuffe” was originally a three act play, but it was revised into a five act play that was renamed “The Imposter.” The play was performed in front of King Louis the XIV in 1667 and then it was banned from the public stage due to its content.
It was also viewed as a political statement by Moilere because during this time there was tension between King Louis the XIV and Pope Clement XI over the powers of the church and state.
“Tartuffe” is directed by Penny Hasekoester, the Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance and will be showing at 8 p.m. beginning on Thursday and ending Saturday, Feb. 18.
She said, “It’s such a classic piece and its been a long time since the department’s done a Moilere.” She also added that most of Moilere plays can easily be updated.
Moilere’s farce is about how an imposter named Tartuffe, played by Mike Sims, intrudes on the life of the gullible Orgon and his family.
Tartuffe fools Orgon, played by Jeff Barbe, with his religious falsehoods. Orgon and his family cannot see through his religious faade, and they bring him into their home. Orgon becomes so fond of Tartuffe that he offers him his daughter’s hand in marriage.
Orgon’s servant and family start to see Tartuffe’s real agenda and try and caution Orgon, but he will not hear it. Instead he gives Tartuffe the rights to his land.
Things really begin to astray as Orgon detects the hypocrisies of Tartuffe and realizes the dangers of his decisions.
Sims, a sophomore theatre student, talked about what it was like to act in a comedy. “It’s hard to detect what the audience will think is funny, so it’s just about trying out new things.”
Tickets are $8 with a SHSU I.D and general admission is $10. Tickets are available in the ticket box office inside the University Theatre Center. There will also be a matinee at 2 p.m. on Saturday.