Tartuffe

Tartuffe Poster

Tartuffe Poster

Stéphane Braunschweig has been a hot director in France for longer than most are allowed to stay “new,” “young,” “up and coming.” In between leaving the artistic directorship of Théâtre National de Strasbourg (where he has produced several internationally recognized productions to take over as the artistic director of Théâtre de la Colline in Paris, he stopped at Théâtre de l’Odéon with a production of Tartuffe. One has certain expectations of Molière, though the expectation of Braunschweig is that expectations will be undermined. That certainly happened. The production was nearly absent of color, both literally and comically. Orgon welcomed his perfidious “directeur de conscience” into a homespace composed minimally in gray-scale. With each act’s advancement of Tartuffe’s plot, the flats of the set changed levels, raising one floor each time to give the effect of a playing space that was descending into its own foundation. The play finished in a crumbling cellar-like circle of hell. With slicked-back dark hair and dapper clothing, Tartuffe provided a sharp contrast to a decimated Orgon, who ended up nearly naked, his possesions withdrawn and kinship ties in suspension. The production was nearly devoid of the usual ribaldry we associate with Molière, but perhaps this was just the right attitude toward a classic French cultural text in a precarious French cultural climate. Orgon’s undoing all came about here on this 21st century stage much as it did in the 17th century, through a variety of seduction mechanisms whose effects presented themselves as the voluntary “choice” of a protagonist ultimately left without a bag to hold.

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One response to “Tartuffe

  1. Pingback: L’Exception Culturelle Française « Rue Cuvier

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