TARTUFFE (Lantern): Delightfully over-the-top

Frank X as Orgon and Jered McLenigan as Tartuffe in Lantern Theater Company’s production of TARTUFFE. Photo by Mark Garvin

Before he became a celebrated playwright, Jean-Baptiste Poquelan was a poor thing in a touring shoestring theater company. Although he had wanted to be a tragic actor, he began writing for the theater and instead became a beloved comedian. Ostracized by the Church in 1664, he was back five years later with his new name, Moliere, and with the blessing of King Louis XIV.

The plot presents a pious fraud, Tartuffe, who preys upon a high born family, deceiving those foolish enough to believe him. Funny, clever, and masterfully done– anyone who appreciates rhymed verse is in for a feast. The late Poet Laureate Richard Wilbur’s translation of Tartuffe in rhymed verse from French to English is amazing.

Congratulations to imaginative director Charles McMahon, and to the actors and designers as this brilliant cast brings the stylized magic of 17th Century French Comedy to the Lantern stage.

Of particular note are the grand costumes (Kelly Myers) and period evoking musical accompaniment (Christopher Colucci). And an artful set (Meghan Jones) that brings a Belle Époque French drawing room to the Lantern stage.

The audience clearly loved Jered McLenigan’s amusing role as Tartuffe and the admirable cast– who played deliberately way over the top.  

I caught up with Lantern’s production of Tartuffe a bit late for a review, having been out of the country earlier in the run.  But I’m glad that I had a chance to see this show. It will be at Lantern Theater Company until October 8.

[Lantern Theater Company at St. Stephen’s Theater] September 7–October 8, 2023; lanterntheater.org 

Playwright: Moliere
Director: Charles McMahon
Asst. Director: Maya Nguyen-Haberneski

Tartuffe: Jered McLenigan
Madame Pernelle: Cathy Simpson
Marianne: Morgan Charece-Hall
Dorine: Lee Minora
Elmire: Campbell O’Hare
Orgon: Frank X
Valere: Dave Johnson
Cleante: Gregory Isaac
Damis: Travoye Joyner
Monsieur Loyal/ Ensemble: Kahlil A. Wyatt

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