Tartuffe

Last night, Bob and I had the pleasure of seeing Tartuffe directed by John Hadden at the Hubbard Hall Theatre in Cambridge,   NY. The play was written in 1664 . King Louis XIV liked the play, but shortly after its first performance  he censored it at the behest of the archbishop of Paris with the following statement.

“…although it was found to be extremely diverting, the king recognized so much conformity between those that a true devotion leads on the path to heaven and those that a vain ostentation of some good works does not prevent from committing some bad ones, that his extreme delicacy to religious matters can not suffer this resemblance of vice to virtue, which could be mistaken for each other; although one does not doubt the good intentions of the author, even so he forbids it in public, and deprived himself of this pleasure, in order not to allow it to be abused by others, less capable of making a just discernment of it.”

Moliere was a true man of the theatre writing other famous comedies such as The Misanthrope, The School for Wives, The Miser, The Imaginary Invalid and The Bourgeois Gentleman. While playing  the hypochondriac Argan in The Imaginary Invalid, Moliere, who suffered from tuberculosis, had a coughing fit and a hemorrhage. However, the show must go on. He finished performing the play and died a few hours later.

Fortunately, last night it was only very cold. The events of the evening, however, warmed us considerably.  It was opening night and, as usual,  members of the Board provided a delicious dinner of beef bourguignon and all the trimmings, including a wonderfully hot onion soup.  Each opening night, at a reasonable cost, the Board offers a dinner, including wine,  that is related to the play. One meets new people as well as other theatre goers one might have met before at these lovely dinners.

After enjoying the delicious dinner and pleasant conversation,  we entered the theatre and were met by a wonderful set which had many levels. Part of the fun at Hubbard Hall is that  one never knows what the configuration of the theatre is going to be. The play equaled and surpassed the set. After all, Moliere was one of the great writers of comedy. The cast played their characters to perfection.The comedy was physical and verbal.  Doug Ryan, whose performances we have enjoyed for many years, was at the top of his form as Tartuffe. From the smallest to the largest roles, they all  fit into their parts as easily as they did into the eye-catching costumes that reflected each of their characters. Seeing familiar actors completely inhabit new personas is one of the joys of Hubbard Hall. To note which performances were outstanding would  require listing the entire cast.  The play runs weekends through March 15. It shouldn’t be missed.

Bob and I had the pleasure of interviewing John Hadden on our program. Here is the interview.

John Hadden    If the program doesn’t show up in your e-mail, click on url to take you to the blog site to hear the program. Also for the first few seconds of the first segment, John’s mike was not on, but that was quickly fixed.

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