‘Tartuffe’s’ wily ways and wigs bring laughs

Tartuffe, a con of the highest caliber, visited the Don Evans Black Box Theater in an All College Theatre production of the play with the same name written by Moli?re.

The performance was riddled with outstanding period costumes, outlandish wigs, challenging and creative dialogue, and a story about a con artist and the gullible man (and his mother) who invites him into the house.

The story centered on the con man Tartuffe (Tim Hinton), who charms Orgon, the head of household, played by Rudy Basso.

Orgon’s mother, Madame Pernelle, played by Alyssa Phillips, is the only other family member who is taken by Tartuffe’s wiles, telling everyone in the household that they should follow Tartuffe’s pious example.

Orgon is so taken by Tartuffe that he even offers his daughter Mariane (Maddie Patrick) for marriage, despite her engagement to Val?re (Ray Fallon).

Of course, as with all comedies, wackiness ensues and the saucy maid Dorine (Alida Liberman) takes the initiative, hatching a plan to reunite the young lovers.

Similarly, Orgon’s wife, Elmire (Lindsay Gelay) is determined to prove to her husband that Tartuffe has tried to seduce her, after finding that Orgon has signed all his property (and his daughter) to Tartuffe.

In the end, Tartuffe is revealed as a swindler just in time. Luckily, though he had gone to the king to take over Orgon’s land, the king had seen through his lies and, with a satisfactory ending fit for a comedy, he is arrested and all is right with the world in the Pernelle estate.

The costumes, including full dresses and knee-length pants with stockings, set the mood for the play. “Some of them were heavy and hot,” Basso said, “but they really made the show.”

Gelay explained, “If you’re truly in character, the costumes enhance your experience.”

Basso said the wigs they wore for the performance, some more outlandish than others, were lots of fun. “I kind of want to keep mine,” he said of his curly brown hairpiece.

The quick, comedic dialogue in the show was delivered flawlessly by all characters, with no rhyming couplet stumbled over. “There was a lot of time spent picking apart lines and understanding the character’s thought process, then putting it all together,” Gelay said.

Director Janet Quartarone said she was very pleased with how the show turned out. “Sept. 10 was the first read-through and here we are a month later,” Quarterone said. “It was a short time to prepare for a very verbally challenging play.”

“I thought it was great,” Chris Walsh, junior philosophy major said of the show. “I read the play in high school, but I’d never seen it performed. It came to life on stage.”