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Moliere's 'Tartuffe' Revisited by Drury University Theatre

(Logo courtesy Drury University)

If you missed Missouri State University Theatre and Dance's recent production of the Moliere comedy Tartuffe, you'll have another rare chance to see this classic of the spoken theatre this month, as the Drury University Theatre Department presents their production of Tartuffe Wednesday through Saturday, April 22-25 at 7:30pm, with a 2:00pm matinee Saturday the 25th all in Wilhoit Theatre on the Drury campus. As resonant today as it was 350 years ago, this biting satire by Moliere lustily explores the machinations of a masterful and unrepentant hypocrite.

While it may seem unusual for two local  university theater departments to produce the same play the same semester, Drury Theater Director Robert Westenberg says it almost happened last year as well with Five Women Wearing the Same Dress. "We actually moved Five Women to a different semester because of it."  At any rate, he says Drury's production of Tartuffe will be "wildly different" from MSU's: theirs was "very classical, while ours is... well, the opposite of that!  We're setting it in 1980s Dallas.  Westenberg feels Tartuffe is a play that can stand such updating: "Hypocrites don't go away--you can't escape them."

Playing the central role of Tartuffe is Drury senior Teddy Trice; in the role of Orgon, who (along with his mother) is duped by Tartuffe’s comic treachery, is freshman Asher Tillman.  And performing the role of Elmire, Orgon’s wife—and object of Tartuffe’s not very well concealed lust—is Drury junior Eva Holliday. Eva feels Elmire is actually "the voice of reason within the show. I think she's a bit put-off by Tartuffe and the fact that he's waltzed into her home and is taking all these things from her and her family."

The Drury production uses the Ranjit Bolt English translation of Moliere's French verse original. "It's iambic pentameter, it's rhyming couplets, all of that, but it's a bit more contemporary, has an easier feel to it." Robert Westenberg describes the production as “very physical and lusty, and spins out of control!”

Tickets are available at the Drury box office in the Wilhoit lobby, 873-7255, or online at The box office is open Monday-Friday 1:00 to 5:00pm and an hour before curtain.

Randy Stewart joined the full-time KSMU staff in June 1978 after working part-time as a student announcer/producer for two years. His job has evolved from Music Director in the early days to encompassing production of a wide range of arts-related programming and features for KSMU, including the online and Friday morning Arts News. Stewart assists volunteer producers John Darkhorse (Route 66 Blues Express), Lee Worman (The Gold Ring), and Emily Higgins (The Mulberry Tree) with the production of their programs. He's also become the de facto "Voice of KSMU" in recent years due to the many hours per day he’s heard doing local station breaks. Stewart’s record of service on behalf of the Springfield arts community earned him the Springfield Regional Arts Council's Ozzie Award in 2006.