Review: Tartuffe

Written by Jake Welch on . Posted in Local

After having lived in Provo for a couple years, I have come to develop a deep-rooted concern for cultural welfare of BYU students and the general population of those in Utah Valley. Now I know that I am not the most cultured person in the world, but I recognize the lack of value for entertainment that is thought-provoking and stimulating.

In an area where dates and weekend activities are purely based on cost and not quality, people are more likely to go see G.I. Joe for a buck rather than see a play that will cost them $10. If you enjoy mindless spectacle and exploding buildings, then the dollar theater is the place for you. However, I believe there are a few of you out there that actually have a few ounces of self-respect and are willing to pay a couple bucks more to do or see something worthwhile.

For those of you who fit into this second category, I strongly recommend that you go see BYU’s production of Moliere’s Tartuffe. Not only is it thought-provoking and engaging, but it is also significantly more fun than going to the movies. I lost count of the number of times I laughed out loud and not once did I check the time.

The play is centered on a man, Orgon, who has decided to disown his son and make a pious holy man named Tartuffe his one and only heir. It turns out Tartuffe is an infamous fraud and Orgon’s family tries to convince him to sever ties with the imposter before it is too late.

Not only is this play one of the finest works of French Neo-Classicism, but this is also one of best performances I have ever seen at BYU. Everything about this show is top notch, from the stellar performances by Andrew Veenstra (Tartuffe) and Dallin Allred (Orgon) to the unique set design. Trust me when I say you will be surprised by the talent on display in this performance. BYU has always been known for its singers and dancers, but it’s time the students and alumni recognize the students in the theater department for their acting prowess.

The style of the play takes concepts from many different time periods and mixes in modern elements that make certain ideas more relatable to the audience. Director Stephanie Breinholt said Cirque de Soleil and Tim Burton were two of the main influences of the performance. If that doesn’t intrigue you, I don’t know what will. Oh, and don’t let me forget to mention the original music, written by cast member David John Banks, that adds to the plays amusing personality.

While this play will make you laugh with its quick-witted humor, it will also make you think. There are many things the audience will take away from this performance, but one of the overall themes is that of religious hypocrisy, a topic that is always very relevant for us here in Provo.

So, my culture-seeking friends, do yourself a favor and go see Tartuffe before it closes this weekend. As economically appealing as a dollar movie sounds, this performance is well worth the extra couple dollars.

Tartuffe will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on BYU campus in the Pardoe Theatre in the HFAC until Feb. 6th. Purchase tickets online at byuarts.com/tickets or call the ticket office at 801-422-4322.

Jake Welch is a regular correspondent for Rhombus.

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