February 02, 2011

‘Tartuffe’ coming to Christian H. Moe Theater

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The School of Music at Southern Illinois University Carbondale joins forces with the Department of Theater to bring a satire in music to the stage at the Christian H. Moe Theater.

“Tartuffe,” a modern chamber opera by Kirke Mechem based on the famous (and occasionally condemned) play by Molière, comes to the Moe Theater, located in the Communications Building, Feb. 10-13. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. except the Sunday performance, which is a 2 p.m. matinee.

Molière wrote his scathing play in 1664. Mechem debuted his operatic version in 1980. Though the opera is set in 17th century Paris, when the play was written, the story and humor are timeless -- a father and his daughter disagree about whom she should marry. In this case, Tartuffe, donning the guise of a virtuous and holy man, albeit one with a sharp tongue and ready criticism, oozes his way into the household of the rich man, Orgon. Tartuffe’s true goal, however, is to marry Orgon’s daughter and lay his hands on Orgon’s wealth. Elaborate schemes, during which Tartuffe’s true nature present itself, ensue, ending, as comedies often do, with a happy marriage, order restored and the villain banished.

Tartuffe is presented in the round in the intimate setting of the Moe Theater, directed by Tim Fink (professor in the School of Music and Department of Theater), with musical direction by Paul Transue (assistant professor in the School of Music) and piano accompaniment by David Lyons (collaborative pianist in the School of Music).

Here is the cast list of SIUC student actors:

• Anthony O. Seals (Mobile, Ala.) -- Tartuffe

• Keenan J. McCarter (Birmingham, Ala.) -- Orgon

• Robert Graham (New Orleans, La.) -- Damis, Orgon’s son

• Natalie Stephens (Pleasant Garden, N.C.) -- Mariane, Orgon’s daughter

• Tim Wessel (Murphysboro) -- Valere, Mariane’s beloved

• Laura Neal (St. Jacob) -- Elmire, Orgon’s wife

• Emily Cline (Danville, Ind.) -- Mme. Pemelie -- Orgon’s mother

• Jacob Hays (Carbondale) -- Flipote, a manservant

• Jennifer Wolcott (Marion, Ind.) -- Dorrine, a housekeeper (Thursday and Saturday)

• Lydia Dunmyer (Du Quoin) -- Dorrine, a housekeeper (Friday and Sunday)

Behind the scenes are guest artist, SIUC alumnus Jeff Luetkenhaus, sets; Stephi Molitor, a graduate student from Menominee Falls, Wisc. costumes; Guy Perticone, a graduate student from Greenville, S.C., lighting.

Tickets are $16 for general admission, $14 for senior citizens, and $6 for students. Seating is limited and not assigned, so arriving early is the best guarantee for optimum seating. In addition, due to the nature of the theater space, seating ends as soon as the performance begins. Get tickets in advance at SouthernTicketsOnline.com, by phone at 618/453-6000 or at the McLeod Theater Box Office from noon to 5 p.m. Mon. through Fri. The box office is also open one hour before each performance.