‘Tartuffe’ takes stage at the Box Factory

Published 10:45 am Monday, January 27, 2014

Moliere's "Tartuffe" will be performed by the Pigeon Creek Theatre Company on Feb. 2 at The Box Factory. (Submitted photo)

Moliere’s “Tartuffe” will be performed by the Pigeon Creek Theatre Company on Feb. 2 at The Box Factory. (Submitted photo)

ST. JOSEPH — Audience members will be treated to a mixture of both old and new with the upcoming production of Moliere’s “Tartuffe.”

The classic comedy, which turns 350 years old this year, will be presented in a new translation by the Pigeon Creek Theatre Company at the Box Factory for the Arts on Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m.

“Our translator, Rosalind Srb, had this project in mind for several years,” explained Katherine Mayberry, an actor in the company. “As she worked on it, she thought of certain actors in certain roles.”

While this is the first time that the company will be performing a play by Moliere at the Box Factory, this will be their third visit to the Box Factory.

“The Pigeon Creek people have brought us two of Shakespeare’s plays, ‘King Lear IV, Part One’ and ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost,’ so it will be fun to see how they handle Moliere,” said Judith Sokolowski, a board member of the Berrien Artists Guild, which owns the Box Factory.

Although the play is set in 17th century France, members of the theater company believe that the comedic action will appeal to a 21st century audience.

“The play is written in some beautiful language, but the plot also leads to some extremely funny moments on the stage,” Mayberry said.

The title character, Tartuffe, is a common criminal masquerading as a pious man. While he is able to dupe the wealthy head of the household, Orgon, the rest of the family—and especially the servants—can see through the charade, attempting desperately to unmask the conman before the family’s fortune and honor are lost.

“If people are familiar with Moliere, this is a great opportunity to see Moliere in performance,” Mayberry said. “It’s also a great introduction to Moliere—to experience him and the physical comedy, which is a bit bawdy. Our audiences have just been loving it.”

Another new aspect of this performance is that the Box Factory will offer special VIP seating for the play.

“This is the first time we will have VIP seating for those who want to be up close and personal with the performance. I’m anxious to see how that works out, both for the actors and the audience members,” Sokolowski said. “We require prepaid reservations for the VIP seats because we actually will have tables set up close to the action.”

VIP tickets are $15, general admission tickets are $10 and senior and student tickets are $8 per person. Tickets can be purchased by calling at (269) 983-3688 or by visiting www.boxfactoryforthearts.org. Wine and light refreshments will be available for purchase at this event.

The Pigeon Creek company is also looking forward to the performance because the new stage arrangements will more accurately reproduce the types of venues where 17th century plays were often performed.

“We do a lot of historical research into the performances we put on, and that’s how many of the performances were done. When they weren’t performing at theaters like the Globe, they were often performing in homes and other small, intimate spaces,” Mayberry explained.

“I love the fact that this is what we’ll be using when we perform this play at the Box Factory. It’s a really nice, intimate space,” Mayberry said. “We let actors speak directly to the audience.”

The cast of “Tartuffe” includes Kathleen Bode, Kilian Goodson, Kat Hermes, Scott Lange, Katherine Mayberry, Megan Prangley, Sarah Stark, Brad Sytsma, Kate Tubbs and Kyle Westmaas.

“When we talk about us doing audience interactions, the people seated closest to the stage will receive the most of this interaction,” Mayberry said. “They should expect to be pulled into the play.”