CT premiere of acclaimed Tartuffe for Baxter

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Tartuffe - Soweto Theatre dates
Tartuffe – Soweto Theatre dates

Cape Town audiences now have the chance to catch the acclaimed production of Molière’s Tartuffe at the Baxter Theatre.

Directed by the award-winning Sylvaine Strike of the Fortune Cookie Theatre Company, with translation by Richard Wilbur, it will be performed at the Baxter Flipside for a limited season from 18 to 29 April at 7.30pm nightly, and selected matinees at 2pm.

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The production has been made possible through the support of Total South Africa, BNP Paribas and RCS (a BNP Paribas group company) and Mazars and is presented by the Baxter Theatre Centre, in association with the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS)and the Alliance Française of Cape Town.

Molière is regarded as one of the greatest masters of comedy and director Sylvaine Strike (The Miser, Tobacco, And the Harmful Effects Thereof) once again brings her winning signature directorial style to this theatre classic.

Khutjo Green and Craig Morris in Tartuffe. Photo credit: Dee-Ann Kaaijk.
Khutjo Green and Craig Morris in Tartuffe. Photo credit: Dee-Ann Kaaijk.

The production follows on the Fortune Cookie Theatre Company’s runaway success in 2012 with their production of Molière’s The Miser which ran to wide critical acclaim, seventy sold-out performances and which won four Naledi Awards, including Best Production and Best Director.

Making his long-awaited return to the stage, Neil McCarthy (Born in the RSA) plays Orgon, with Khutjo Green (Animal Farm) as his wife Elmire. Craig Morris (Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny), takes on the title role of Tartuffe, and theatre stalwart Vanessa Cooke (Vigil) plays the housekeeper, Dorine. Other cast members include Anele Situlweni (7de Laan), Vuyelwa Maluleke (Emotional Creatures), Adrian Alper (Generations), William Harding (The Miser) and Camilla Waldman (Closer).

Set design is by Sasha Ehlers and Chen Nakar, costume design by Sasha Ehlers, lighting design is by Oliver Hauser, musical composition by Dean Barrett and choreography is by Owen Lonzar.

Tartuffe is a weasely swindler, disguised as a paragon of piety who manipulates his way into Orgon’s house and unleashes his lecherous reign. Exploring the way in which people are easily manipulated by symbols of power and honeyed words, Tartuffe is one of Molière’s masterpieces, an uneasy comedy with a potent message at its core. Controversial when it was first performed in 1664, the play was closed down, censored and Molière questioned by the religious authorities of the time, who saw in it an audacious critique of hypocrisy within the church. Considering this, in a time when the artist, cartoonist or satirist’s freedom of expression is not guaranteed, Tartuffe is as relevant now as it was then.

“Promoting the work of Molière is even more relevant today as it remains utterly universal through the ongoing power of his word,” says director Sylvaine Strike. “We are proud to showcase the genius of one of France’s most accomplished artists, whose masterpiece Tartuffe will be performed by a brilliant South African cast, within a context never seen before and which promises a lot of surprises.

“It is a play which, through the strength of its comedy and satire of society, also invites us to question and interrogate.”

There is an age restriction of 16 years.

Tartuffe will be performed in the Baxter Flipside from 18 to 29 April at 7.30pm. Additional performances are on 22 and 29 April at 2pm and on 25 April at 11am.

Tickets to the previews on 18,19 and 20 April and the matinees cost R130. Tickets Monday to Thursday cost R140, on Friday and Saturday R160. Block bookings of ten or more cost R120 per ticket. Student and Pensioners tickets cost R110.

Bookings can be made at Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket.com or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet. For discounted corporate, schools or block-bookings, charities or fundraisers, contact Sharon on 021 680 3962, e-mail sharon.ward@uct.ac.za or Carmen on 021 680 3993, e-mail carmen.kearns@uct.ac.za.

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