Actors shine in the modern ‘Tartuffe’ adaptation

On Feb. 13 Mary Moody Northen Theatre’s premiered the play, “Tartuffe.” Originally written by Molière in 1664, it is the third of this school year’s four plays, and the first of 2014.

“Tartuffe,” which translates from French to “Impostor,” was first performed in the 17th century, and is regarded by many as one of Molière’s best plays. The play revolves around Orgon, played by Jamie Goodwin, and the rest of his family as they try to persuade him out of Tartuffe’s deception.

Adapted and translated by Ranjit Bolt and directed by David Long, there is one significant difference between this adaptation and the original: Long has set the play in present-day Dallas. This only adds to the magic that is Molière’s work.

Long, as well as the cast and crew, have managed to bring to life this classic tale with more humor than ever before.

The shining star of the first half is none other than Vanessa Guadiana, a junior at St. Edward’s, who plays a sassy Hispanic maid named Dorine. Complete with hip swaying and sharp comebacks, Guadiana steadily holds her own against experienced actor Goodwin.

Another actor worthy of attention is sophomore Trey Stoker, who is making his Mary Moody Northen Theatre debut as Damis. The hot-headed son of Orgon catches the eye of the audience with every entrance and is amusing in his own way.

Damis’s sister, Mariane, is played by junior Aly Jones. The interactions between the two make up some truly memorable moments over the course of the show.

However, the play would not achieve comical success without the acting of Jose Antonio Rodriguez as Tartuffe himself. Upon first entrance, Rodriguez’s body language and demeanor give off the impression of someone who was poorly casted to portray the title character. 

However, that idea is quickly dismissed with Rodriguez’s first words, where he transforms his character into the religious hypocrite known as Tartuffe.

A particular scene which showcases Rodriguez’s skill is one in the second half of the play where Tartuffe and Elmire, Liz Beckham, share the stage in what is by far the most entertaining scene of the play. Without giving away spoilers, you really need to see it to believe it.

Overall, the play was surprisingly delightful and a must-see for St. Edward’s students. Once again, the Mary Moody Northen Theatre continues to delight us with a charming play that shows the range of the theatre company behind it.

The play continues to run until Feb. 23 with another student discount day on Feb. 20.

 Box offices hours are 1-5 p.m. Monday-Fridays and any questions can be answered at 512-448-8484.