Much like the great comedies of our time, "Tartuffe" is founded on serious issues. The 17th-century comedy, written by Moliere, achieves a representation of human nature through farce and satire. Moliere had a method of portraying life that could not be matched, not even by the likes of Shakespeare or Sophocles.
"The show really has a good message," said Josh Wintersteen, a junior theatre major who plays Cleante in the upcoming performance of the play at UW-Green Bay. "It brings up questions about truth, society and religion that everyone has thought about before."
"The purpose of the playwright is to expose hypocrisy and the gullibility that makes it possible, by casting it in a comic light," said John Mariano, director of the play. "As Moliere said himself,'To expose vices to everyone's laughter is to deal them a mighty blow.'"
"Tartuffe" has been recognized as Moliere's greatest and most representative play, but it has also met great hostility and opposition.
First performed as a private production for King Louis XIV in 1664, the play was then banned from public performance because of strong objections by officials of the Catholic Church. Moliere protested, revised the play and produced it twice more before the ban was lifted in 1669, when it was performed for the public.
The satire was so effective that the word "Tartuffe" has become part of the English language. However, it also made Moliere many enemies. He was attacked and slandered for his criticisms of human nature.
In preparing for the production, the actors and production staff have been presented with many challenges.
"The biggest challenge is probably the language," Mariano said. "Many of the actors are working on theirfirst classical play. The language is rich and written entirely in rhymed couplets."
"The role requires more physical hu…