Adapted by David Ball
Directed by Dominique Serrand
A co-production with South Coast Repertory and Shakespeare Theatre Company
Limited Season · Roda Theatre
March 13–April 12, 2015
Running time: 2 hours and 20 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission
“As spellbinding as a deadly snake charmed from its basket…” That’s just one of the accolades for Steven Epp and Dominique Serrand’s provocative and enjoyable revival of Molière’s satire on religious hypocrisy. A seemingly pious Tartuffe ingratiates himself to the wealthy Orgon, gaining access to the old man’s house and throwing his family into chaos. As Orgon falls for the scoundrel’s ruse, Tartuffe’s deceit takes a dangerous turn. Berkeley Rep audiences fell in love with the impish Epp and esteemed director Serrand when they delighted us with such legendary shows as The Miser. This modern interpretation of Molière’s most popular play—featuring a hypnotic Epp in the title role—is as intense and incisive as the day it was written, and just as entertaining.
Tartuffe uses haze and strobe effects. Berkeley Rep offers an advisory about any stage effect of potential concern to patrons’ health. We don’t offer advisories about subject matter, as sensitivities vary from person to person. If you have any concerns about content, please contact the box office.
Current ticket prices
Premium: $67–87 · Section A: $51–73 · Section B: $41–59
Prices are subject to change at any time. Generally, your best bet is to buy early. Weeknight tickets tend to cost less than weekends. For the consistently lowest prices, see any three or more subscription plays.
Partial support for open captioning provided by Theatre Development Fund
David Ball · Adaptor
David is an award-winning playwright, director, novelist, and drama theoretician who wrote Backwards and Forwards, the standard script analysis textbook for the past quarter century. He was dramaturg and playwright at Minneapolis’s Guthrie Theater in the 1970s; professor of acting, directing, playwriting, and dramaturgy at Carnegie Mellon University in the early 1980s; artistic director of Pittsburgh’s Metro Theater; and director of Duke University Drama through 1991. His plays and adaptations have been staged at major regional theatres and off Broadway, including The Miser and Tartuffe for Tony Award-winning Theatre de la Jeune Lune. His Swamp Outlaw, a Civil War-era novel of Lumbee Indian Henry Berry Lowery and his outlaw raiders, is a Kindle favorite. He has had the privilege of working with director Dominique Serrand for 25 years. In a baffling (even to himself) career change, for 15 years, David has been America’s most influential jury consultant. His favorite job ever: taxi driver in 1961.
Dominique Serrand · Director / Scenic Design
Dominique has directed several shows at Berkeley Rep, including Figaro, The Miser, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Green Bird, and Don Juan Giovanni. He is co-artistic director of the Moving Company, with Steven Epp, a company dedicated to creating new work and reimagining work from the past. A Paris native, Dominique was artistic director and one of the co-founders of Theatre de la Jeune Lune from 1978 to 2008. He studied at the National Circus School and the Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris. Dominique has acted, conceived, directed, and designed for most Jeune Lune productions for more than 30 years, concentrating primarily on directing. His directing credits include The Kitchen, Lulu, The Bourgeois Gentleman, Romeo and Juliet, Red Noses, 1789, Children of Paradise: Shooting a Dream, 3 Musketeers, The Pursuit of Happiness, Queen Elizabeth, Tartuffe, Gulliver, The Seagull, The Miser, The Little Prince, and Amerika, or the Disappearance. He staged several operas including The Magic Flute, Cosi Fan Tutte, Don Juan Giovanni, Figaro, Carmen, Maria de Buenos Aires, and Mefistofele. Dominique has directed on numerous stages including PlayMakers Repertory, La Jolla Playhouse, Yale Repertory Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Guthrie Theater, Alley Theatre, and Children’s Theatre Company, amongst others. He is a USA/Ford and Bush fellow. In 2005, Theatre de la Jeune Lune received a Tony Award for best regional theatre. Dominique has been knighted by the French government in the order of Arts and Letters.
Tom Buderwitz · Co-Scenic Design
Tom has designed for South Coast Repertory, Center Theatre Group, the Geffen Playhouse, the Pasadena Playhouse, the Goodman Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Portland Center Stage, the Denver Center Theatre Company, the Laguna Playhouse, Chautauqua Theater Company, Arizona Theatre Company, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Artists Repertory Theatre, the Antaeus Company, Reprise Theatre Company, the Theatre @ Boston Court, PCPA Theaterfest, Riverside Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, Rubicon Theatre Company, Rogue Machine Theatre, Deaf West Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre/Los Angeles, and A Noise Within, among many others. Tom has been honored with four LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards (26 nominations) and three LA Drama Critics Circle Awards. For television, Tom has designed specials and series for every major broadcast and cable network and has three Emmy Award nominations and an Art Directors Guild Award nomination. Please visit tombuderwitz.com.
Sonya Berlovitz · Costume Design
Sonya previously designed The Green Bird, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, and The Miser at Berkeley Rep. She designed Hamlet for New Victory Theatre, and her regional credits have included the Moving Company, South Coast Repertory, PlayMakers Repertory Company, the Children’s Theatre Company, the Guthrie Theater, American Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, and Actors Theatre of Louisville. She was the resident costume designer at Theatre de la Jeune Lune between 1980 and 2008; shows included Carmen, Cosi Fan Tutti, Hamlet, The Seagull, The Miser, and Tartuffe. She is a graduate of La Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Sonya has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards including the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle’s Best Costume Design Award (The Green Bird, 2000), a Minnesota State Arts Board Initiative Grant (2005 and 2013), and a McKnight Theatre Artist Fellowship (1999).
Marcus Dilliard · Lighting Design
Marcus has previously designed Figaro, The Miser, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Green Bird, and Don Juan Giovanni for Berkeley Rep. He has designed for theatre, opera, and dance across North America and in Europe, including numerous productions for Theatre de la Jeune Lune, the Guthrie Theater, Theater Latté Da, Minnesota Opera, Minnesota Orchestra, Children’s Theatre Company, American Repertory Theatre, and Intiman Theatre. He has also designed for Penumbra Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, the Shakespeare Theatre Company, the Athens Festival, Arena Stage, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Black Label Movement, Flying Foot Forum, Katha Dance Theatre, Portland Opera, San Diego Opera, the Spoleto Festival (Italy), Flanders Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Opera Pacific, Ordway Music Theater, Pittsburgh Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Vancouver Opera, Le Opera de Montreal, Canadian Opera Company, Chicago Opera Theater, and Boston Lyric Opera. He is the recipient of an Ivey Award, a Sage Award, and two McKnight Theater Artist Fellowships. He is the head of the design and technical theatre program at the University of Minnesota and is a member of United Scenic Artists, the U.S. Institute for Theatre Technology, and is a graduate of Boston University’s School for the Arts.
Corinne Carrillo · Sound Design
Corinne is a freelance sound designer based in Orange County. At South Coast Repertory she has designed the world premiere of Adam Rapp’s Purple Lights of Joppa Illinois, Tartuffe, Charlotte’s Web, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, and The Long Road Today, which was a part of SCR’s theatre project Dialogue/Diálogos. She previously served as the resident sound designer for the Laguna Playhouse. Some of her sound designs include Shirley Valentine, Private Lives, Marvelous Wonderettes: Caps and Gowns, Plaid Tidings, Chapter Two, Having It All, and Steel Magnolias. She is the resident sound designer for Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble, for whom she designed the world premiere of Angel of the Desert at SCR. She has designed two world premiere musicals at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Unfortunates and The Cocoanuts. She is a graduate of UC Irvine’s MFA program in sound design.
Joanne DeNaut, CSA · Casting
Joanne is the full-time casting director for South Coast Repertory, casting over 175 productions in addition to all readings and workshops, including NewSCRipts and SCR’s annual Pacific Playwright’s Festival. Other work includes casting for Center Theatre Group, Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and La Jolla Playhouse. She also casts for the University of Southern California’s MFA New Works Festival. Film credits include work with Octavio Solis, Juliette Carrillo, Mark Rucker, and the American Film Institute. Joanne teaches auditioning for both SCR’s Intensive Acting Program and Saddleback Community College. She received her BA from the University of California, Irvine. As a member of the Casting Society of America, Joanne was the recipient of four Artios nominations and an Artios Award for Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.
Amy Potozkin, CSA · Casting
This is Amy’s 25th season at Berkeley Rep. Through the years she has also had the pleasure of casting plays for ACT (Seattle), Arizona Theatre Company, Aurora Theatre Company, B Street Theatre, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Dallas Theater Center, Marin Theatre Company, the Marsh, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Social Impact Productions Inc., and Traveling Jewish Theatre. Amy cast roles for various indie films, including Conceiving Ada, starring Tilda Swinton; Haiku Tunnel and Love & Taxes, both by Josh Kornbluth; and Beyond Redemption by Britta Sjogren. Amy received her MFA from Brandeis University, where she was also an artist in residence. She has been a coach to hundreds of actors, has taught acting at Mills College and audition technique at Berkeley Rep’s School of Theatre, and has led workshops at numerous other venues in the Bay Area. Prior to working at Berkeley Rep, she was an intern at Playwrights Horizons in New York. Amy is a member of CSA, the Casting Society of America.
Michael Suenkel* · Stage Manager
Michael began his association with Berkeley Rep as the stage management intern for the 1984–85 season and is now in his 21st year as production stage manager. Some of his favorite shows include 36 Views, Endgame, Eurydice, Hydriotaphia, and Mad Forest. He has also worked with the Barbican in London, the Huntington Theatre Company, the Juste Pour Rire Festival in Montreal, La Jolla Playhouse, Pittsburgh Public Theater, the Public Theater and Second Stage Theater in New York, and Yale Repertory Theatre. For the Magic Theatre, he stage managed Albert Takazauckas’ Breaking the Code and Sam Shepard’s The Late Henry Moss.
Christopher Carley* · Valere
Christopher is pleased to be working at Berkeley Rep for the first time. His New York credits include, on Broadway, The Beauty Queen of Leenane (dir. Gary Hynes); off Broadway, A Skull in Connemara (Roundabout Theatre Company) and Once in a Lifetime (Atlantic Theater Company); and off off Broadway, On the Nature of Religion (Atlantic Theater Company) and Suspicious Package (Wordmonger Productions). Regionally, he has appeared in The Cripple of Inishman (Portland Center Stage) and Poor Beast in the Rain (dir. Wilson Milam). In film and television, some of his credits include Gran Torino (dir. Clint Eastwood), Lions for Lambs (dir. Robert Redford), Garden State (dir. Zach Braff), Agent Orange (dir. Tony Scott), The Sopranos, House, CSI: NY, The Crazy Ones, Law & Order: SVU, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Numb3rs, Veronica Mars, Ro, Ed, and Campus Ladies. Christopher received his BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of The Arts. Follow him on twitter @carleychristoph.
Steven Epp* · Tartuffe
Steven has appeared at Berkeley Rep in Accidental Death of an Anarchist, A Doctor in Spite of Himself, Figaro, The Miser, Don Juan Giovanni, and he adapted The Green Bird. He is an actor, writer, and co-artistic director of the Moving Company, based in Minneapolis, where his acting/writing credits include The House Can’t Stand, Come Hell and High Water, Out of the Pan Into the Fire, and Imaginary Invalid at PlayMakers, Massoud for Center Theatre Group, Tartuffe at South Coast Rep, and Love’s Labour’s Lost at Actors Theatre of Louisville. His regional credits include productions at the Guthrie Theater, Ten Thousand Things, Yale Repertory Theatre, the Jungle Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, Trinity Repertory Company, Spoleto Festival, American Repertory Theatre, the Alley Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Center Stage, the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and the New Victory Theater off Broadway. Steven was an actor, writer, and co-artistic director at Theatre de la Jeune Lune, winner of the 2005 Tony Award for Best Regional Theatre, from 1983–2008. Acting credits include title roles in Tartuffe, Crusoe, Hamlet, Gulliver, Figaro, and The Miser. Steven has co-authored numerous plays including Children of Paradise, winner of the 1993 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best New Play. He was a 1999 Fox Fellow, a 2009 McKnight Theatre Artist Fellow at Playwrights’ Center, and a 2013 Beinecke Fellow at Yale University, and won the 2012 Helen Hayes Award for Best Actor as Truffaldino in Servant of Two Masters. Steve holds a degree in Theatre and History from Gustavus Adolphus College. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, and has three grown children.
Sofia Jean Gomez* · Elmire
Sofia is thrilled to be back at Berkeley Rep. Her theatre acting credits include Argonautika and Arabian Nights at Berkeley Rep, Shakespeare Theatre Company, McCarter Theatre Center, and Kansas City Repertory Theatre. She has also performed at Yale Repertory Theatre, the Goodman Theatre, Denver Center Theatre Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Arizona Theatre Company, and the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Sofia has performed off Broadway at Signature Theatre Company (Angels in America), Manhattan Theatre Club, New Georges, Page 73, and Lake Lucille. Her TV credits include Unforgettable. She graduated from Yale School of Drama. She has received nominations or awards from the Lucille Lortel Foundation, San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, Helen Hayes Awards, and the Denver Post. Most recently Sofia received Best Performances of 2014 in DC for The Tempest at the Shakespeare Theatre.
Brian Hostenske* · Damis
Brian’s theatre credits include Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at Center Theatre Group, Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them with Artists at Play (Los Angeles Ovation and GLAAD Media Award nominations), Playboy of the Western World at A Noise Within, The Winter’s Tale and Twelfth Night at Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Mother Courage at La Jolla Playhouse, and Tartuffe at South Coast Repertory. Brian received his BFA from the University of Evansville (Indiana) and his MFA from University of California, San Diego.
Nathan Keepers* · Laurent
Nathan is returning to Berkeley Rep, where he was seen as La Fléche in The Miser. Nathan, along with Steven Epp and Dominique Serrand, co-runs the Moving Company in Minneapolis, where he has co-conceived, written, directed, and performed (respectively) in For Sale, Out of the Pan Into the Fire, Werther and Lotte, All’s Fair, and Come Hell and High Water. For 11 seasons, Nathan was with Theatre de la Jeune Lune, where he co-created and performed in many productions including Chez Pierre, The Little Prince, Amerika, Fishtank, The Deception, The Miser, Tartuffe, and others. In Minneapolis, he has been seen on stage at the Jungle Theater (Waiting for Godot, Fully Committed, The Swan), Ten Thousand Things, the Guthrie Theater, and Children’s Theatre Company. Nationally, Nathan has worked at South Coast Repertory, PlayMakers Repertory Company, American Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Alley Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, and the Folger Theatre in Washington, DC. He has studied with Pierre Byland in Switzerland and Philippe Gaulier in London.
Michael Uy Kelly · Ensemble
This is Michael’s first role with Berkeley Rep. Other previous credits include Mutt: Let’s All Talk About Race with Impact Theatre and Ferocious Lotus Theatre, 410 [Gone] with Crowded Fire Theater, and Tenderloin with the Cutting Ball Theater. Michael earned his BA in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University, focusing on acting, directing, and stagecraft.
Lenne Klingaman* · Mariane
Lenne is making her Berkeley Rep debut. She grew up in San Francisco in the Mission and is thrilled to be back in the Bay Area. Her recent credits include the world premiere of James Still’s Appoggiatura and Juliet in Romeo & Juliet (Denver Center Theatre Company); Anna in Anna Karenina (Capital Stage); Mariane in Tartuffe (South Coast Repertory); Viola in Twelfth Night, The Three Musketeers, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare Santa Cruz); Richard III (Intiman Theatre); Flight (P3/east); The Rehearsal, Richard III, and Noises Off (A Noise Within); and Measure for Measure and The Fantasticks (Colorado Shakespeare Festival). Lenne’s television and film credits include Cold Case, Twenties (a web production from the creators of Dear White People), Love: As You Like It, The Exchange, and various 5-Second Films. She recently starred in The Lizzie Bennett Diaries spin-off Welcome to Sanditon. Lenne received her MFA in Acting from the University of Washington.
Maria Leigh · Ensemble
Maria is a Bay Area actor who has worked locally and internationally with many companies. Her recent credits include Late: A Cowboy Song at Custom Made Theatre Company, Macbeth at Fort Point and The Odyssey on Angel Island with We Players, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore with the Breadbox, and Chamber Macbeth and Tartuffe with Rapid Descent Physical Performance Company. Maria has also collaborated and performed with foolsFURY, San Francisco Theater Pub, Centro Estatal de las Artes (Mexicali, MX), the Cutting Ball Theater, Ragged Wing, La Tropa, and the Thunderbird Theatre Company. For more information, please visit marialeigh.com.
Gregory Linington* · Cleante
Gregory’s New York credits include The Unfortunates at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater and Throne of Blood at Brooklyn Academy of Music. He has also appeared in The Tempest at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Romeo & Juliet at Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, Tartuffe at South Coast Repertory, End of the Rainbow at Center Theatre Group, Equivocation at Arena Stage, and Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter at the Kennedy Center. He is a 12-year company member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where he has performed in Love’s Labor’s Lost, Julius Caesar, Merchant of Venice, King Lear, The Tempest, The Cherry Orchard, Equivocation (world premiere), and Oedipus Complex (world premiere), among others. Gregory is also a company member of Misery Loves Company in Prague, appearing in As You Like It, Cloud Nine, Angels in America, and The Age of Reason (world premiere), among others. His film and TV credits include Heat of Deeds, Persuasion, Harrison’s Flowers, Grey’s Anatomy, Shameless, Major Crimes, and The West Wing. He has taught at Southern Oregon University, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Los Angeles High School Shakespeare Project. Gregory received his training from the Groundlings, SITI Company at Skidmore College, and Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts. Visit gregorylinington.com.
Becca Lustgarten · Ensemble
Becca is thrilled to be making her Berkeley Rep debut. Her recent credits include Tartuffe and Death of a Salesman (South Coast Repertory). Her other favorite credits include Three Sisters at Williamstown Theatre Festival, directed by Michael Greif; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Hangar Theatre, directed by Kevin Moriarty; and a number of new plays developed and produced by the Actors Studio (NYC) and Primary Stages Einhorn School of Performing Arts. She received her BFA in Theatre Arts from Boston University and studied at the Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy. In addition to her theatrical work, Becca is a writer and musician.
Michael Manuel* · Madame Pernelle / Officer
Michael is happy to be making his Berkeley Rep debut. He was most recently seen in Impro Theatre’s Western Unscripted at the Falcon Theatre in Los Angeles. Michael has worked in regional theatres across the country including Seattle Repertory Theatre, the Empty Space Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Yale Repertory Theatre, Theatre for a New Audience, New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, Manhattan Theatre Club, the Mark Taper Forum, Cornerstone Theater Company, Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, A Noise Within (Dramalogue and LA Critics Circle awards), the Geffen Playhouse, Upright Citizens Brigade, Ojai Playwrights Conference, InterAct Theatre Company (LA Weekly and Ovation awards), the Pasadena Playhouse, Main Street Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, About Productions, and Parson’s Nose. His television and movie credits include Without a Trace, Medium, National Treasure, Los Americans, and the upcoming feature The Millionaires’ Unit. Michael is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.
Todd Pivetti · Ensemble
Todd is thrilled to be making his Berkeley Rep debut. He has most recently appeared in The Balcony with Collected Works at the Mint in San Francisco, Cock at the New Conservatory Theatre Center, The Speakeasy with Boxcar Theatre, Threepenny Opera with San Jose Stage Company, Julius Caesar (tour) with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Imaginary Invalid with Pacific Repertory Theatre, Twelfth Night and The Mandrake at Shakespeare Santa Cruz, and he played Peer Gynt in Peer Gynt at UC Santa Cruz as his master’s thesis. Todd has also done numerous readings and workshops with Playwrights Foundation, Crowded Fire Theater, and the Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco.
Luverne Seifert* · Orgon
Luverne last performed at Berkeley Rep in Don Juan Giovanni. His performance credits include The 39 Steps, Servant of Two Masters, The Government Inspector, and The Ugly One (the Guthrie Theater); Music Man, Measure for Measure, Vasa Lisa, Man of La Mancha, My Fair Lady, Othello, Raskol, Richard the Third, Little Shop of Horrors, and Antigone (Ten Thousand Things); and For Sale (the Moving Company). His other theatre credits include Polonius in Hamlet (off Broadway, New Victory Theater); Tartuffe, Amerika, The Three Musketeers, Chez Pierre, Children of Paradise, Gulliver, Twelfth Night, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Yang Zen Froggs, and Germinal (Theatre de la Jeune Lune, where he was an artistic associate); The 39 Steps (Arizona Repertory Theatre); Tales of a West Texas Marsupial Girl, Antigone, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Children’s Theatre Company); and productions at La Jolla Playhouse, South Coast Repertory, Trinity Repertory Company, ArtsEmerson, and Spoleto Festival. He is currently a teaching specialist at the University of Minnesota. He received a 2003 McKnight Theater Artist Fellowship and a 2009 Ivey Award. Luverne trained at Augsburg College and Burlesque Center for Clown, Switzerland.
Suzanne Warmanen* · Dorine
Suzanne is making her Berkeley Rep debut. Her theatre credits include Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Pride and Prejudice, The Winter’s Tale, Macbeth, The Importance of Being Earnest, A View from the Bridge, Lost in Yonkers, Pirates of Penzance, Hedda Gabler, The Playboy of the Western World, Summer and Smoke, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, The Rover, A Doll’s House, Top Girls, Tone Clusters, Naomi in the Living Room, and A Christmas Carol all at the Guthrie Theater; Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Arizona Theatre Company; A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur at Gremlin Theatre; All’s Fair/The War Within at the Moving Company; Amerika, or the Man Who Disappeared at Theatre de la Jeune Lune; and Measure for Measure at Ten Thousand Things. Her recordings include the vocal CD All Around Woman. She appeared in the film Herman, U.S.A. Suzanne earned her MFA at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and her BFA at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. She is the recipient of the 2009 Society of Promethians award.
* Denotes a member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
“Revelatory…You may have seen funnier versions of Molière’s great satire on cunningly self-serving public piety, but it’s unlikely you’ll ever experience one that bites more deeply or sticks to your mind’s ribs longer than this bracingly comic, edgily somber and transgressive product of the ingenious director Dominique Serrand and actor Steven Epp. Rapacious religiosity has never appeared so seductively and smoothly reptilian as in Epp’s performance in the title role, nor obstinate gullibility so exasperatingly, willingly obtuse as in Luverne Seifert’s true-believing Orgon, the wealthy citizen who’s become Tartuffe’s patron and chief target. An arched eyebrow has rarely conveyed such eloquent sadder-but-wiser understanding as the right brow of Sofia Jean Gomez’s Elmire, Orgon’s beautiful, beleaguered wife. Epp’s Tartuffe is an ever-more unstoppable force of quick sophistry, oh-so-pious greed and tongue-lolling lust. Serrand and company lace their Tartuffe with an ambiguity that provides plenty of food for thought on top of the nourishing helpings of entertainment.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“A dark, intense, and vastly entertaining version of Molière’s work. Gorgeous production values and a whip-smart new translation by David Ball…Three-hundred years after its first opening night, Tartuffe still acts as a potent warning.”—Skyway News
“Both brooding drama and zippy farce…a stylistic triumph.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“[A] dangerously smart romp…Epp is as magnetic as ever onstage as Tartuffe works his age-old con game. Dressed like a perverse high priest in robes with a cutout bodice, Tartuffe trusts no one and teases everyone. Epp’s python-like movements give way to a ballet of physical virtuosity that’s nearly hypnotizing, particularly framed by [Dominique] Serrand and Tom Buderwitz’s intimidatingly elegant set with its clean classical lines. Serrand and Epp, formerly of the Theatre de la Jeune troupe, have long been famous for their ingenuity, their gift for defying expectations with startling juxtapositions of style and tone…For the most part this Tartuffe targets the brain more than the funny bone. Serrand has something deadly serious in mind when it comes to the nature of gender, the architecture of power and the thrall of corruption, and that’s what makes this Tartuffe so arresting.”—San Jose Mercury News / Bay Area News Group
“Molière’s Tartuffe is so damn funny…and dark…and unsettling. Serrand’s production is tightly focused and performed with astonishing vehemence. This is comedy played at operatic levels, and it works…When we finally meet Tartuffe, there’s been such build-up of both a pious and profane nature that it would seem the actual man couldn’t help but disappoint. But Tartuffe is played by Steven Epp, one of the most capable actor/clown/otherworldly forces on the American stage…Serrand’s Tartuffe is what we’ve come to expect from the former head of the late, great Theatre de la Jeune Lune: gorgeous to look at, even better to experience the emotional thrill ride from laugh-out-loud comedy to shocking reality to outrageously delicious bad behavior. It’s easy to imagine that Molière himself would be pleased.”—Theater Dogs
Prologue: from the Artistic Director
I once had a professor who liked to say, “In comedy, a man slips on a banana peel and we laugh. In tragedy, a man slips on a banana peel and we cry.” His point, I think, was well taken. The line between tragedy and comedy is remarkably thin, and the consistent crossing of that boundary is the hallmark feature of the work of the great 17th-century French playwright, Molière. Perhaps because he was an aspiring tragedian whose life was plagued with obstacles of every variety, or perhaps because his formative years were spent in the countryside learning the comic secrets of commedia dell’arte, Molière’s work is a daring blend of the darkest and lightest aspects of human experience.
There is no better example of this than Tartuffe, a play whose humor was so threatening to the court of Louis XIV that the king banned the play from being performed for five years. The king himself was allegedly a fan of the play, but the hue and cry among the clergy and aristocracy was so loud that Louis felt he had no choice but to declare it censored “in order not to allow it to be abused by others, less capable of making a just discernment of it.” Translation: Molière’s scathing critique of religious hypocrisy infuriated many of those in power, who saw themselves as the object of the author’s derision and the topic of public ridicule. They were being laughed at, and they weren’t laughing.
No one understands the delicate relationship between comedy and tragedy better than director Dominique Serrand. A lifelong student of Molière, Dominique works with a unique company of designers and actors capable of fulfilling every aspect of the texts. Led by the incomparable Steve Epp, who performed the lead roles here in Serrand’s productions of Figaro and The Miser, the ensemble is equally adept at delivering punch lines and gut punches. They move effortlessly from behavior that’s benign to brutal. Every slip on the banana peel evokes a different response. The effect is disarming and revealing, and combined with a stunning visual aesthetic, quite beautiful.
It’s important for a company like ours to return to the classics. Very few plays transcend the period in which they were written. Those that do become the standard by which we measure ourselves, both culturally and artistically. A great production of a classic work vivifies the past, illuminates the present, and inspires us to create work that dares to be important. Welcome to Tartuffe…
Prologue: from the Managing Director
Early March is always one of the most exciting times of the year—it’s when we announce the lineup of plays for the new season! You can read more about our 2015–16 shows in this program and in our lobby, but this year we have even more news to share with you.
Starting in June, our Thrust Stage will close for much-needed renovations. Our goal is to preserve the intimacy and cozy unpretentiousness that makes the Thrust such a perfect space, while bringing it up to 21st-century standards. The Roda Theatre will remain open and will be home to the world premiere of Amélie in August as well as the 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning Disgraced later in the season. We’ll reopen the Thrust Stage in January with a deeply moving family drama by Julia Cho, directed by Liesl Tommy.
The Thrust construction has provided us with an opportunity to introduce you to our new black box space: the Osher Studio, conveniently located along the Arts Passage connecting Addison Street and Center Street. (You can see it across the street from the box office.) The Osher will provide the perfect, informal setting for a Pirates of Penzance like you’ve never seen before—and one intended for the entire family. So bring your children, parents, grandchildren, and everyone!
Halfway through next season, the city will begin demolition and reconstruction of the Addison Street garage across from Berkeley Rep. But never fear! We’ve anticipated this and have made arrangements for you by securing a block of parking spaces at the garage on Center Street. When you subscribe to the 2015–16 season, you’ll be able to purchase guaranteed parking spaces for your performance dates. These parking reservations can be exchanged as often as you exchange your tickets, and they will cost no more than you are currently paying for the Addison Street garage.
Parking in Berkeley will be a challenge for about 18 months. But Berkeley Rep patrons who purchase parking through our box office will be protected from any inconvenience. You’re guaranteed a space regardless of what else may be happening in town that night. And your access to the theatres from the Center Street lot will be a short walk through the Arts Passage. Those with limited mobility can still be dropped off right in front of our theatres on Addison Street. Look for the opportunity to purchase your parking in advance when you subscribe to Berkeley Rep’s 2015–16 season.
So next season, you’ll get the chance to experience our sweet and intimate Osher Studio; you’ll enjoy the pleasure of a refurbished and well-preserved Thrust Stage; and you’ll have the chance to secure guaranteed parking while the city builds a better and seismically sound new facility.
Tartuffe and a select history of Western theatrical censorship
By Julie McCormick
If you sat in this seat 350 years ago, you would be risking excommunication and arrest. From 1664 to 1669, Molière’s classic farce Tartuffe was banned from public performances. Now, it is a beloved part of the Western theatrical canon that finds new relevancy with every generation of artists and audiences. But what was so inflammatory about this play that made archbishops and kings take notice?
Apart from the usual ire that religious critiques draw, the fact that Tartuffe was a piece of theatre made it doubly threatening. In pre-industrialized Europe, the only places that common people could publicly gather were at church and at the theatre. This largely illiterate population looked to the stage not just for entertainment, but also for information and the news. Contrary to today’s reserved audiences, theatregoers in the 16th and 17th centuries were far more raucous and participatory, hurling food, insults, and helpful suggestions at the stage. Mob mentality has the potential to take over any time a group of people assembles, but throw in alcohol, high emotion, and political critiques of a repressive government, and a theatre suddenly turns into a powder keg. Consequently, new plays met with frequent censorship because they threatened the church and crown’s tenuous social control.
Molière was writing at a unique moment in French history, when simmering political unrest was about to boil over into decades of revolution and bloodshed. In the late 17th century absolute monarch Louis the XIV still governed matters of taste as well as of state. Opulent dinners and over-the-top events at the lavish Versailles palace drove fashion across the continent; his generous patronage allowed artists to thrive. Until the days of liberté, égalité, fraternité, the king and those who had his ear controlled what was heard on stages at court and in the public sphere. As the 1789 French Revolution drew closer and the aristocracy lost its grip over the people, theatre in Paris grew increasingly bold and political. Despite his popularity with the aristocracy, Molière’s blend of impish humor and damning political critiques captured the revolutionary imagination and secured a place for his plays as enduring national favorites—a reputation that has lasted until today.
Tartuffe’s trajectory isn’t unique. Many of the plays we now consider to be classics were banned at some point in their histories, whether in their home countries or abroad. The social and artistic environments that produced the likes of Shakespeare, Ibsen, Tennessee Williams, and Lorraine Hansberry also threatened to obliterate their legacies. The consequences of limiting theatrical expression in France, England, and the United States has shaped the Western canon just as much as evolving artistic trends or ticket sales.
After the French Revolution won new liberties for the common people, state censorship of the theatre nevertheless continued throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Without the crown’s proprietary grasp on the industry, the theatre scene flourished—the number of venues went from four to nearly 50—but rampant paranoia in the new government led to a censorship law in 1792. Napoleon also tightened existing state control when he formed his empire in the early 1800s: performance houses could only be in prescribed locations, and all scripts needed the censor’s approval before production.
Once Napoleon’s empire dissolved and the Charter of 1830 secured the freedom of the press in the newly established monarchy, the state remained fearful of theatre’s disruptive power, and immediately closed Victor Hugo’s 1832 production of L’Roi S’Amuse. Though supposedly a play about François I, the character of the king more closely resembled the current ruler Louis-Philippe; the portrait was not particularly flattering. Despite Hugo’s valiant and impassioned attempts to lift the ban, L’Roi S’Amuse was not performed for another 50 years. Apart from laws prohibiting hate speech and restrictions during the war years, modern France has faced little theatre censure.
In England, things weren’t much better. Public theatres were not even allowed in the city of London itself until 1660. While the upper classes could attend private performances within the city limits, the general public had to trudge across the Thames to venues like the Swan, the Globe, and the Rose. The Master of Revels, who coordinated theatrical entertainment in the Elizabethan Court, had the power to shut down controversial productions and could imprison or even torture recalcitrant playwrights. In 1737, the Licensing Act went one step further, declaring that all plays had to be approved by the Lord Chamberlain’s office before they could be performed. The censor was not only concerned with restricting treasonous material; the Lord Chamberlain’s office also fancied itself an arbiter of good taste and deemed certain words and subject matters inappropriate for public consumption. This law was not officially repealed until 1968. The following day, the Broadway production of Hair, nude hippies and all, opened on the West End.
The United States
Though the United States Constitution has protected freedom of speech since the 18th century, a puritanical sense of propriety has been protecting delicate American sensibilities from bawdy content a lot longer. Aristophanes’ comedy Lysistrata, in which the women of Athens withhold sex and occupy the Parthenon to prevent a war, was banned in the U.S. for nearly 60 years under the Comstock Law of 1873. This law, which kept obscene material from being sent through U.S. mail, also prohibited pornography, Tom Jones, and birth control. Stories of schools or communities banning or editing plays because of sensitive (usually sexual) content are a near daily fixture in today’s news.
During the Red Scare, censorship of a different sort abounded. From 1938 until 1975, The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) investigated potential communist threats to United States security. Hundreds were called before the committee, including artists like Bertolt Brecht, Arthur Miller, Hallie Flanagan, and Charlie Chaplin. They were questioned about their political activities, personal lives, and the content of their work in an attempt to ferret out communist connections. Anyone who testified before the committee was blacklisted in Hollywood and New York—no one wanted to risk getting swept up in the witch hunt themselves. This culture of fear not only determined which artists had a public voice, but also fostered a more conservative aesthetic in the work that did get produced.
Why do plays endure in spite of the adversity they face? In part, nothing drives ticket sales like a juicy controversy. At the first public performance of Tartuffe, the crowd was so large that members of the audience nearly suffocated, and the production ran for a record 45 nights. Perhaps it is because these stories capture a deeper truth about their times—a truth that is too painful, insightful, or incendiary to be forgotten. Art invites people to think and draw their own connections, which is the most dangerous form of resistance there is. No one can control what goes on in an audience. It’s alive, and anarchic. Our imaginations take us outside of ourselves, our laughter helps us to remember our humanity, and our shared experience of a moment unites us as one. A group of people sitting in a room, listening together, and using their imaginations will always be a powerful and political act.
Looking for the magic of things
A conversation with Dominique Serrand
By Lexi Diamond
Tartuffe director Dominique Serrand is a visionary theatre artist with a long-standing relationship with Berkeley Rep. He took some time with us to shed some light on his journey with this production, and his view on making theatre today.
Lexi Diamond: How did your work with Berkeley Rep begin?
Dominique Serrand: It began with Don Juan, which was our first attempt as a company to work with an opera and a play, with opera singers and actors. It came from doing research on the legend of Don Juan—as you know there are so many Don Juans. We had our eyes set on Molière’s, and of course we had to listen again to the opera. After I heard Giovanni, I realized that there was no way I could ever do Don Juan without Mozart, because his music is so moving, so tragic, supernatural at times. So we mixed, very freely, Molière and Mozart, a fantastic and daunting experience.
It was on the Thrust Stage, and we had an electric car that actually moved—it was a rope trick—with Don Juan and Don Giovanni on the front seat, and Sganarelle and Leporello in the back seat. It was a ‘56 Chevy convertible with a rigged electric motor, thanks to your incredible technical crew who found the car, gutted it, made it into a convertible, and made it move. One of the most memorable moments was Steve Epp as Sganarelle. When he rants in act three, he was on top of the hood while we were driving and going wild in circles. It was just beautiful and haunting.
Can you talk a little bit about your approach to creating work? I’ve heard it described as devised and physical…
You know, I am not sure what devised means. I think it means everything I’ve done since I was a kid, which is to go find a space and create a piece in it that’s relevant to the world we live in today. So if that’s what devised means, that’s what we are doing…more specifically we combine artistic elements so they shape themselves together. Everything arrives at the room at the same time: the thought, the space, the company. And everything gets put together because of the particular people in the room, and always somewhat tied to the society of artists who are in that room at that time. The starting point is defined by the vision: why do this piece?
At the time of Don Juan, we felt there was such a level of political hypocrisy that it was time to do the piece, with the great threat of the religious right coming back very strongly. Then once in a while we just say, “Okay, enough of this. Let’s do a funny thing. Something that brings us joy, something ridiculous about the stupidity we live in.” And then we look at the magic of things, and that’s how we did Green Bird.
Green Bird was particularly fantastic because of its transformative journey. A lot of the shows we do take several steps; we do a first take and then we learn from what we’ve done, and we refine. Green Bird started at Yale—it was very big. Too big! And then we reduced. The main element of the stage was sand. And the sand was trapped. So actors could come through the sand, which was magnificent. I played in it, I came through the sand. We had sand in our beds for the entire thing.
By the time it came to Berkeley Rep it had become a Japanese-influenced Italian buffo of sorts. That was a beautiful, very magical production. Not just farcical, but very beautiful as well.
That’s the impression that I get of your aesthetic—that you mix the dark with the humorous, and throw it all together in really grand, epic images.
We try. We try. Although it depends on what the production is—some of them are epic and magical. I think that Tartuffe is more epic and less magical. There’s no set change, it’s all in one day, one long light cue (it’s made up of 400 cues, of course, but it should feel like one). It’s more like a tragic epic piece, with Molière’s vitriolic humor of course.
What drew you to Tartuffe, and what keeps drawing you back to Tartuffe?
First of all, I love to go back and do a production again, learning from the first time. You know, we rehearse so little. We used to rehearse 12 weeks, and now we are down to four and a half, five weeks, whatever, which is barely enough time to even touch the piece. So we like to remount and rework a piece.
The first Tartuffe came after Congress went to the republicans. Ha! Really?! And we heard all the horrendous stuff that they were saying about art and pornography, and the attacks against Mapplethorpe and all these great artists as pornographers. It was basically an attack on the National Endowment for the Arts, and an attack on artists in general. And we said, “Okay, well now it’s time to do Tartuffe.” So that was the first time.
Can you speak a little bit about your relationship with your actors?
The beautiful thing when you have a company of actors, which I’ve always had, even now, is that we grow. So Luverne Seifert, who started playing the young lover, now plays the father. Others have moved to play different parts over the years, so they all know how the parts play. And it all comes from a formidable legacy, the old commedia dell’arte companies where you learn the young parts as you start your career and then you learn the middle-aged parts and then you learn the old parts. And by the time you get to be the old ones, you’ve played all of them, so there’s a familiarity and a language within the company, which is very rare to see.
With such a strong relationship with the members of your company, what’s it like to add new ensemble members when you go to a new city?
Well, we’re always looking to replace people. A good example is when we did The Miser, which toured around the country, we knew from the first performance at American Repertory Theatre that some of the actors would leave and other actors who were not part of the creation would replace them. So there would always be someone new on the stage, someone fresh that could somehow bring some oxygen into the room, a new interpretation. Then some of the actors would come back and do it for a while, and learn that the show had moved and evolved. So we’re very used to bringing in new people. And we always hope it goes well!
And what’s your relationship like with designers, whom you mentioned you work with very closely in the room?
Well, my relationship, for instance, with Marcus [Dilliard], who’s the lighting designer and whom I’ve worked with for decades, is quite simple. We talk at length about the vision, the space, the purpose of the production. We talk at really great depth about how it should work rhythmically with, and how we create an image, a picture—I hate to say picture because I’m not a director who works with pictures—how we create a movement and an emotion with lights. And then I sit in the room and he lights it. And we rarely tech. I go through the show and he lights it and he times it. And we have more conversations and the next day we come back and he makes some changes. But we don’t actually stop and tech, step by step. Of course, if a light is particularly tricky, we have to make sure the actors are aware of that light so they know how to live in it.
So that’s my relationship. We have long conversations, we’re very close, but I never stop, I never ask for a light, I never say, “I think that’s too dark.” I say “You’re making me look like I’m doing something so somber, so intellectually complex.” And he adjusts and comes up with some beautiful adjustment that I barely notice, actually. I just look at the scene and say, “It’s the same as yesterday, only now I can see it beautifully.”
Of course, this would not be possible if we did not know each other very well. There is friendship and a lot of trust involved, besides enormous talent.
Is that the same way that you made work with Jeune Lune?
Absolutely. The operation closed, unfortunately, because it was in debt. A very sad story indeed. But the artists remained
It’s always a bit puzzling for me when we are in Minneapolis to hear people wonder, “You’re done. This was part of the past.” And we say: No, we’ve moved on, but we’re still here! We’re in a different place and we pursue the work. It’s not about brick and mortar, it’s about human capital.
How does farce play a role in this production?
Well, yes, Tartuffe was created, in its first version, as a farce in three acts. The production we’re doing is a production that is a result of all the censorship and all the rewrites—a production in five acts, the final one that he wrote. And so we looked at it very differently. We said, “Well, if the first one was a farce about devouts and bigots, the last iteration is one that is absorbed with the pain caused by the censorship and the absolute meanness that surrounded the production.” So our production reflects the fight that Molière was going through. It’s not at all a farcical interpretation. It’s more of a tragic approach. But at the same time, of course, the funny scenes, comedy scenes between lovers and servants are funny because they are.
What is the appetite like for farce in today’s audiences?
I’ve been distancing myself from farce for some time, at least a decade. I pursue the humor, of course, which is necessary. A part of me is funny, and that’s the way we are. But I think it takes different tones with maturity.
I think you can see it reflected in the older artists, where it becomes more muscular. The farce was more present in the younger years as a company. Of course when you’ve done it for many years, it’s part of your muscle, so it’s always there somewhere.
I think a great example is Luverne, who plays Orgon, the patriarch. Luverne has worked with me for years. He is a natural comic actor, extremely funny. And I asked him to not be funny at all. And it’s beautiful: really naturally funny actors, when they turn to tragedy, are often even more moving because they have a sense of their own ridicule. So it’s really, really stunning.
What do you think has evolved in you as an artist over the years?
I hate to say this, but a profound sadness at the political state of the country and the arts. On the other hand, I have been very invigorated by the challenge of what we must do to recreate an audience, and to do the work the way we think it should be done versus the way pundits say it should be done.
Who are your greatest theatrical inspirations whom you look to, from the past or present?
Many. From the past, of course, Ariane Mnouchkine from the Théâtre du Soleil in Paris, that was a great influence. We started wanting to work with her, and she said no, we need more companies like ours, go and make your own. And that’s how Complicite got started, how we got started, how all these companies got started at the same time—we were all in class together, actually, within a few years. The whole point, Jacques Lecoq always said, was you have to go and create companies. You have to do the work, the work has to be seen, and you have to reinvent it.
I was a young man when the Theatre of Nations was created in Paris, and all the best theatre from around the world would come once a year, and we were exposed to the greatest. From everywhere really: the Polish, the Czechs, the Hungarians, the Romanians, the Spanish, the Italians, the Dutch. So that was my influence.
Probably the second greatest influence for me was Pina Bausch.
In terms of the new, it’s a little tricky to figure out what’s happening. Right now it feels like the pot is simmering and we see movements, we see bubbles of interesting work, but the broth isn’t made. That is why we try to bring a lot of people to the process. Actors, mostly, but sometimes young directors, young designers, authors, playwrights. Even if they don’t work on the piece, they just come to observe.
Do you have any playwrights right now that you’re particularly excited by?
Yes, I do, but I don’t want to specifically pick any names. I just see some emerging voices that are interesting. It’s tricky because for a long time American theatre has been framed by the psychological. You know, people in a room, around a couch, what I call the living room plays, in which people share their tragedies and psychological traumas. Now, there is a new movement coming out. Some of these playwrights are more celebrative, and working in larger dimensions, for larger casts, larger spaces, creating larger stories. So I tend to approach or work with young authors, even if I don’t do their play yet, to just push them and widen their space.
Two decades with Steven Epp and Dominique Serrand
By Lexi Diamond
Bay Area audiences have enjoyed a steadfast romance with Steven Epp and Dominique Serrand, and this year’s production of Tartuffe marks 20 years since they began their celebrated liaison with Berkeley Rep.
These theatre-makers originally came to Berkeley as members of Theatre de la Jeune Lune, a beloved Minneapolis-based theatre company. Serrand co-founded Jeune Lune in France in 1978 shortly after graduating from École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq. Epp joined the company in 1983, and in 1985 Jeune Lune moved permanently to the Twin Cities. Jeune Lune served as a force of challenging, nontraditional works of drama for 30 years, winning the Regional Theatre Tony Award in 2005.
Jeune Lune was known for creating innovative works of highly physical theatre. They built original pieces and adaptations by exploding and exploring source material to find new and relevant stories. Imaginative, absurd, and visually rich, Jeune Lune’s work was infused with elements of acrobatics, clowning, mime, and commedia techniques that the company’s founders studied under Jacques Lecoq, renowned physical theatre pioneer. They performed their pieces not only in their warehouse space in Minneapolis (where the company members were affectionately known by the community as “Luneys”), but also in regional theatres across the country. Though Jeune Lune shut down in 2008, Serrand and Epp have continued to create work together as co-artistic directors of the Moving Company.
Berkeley Rep’s relationship with Jeune Lune began in 1994. Tony Taccone—then Berkeley Rep’s associate artistic director—recalls, “I flew out to see their production of Green Bird and was knocked out.” Taccone brought them to the West Coast, where they performed Don Juan Giovanni, their operatic mash-up of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Molière’s Don Juan, and other classical texts. Over the next several years, Jeune Lune affiliated artists have graced Berkeley Rep’s stages many more times, bringing us Green Bird (2000), Haroun and the Sea of Stories (2002), The Miser (2006), Figaro (2008), A Doctor in Spite of Himself (2012), and Accidental Death of an Anarchist (2014). On each visit, these artists wore many different hats, sometimes serving as adaptors, directors, performers, designers, or combinations of these roles.
In the two decades since Serrand and Epp began sharing their work here, they’ve established a relationship with the Berkeley Rep community. Epp celebrated this bond in an interview with SFGate, saying, “I feel like I’ve built up a nice little history with the audience, a relationship…Work becomes more rewarding when you have that. They see a range of your work and get to know you.” This familiarity provides an opportunity for the artists and audiences alike to take bigger risks with each piece. What’s more, every show that Serrand and Epp bring to the bay becomes part of a larger conversation with Berkeley Rep’s audiences. This conversation is deepened and made more complex with each visit, giving each return, each new chapter, a unique dynamism. Such a vital connection between audience and artists is so rare and so special in theatre today.
Tartuffe on TV
Get a 15-second sneak peek at Tartuffe!
Get the skinny on Dominique Serrand’s intense and entertaining adaptation of Molière’s most popular play.
Photos courtesy of kevinberne.com
Photos may not be used for commercial or personal use without written permission from Berkeley Rep, and unauthorized alteration, reproduction, or sale of these images is strictly prohibited. Journalists and other members of the media, please visit our online press room.
Director Dominique Serrand and actor Steven Epp discuss Moliere’s Tartuffe in an engaging Page to Stage interview recorded live March 16, 2015.
The folks in our literary department offer up these additional resources for Tartuffe.
Molière and his world
- South Coast Repertory put together this informative piece about theatre in 17th-century France and Molière’s body of work for their own presentation of this production last season.
- Molière penned a number of eloquent responses to the censorship that the early productions of Tartuffe faced. This site has compiled his preface to Tartuffe and the series of petitions brought to the king over the years of the scandal.
- The full translation of Tartuffe is available online via Project Gutenberg. Please note that this more literal translation is quite different from David Ball’s adaptation used in our production.
The Comic Mask in the Commedia dell’Arte by Antonio Fava
- Molière drew heavily from Italian commedia dell’arte troupes, whose work relied on a number of stock characters. This book by Antonio Fava provides vivid descriptions of each archetype, including analyses of how they walked, how they would complicate plots, and even how they compare to modern sports figures.
Banned Plays: Censorship Histories of 125 Stage Dramas by Dawn B. Sova
- Sova’s book chronicles the censorship history of a number of controversial productions from around the world. Despite their contentious starts, many of the plays she discusses, including Tartuffe, Lysistrata, and The Crucible, are now classic works of drama. In each entry, Sova gives an account of the scandal surrounding the production, a summary of the piece, and suggestions for further reading.
On the makers
- A video interview with director Dominique Serrand, in which he discusses the comedy, tragedy, and turbulence of Tartuffe.
- Director Dominique Serrand, actor Steven Epp, and many of their associates studied under Jacques Lecoq, a legendary French instructor of physical theatre. This brief biography provides some insight into the life and work of this theatre icon.
Backwards and Forwards: A Technical Manual For Reading Plays
- David Ball, who adapted this particular version of Tartuffe, is also the author of a short book on play reading that serves as a theatrical bible to many theatre students. The manual provides a number of creative, almost whimsical, ways to interrogate and explore a piece of theatre, methods that enmesh the artistic with the scholarly.
Docent talks and discussions
Pre-show docent talks
Meet us in the Theatre an hour before the show on Tuesdays and Thursdays for an engrossing presentation about your subscription-season play. Hear about the playwright’s perspective, dive into the historical context, and discover why the script is relevant right now. Each 30-minute talk includes plenty of time for your questions.
Post-show docent-led discussions
Join your fellow audience members after all matinees and share your thoughts on the show.
Our docents also offer talks off-site
- Thursday, March 26 · 1pm—Moraga Library
Teen Night gives local teens the opportunity to meet for dinner and a behind-the-scenes discussion with a member of the artistic team before attending each subscription-season production at an extremely discounted price.
- Friday, March 13, 2015
Past Teen Night guests have included: Tony Taccone, Berkeley Rep’s Michael Leibert Artistic Director; Ray Garcia and Salvatore Vassallo, dancers in Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup; and Michael Suenkel, Berkeley Rep’s production stage manager.
Page to Stage
Every season, Berkeley Rep hosts Page to Stage, a series of free discussions with eminent theatre artists, designed to give audiences additional insight into the plays and playwrights produced at Berkeley Rep. Past programs have featured theatre luminaries such as David Edgar, Sarah Jones, Tony Kushner, Delroy Lindo, Donald Margulies, Terrence McNally, Charles Mee, Rita Moreno, Salman Rushdie, and the Chicano performance trio Culture Clash.
- Monday, March 16, 2015
A discussion with actor Steven Epp and director Dominique Serrand, moderated by theatre critic Robert Hurwitt
Each talk starts at 7pm and runs about 60 minutes. No tickets are necessary for these free events, but seating is limited. The lobby opens at 6pm, and doors to the Theatre open at 6:30pm for general admission seating. Berkeley Rep donors at the Friend level or higher ($75+) enjoy reserved seating. For more information about Page to Stage or how to become a donor, call 510 647–2906.
Cap off your night with us after select evening performances throughout the season and sample wine, spirits, and other culinary delights from local vendors—all for FREE! Samplings begin immediately following the performance.
- Friday, March 27, 2015
Stick around after select performances for lively Q&A sessions with our artists on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights.
- Friday, March 27, 2015
- Tuesday, March 31, 2015
- Thursday, April 9, 2015