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Act 1 Opens Spring Season with “Tartuffe"

by Roseann Damico Schatkowski Jan 13, 2020
One of the comic monuments of dramatic literature — runs February 19 – March 1, 2020

Act 1 will open its spring, 2020 season with “Tartuffe," the hilarious, satirical comedy written by the man who is arguably the single greatest comedic playwright in history, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, more commonly known as Molière.

Through a new translation by director Wayne Turney, the iconic characters of Orgon, Elmire, and Tartuffe will arrive at DeSales University in a show that truly defines the meaning of satire. The production runs from February 19 to March 1, 2020.

This hilarious satire by the King of Comedy depicts what happens when the wealthy, bourgeois Orgon takes in the homeless and holy-seeming Tartuffe—a religious hypocrite and con man—thinking he is harboring a pillar of piety.

Orgon is taken in by the ruthless Tartuffe as he weasels his way into the home of the French gentleman and almost runs away with the house–including his wife! It’s then up to the rest of the household to expose Tartuffe as the scoundrel and con artist he is. “Tartuffe” is suitable for ages 13+. 

DeSales' Act 1 production of “Tartuffe” pays tribute to its legendary playwright. This play was written in a time and place where it was an egregious breach in etiquette to make fun of the nobility and the clergy. Ironically, it’s something the witty Tartuffe got away with quite well.

The play, a satire, was designed to do just that and is just as effective four centuries later. In the words of director Wayne Turney, “In an era when most of our ‘humor’ is ill-humored, derisive, ridiculing specific people with whom we disagree, Molière’s “Tartuffe” lets us laugh at ridiculous behaviors such as gullibility in the face of religious hypocrisy...this outrageously funny play was banned at least three times before the powerful people it was lampooning somehow allowed it on a public stage! I’m so excited to be able to work on my translation again with a whole new audience in mind. When I first did this translation/adaptation for Actors’ Summit in Ohio, I was in rehearsal for a different play and so I couldn’t attend any of the rehearsals. After nearly a score of years, it’s a treat to get to work on this remarkably funny text with actors instead of just my imagination.”

"Tartuffe" is a play about charlatans and cheats, fools and fables, lovers and liars. It is not only a hilarious comedy that has entertained a wide variety of audiences, but also has the power to ask audience members to look at themselves and see which character represents them the most. For Act 1’s 50th Anniversary, a show as iconic, introspective, satirical, and downright funny as "Tartuffe" is truly a gem.

“Tartuffe” opens on Wednesday, February 19, and performs through Sunday, March 1, 2020. Performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m.

There is a Talk-Back performance with the director and cast on Sunday, February 23, immediately following the matinee performance. There is a morning matinee performance at 9:45 on Tuesday, February 25, including by a Talk-Back afterwards with the director and cast.

Ticket prices are $23 for adults and $21 for students and seniors on Wednesdays and Thursdays and $27 for adults and $25 for students and seniors on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Group discounts are available for all performances. 

The production will feature a Page to Stage Dinner event on Saturday, February 22, at 5:00 p.m. Join Amy Best, costume designer and theatre department chair, and director Wayne Turney for a unique, in-depth look into the world of Molière’s classic comedy. The event includes full bar and dinner. Prices are $32 for adults and $27 for subscribers. Tickets for performances and reservations for the Page to Stage Dinner may be purchased by calling the Labuda Center box office at 610.282.3192 or online at

In an effort to improve accessibility for all patrons, the Saturday, February 22, 8:00 p.m. performance will feature Open Captioning for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing and Audio Descriptions for patrons who are blind or visually impaired. During Open Captioned performances, all dialogue and sound effects are presented in real-time on an LED screen that is adjacent to the stage. During Audio Described performances, all action and physical appearances are described live through a headset. Tickets are half price for patrons using these special services on this date. Please call Associate Box Office Manager Zach Weidner at 610.282.3654, ext. 2, for more information.

The Labuda Center is fully accessible and equipped with a listening enhancement system. Special seating is available for our patrons using wheelchairs or requiring other assistance. Please inform the box office of your needs when ordering tickets.