WEST WINDSOR – Lovers breaking up via cell phone, a pious hypocrite trying to bed his benefactor’s wife and a little political intrigue – all the elements of comic stage behavior – come to Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC) Kelsey Theatre in the form of “Tartuffe,” when Moliere’s updated classic tale of duplicity, seduction and outright thievery makes its American premiere as a PinnWorth Production.
The fun begins on Friday, Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. at Kelsey Theatre on MCCC’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. Additional performances are on Friday, Oct. 18 and Saturday, Oct. 12 and 18, all at 8 p.m. Matinees will be presented at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 13 and 20
According to producing director LouJ Stalsworth of Allentown, bringing this update to the stage is a testament to the timelessness of Moliere’s original work, which was written in 1664.
“This will be the funniest thing we’ve seen on stage in a long time,” Stalsworth said. “We’re pushing the envelope in terms of silliness and the clash of periods. And it’s being done with an all-star cast local theater goers have long enjoyed.”
In the title role of Tartuffe is George Hartpence of New Hope, Pa.; his foil and the man who stands to lose wife and fortune is Jim Morris of Hamilton as Orgon. Orgon’s wife, Elmire, and daughter, Marianne, are played by Carol Thompson of New Hope, and Kyla Donnelly of Levittown.
"One of the added bonuses of this cast is that George and Carol are real life husband and wife," Stalsworth said. “This allows the slapstick seduction to cross over from mere flirtation to bawdy behavior easily, and without the awkwardness that sometimes comes from relative strangers acting intimately on stage.”
Other cast members include Danny Gleason of Yardley, Pa., as Valere, Marianne’s true love; Chris Schmalbach of Palmyra as the peace maker, Cleante; Hudson Eder of Freehold as Orgon’s disinherited son, Damis; Christie Leigh Carver of Bound Brook as the smart-mouth maid, Dorine; Russ Walsh of Morrisville, Pa., as Monsieur Loyal; Jenna Moschella of Ewing as Flipote; Darrell J. Watts of Ewing as Laurent; P.J. Suite of Fictitious, Pa., as Madame Pernelle; and Rupert Hinton of Princeton as the Officer – the man who sets all to right at the story’s crucial moments.
Set and costume design are by Kate Pinner of Allentown; sound and light design by Evan Paine of Lawrenceville; Fabiola Bien-Aimé and Andrew Devlin, both of Hamilton are stage managers; props are by Jenna Moschella and Haley Schmalbach of Palmyra; and Jim Petro of Hamilton is the company’s master builder.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and students and may be purchased online or by calling the Kelsey Box Office at (609) 570-3333. Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking next to the theater. For a complete listing of adult and children's events, visit the Kelsey website or call the box office for a brochure.