TARTUFFE BY MOLIÈRE
November 10 through December 10
The Huntington Theatre Company presents the brilliant classic comedy Tartuffe by Molière, directed by Huntington Theatre Company Artistic Director Peter DuBois (Sunday in the Park with George), translated by Ranjit Bolt, and featuring actor and comedian Brett Gelman (Murray Bauman on the upcoming season of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” and “Dinner with Brett Gelman” specials on Adult Swim) as Tartuffe and Tony Award winner Frank Wood (Side Man and August Osage County on Broadway and HBO’s “Flight of the Conchords”) as Orgon. Performances run from November 10 through December 10, 2017 at the Avenue of the Arts / Huntington Avenue Theatre.
“This production of Tartuffe is going to be everything you expect from Molière,” says Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois, “complete with a spin on period fashion and the brilliantly comic possibilities of staging this classic play for a modern audience. Boston is going to see 2017 alive onstage within the framework of a 17th century farce, and the result will be satirical, smart, and a gut-buster.”
Ranjit Bolt’s translation of Tartuffe premiered at the National Theatre in London in 2002. Many English translations of Tartuffe discard the rhyming couplets, but Bolt’s translation remains faithful to the way Molière wrote the French verse. For Bolt, verse provides a vehicle for examining the ridiculous; his imaginative use of language contrasts with the formal structure of the verse to create an explosively witty text. Audiences can use verse to “escape through anarchy into a surreal world,” Bolt says. “The joy of the verse is the contrast between the discipline of the form and the ludicrous nature of what’s being described.”
DuBois chose the Bolt translation because he thought it captured the energy necessary for his direction: free and loose while still clever and sophisticated. “I knew I wanted a translation that sang in the mouths of actors — that had rhythm and speed,” DuBois says. “Bolt’s translation reads well, but it sounds even better. He captures everything that is joyful and fun about rhyming verse across languages, never becoming rigid or stuffy.”
huntingtontheatre.org, 617 266 0800, Huntington Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave., Boston