The Theatre Department Presents Tartuffe

The Concordia Courier

Concordia Irvine

By Leonard Memon | 1/20/2023

The Theatre Department will be performing a play titled “Tartuffe” from Jan. 20 to Jan. 29 at the Concordia University Irvine Studio Theatre.

“Tartuffe” is a hilarious play that contains serious themes. Dr. Peter Senkbeil, executive vice president of Concordia and director of “Tartuffe,” said, “‘Tartuffe’ is a riotously funny play that also happens to make a serious point about the power of lies. It’s basically a situation comedy about a family in which the father (Orgon) is going through a sort of midlife crisis. He meets a pious man, Tartuffe, and takes him into his home as a sort of spiritual advisor. Unfortunately, the rest of Orgon’s family isn't so thrilled about this -- they think Tartuffe is a con man who is out to take advantage of Orgon and the whole family. Chaos ensues, and things go from there.”

Desiree Sarkis, senior who plays Dorine, said, “It is quite an entertaining show, and a humorous one as well, but through the laughter and satire, being on a Christian campus, every student whether or not they're a believer, will be able to resonate with the themes.”

One of the serious themes that the play focuses on is the difference between authentic religious faith and the facade of religious faith. Senkbeil said, “The play also makes a more serious point about the difference between religious hypocrisy and true faithfulness. Sometimes the people who talk the most about religion are great at putting on a show, while the truly faithful are more humble and modest about it.”

Sarkis said, “Whether [the audience] know[s] someone like one character or passionately side[s] with the argument of another, the theological knowledge gained from Concordia will bring out the deeper meaning of the story.”

The cast and crew for the play are phenomenal. Kai Parham, senior who plays Tartuffe, said, “The most rewarding part for me has been the opportunity to share the stage with my peers in another comical piece.”

Senkbeil agreed. He said that “the most rewarding part of directing ‘Tartuffe’ has been the opportunity to work with a very talented cast and crew for the first time in a long time.” 

Senkbeil showed his appreciation for those that worked on the play with him. “I'd like to thank the cast and crew of the play, especially Ashlyn Laning, our stage manager, who has been my right-hand person. I also want to thank Professor Tony Vezner, our producer,” said Senkbeil.

The crew for “Tartuffe” has worked day and night to prepare for the play. Parham said, “Getting word perfect has been the main prep for this play. This show is rooted in comical essences, so making sure the lines are crisp so that the jokes can land has been very important in this process.”

It takes a lot of hard work behind the scenes to put on such a great show. Laning, Concordia senior and stage manager, said, “The production team [designers, director, technical director, etc.] and I have been working and preparing for this show since September 2022. After we held auditions, I made sure that throughout the process, everyone was on the same page in and out of rehearsal. We had weekly production meetings that helped make sure the designs and show as a whole felt cohesive.”


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