Stolen Shakespeare Guild
Directed by Jason Morgan
Assistant Director Lauren Morgan
Tech Director – Jennifer Stewart
Scene Design – Lauren Morgan
Set Design – Jason Morgan
Lighting Design – Bryan Douglass
Costume Design – Lauren Morgan
Properties Design – Jean Jeske
Stage Manager – Jennifer Stewart
Tartuffe – Andrew Manning
Orgon – Seth Johnston
Elmire –Julie Rhodes
Damis – Chris Rothbauer
Marianne – Samantha Snow
Dorine – Karen Matheny
Cleante – Michael Johnson
Valere – Blake Hametner
Madame Pernelle – Nancy Lamb
Flipote – Lauren Morgan
M. Loyal – Paul Stumbo
Officer of the Law – Richard Stubblefield
Reviewed Performance: 10/14/2016
Reviewed by Angela Newby, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
This is one play that brings together chaos, humor, family dysfunction, and lots of deceit that ends with a twist that will have one in stiches. Tartuffe by Moliere is a French comedy that introduces a man into the folds of a family that is desperate to show his true colors.
Stolen Shakespeare Guild brings this wonderful script to life and only enhances the humor through the cast and crew. Laughter rang throughout the audience during the whole show and every member of the audience thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
Directors Jason and Lauren Morgan have brought together a fabulous cast and crew to not only bring the hypocrite to light, but bring a richer humor to the script.
Scene Design by Lauren Morgan completely utilized the stage. There were multiple pieces of furniture from a round bed, stools, and a couch which were all used within the scenes to add to the humor of the script and hide nosy characters. The curtains and walls all felt of a regal status with the damask fabric and blue coloring. While I did feel that there was too much furniture on stage, the cast was able to easily move about and use them as blocking pieces.
Bryan Douglas’s Lighting Design was simple and flawlessly executed. There was a clear distinction through lighting to show when the characters were talking about Tartuffe with deep blue lights versus the bright white lights to highlight the show. Each transition to black was perfectly timed and only enhanced the movement of scenes.
Costume Design also by Lauren Morgan leant to the time period and was beautiful. Each of the ladies was dressed in a wonderful damask gown that highlighted their status in society with deep rich colors. The maids on the other hand were in lighter versions of green. The gentlemen on the other hand each held dark blacks and browns highlighted with golds and white which contrasted nicely.
Sound design was elegant and simple. The tempo of the classical music playing paced the play and moved the plot along. Each and every sound was perfectly timed and fit into the play beautifully.
Andrew Manning was Tartuffe the conniving imposter who was trying to take Orgon to the cleaners. Manning was absolutely phenomenal. His facial expressions and use of his eyebrows were perfectly placed to show Tartuffe’s deceit. While there are a few missed lines in the second act, Manning quickly recovers and was able to improvise as need when things go awry. Manning’s movements and posture were always ready and aimed to move to the next con and his nimble actions only added to the humor.
Orgon, Seth Johnston, was the gullible father who took a while to see past Tartuffe’s shield. Orgon’s frustration was easily shown through Johnston’s red face, clenched hands, and load vocals. Johnston portrays Orgon’s power and wealth through his stance and expressive eyes. Each and every movement was carefully executed to highlight the inner turmoil of his character.
Julie Rhodes as Elmire was flawless. Rhodes nailed the annoyed character with her eye rolls and huffs and puffs. She also kept up the dignity of her character with her aghast looks and perfect posture. Rhodes personified her character with grace and dignity and never faltered.
Damis, played by Chris Rothbauer, was the son of Elmire and Orgon and was very frustrated at the turn of family events that will ruin his love life as well. Rothbauer completely understood the indignation and frustration of his character and it shined on stage through his vocal inflection as he got angrier and through his quick movements and red face. Tone was a huge part of this character and Rothbauer never failed at making sure it was spot on.
Marianne, Samantha Snow, knew exactly how to play the dutiful and exasperated daughter. Snow’s whines and tears were perfect for this comedy and added just a sense of the ridiculousness of the situation. She was also able to turn on a dime and bat her eyes to get what she wanted out of her father. The passion between Snow and Hametner (Valere) was seamless and identified well with the two characters.
Karen Matheny as Dorine was the comedic powerhouse. Matheny was seamless in her sarcastic whit of the script and blended that with her facial expressions and body language to raise the humor. Her pace of speech at times was too quick which led to a loss of enunciation which made some lines muddy. Overall Matheny beautifully portrayed her character through her wit and charm only enhancing the production.
Cleante was played by Michael Johnson and was the voice of reason in the household. Johnson’s calm demeanor and cadence perfectly balanced the play. His stiff posture and rigid movements all showed his characters sophistication and led to a beautiful compilation of his acting skills.
Blake Hametner as Valere was the debonair fiancé of Marianne. Hametner held a calm demeanor through the stress of losing his fiancé and big sighs to emphasize his frustrations. His facial expressions seamed forced and that Hametner was trying too hard. Yet it was the use of stomping out of the room that showed the immaturity of Valere who wanted nothing else but to marry Marianne.
Nancy Lamb, portrayed Madame Pernelle, and immaculately portrayed the matriarch of the family. Lamb used her facial expressions to show her stubbornness and her pursed lips to execute her disdain for her characters family. She tapped her cane to emphasize her lines as well as add a little violence to the scene. Lamb shined on stage.
Flipote portrayed by Lauren Morgan was a maid for Madame Pernelle. Morgan played the subservient role wonderfully and had a perfect nervous laughter as the family uncovered the truth behind Tartuffe.
Paul Stumbo as M. Loyal was full of bright smiles and an over eagerness. Stumbo’s polite smile belied his characters use of serving the family with an eviction notice. His nervous side was easily portrayed through the grasping and wringing on his hands.
Richard Stubblefield played the Officer of the Law and portrayed him impeccably. Stubblefield’s calm demeanor and tone adjusted the room to his characters presence and power. He was also able to use his movement to show his role which allowed his authority to rise to the top of the chaotic scene.
Stolen Shakespeare Guild did an outstanding job with Tartuffe and had the audience leaving with smiles on their faces and an unstoppable talk of the great production. This was a wonderful show and a perfect night out.
Stolen Shakespeare Guild
1300 Gendy St. Ft. Worth, TX 76107
Runs through October 30th
SSG is producing Tartuffe under their Festival of both Tartuffe and A Doll’s House.
Performances for Tartuffe are:
Friday, October 14 @ 8:00 pm
Saturday, October 15 @ 8:00 pm
Sunday, October 15 @ 2:00 pm
Saturday, October 22 @ 8:00 pm
Friday, October 28 @ 8:00 pm
Sunday, October 30@ 2:00 pm
Tickets Prices are $20.00 for Adults, $18.00 for Seniors (65+), Student or Teacher with ID, $15 for Matinee.
Special Ticket Pricing for the Festival:
A Doll’s House and Tartuffe Matinee --$25.00
A Doll’s House and Tartuffe Performance Special -- $30.00
October 22 is Student day with tickets only $10.00
For tickets and information, go to www.stolenshakespeareguild.org or call the Theatre Mania at 866-811-4111.