The classic Molière comedy Tartuffe is set to experience a unique twist at Theatre Royal Haymarket this Summer, as, inspired by current world events, a new production will be performed in both English and French.
Transporting the seventeenth century story to America, where a French film tycoon finds his life uprooted by a radical American evangelist, Tartuffe will alternate between English with French surtitles and French with English surtitles, to reflect the unfolding plot. Academy Award winner Christopher Hampton (Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Olivier Award; Sunset Boulevard) will adapt the tale, with the show directed by Gerald Garutti (former dramaturg of the French National Theatre).
Tartuffe is set in modern day L.A., where French media tycoon Orgon has re-located to Tinseltown with his family. Determined to rise up to the ranks of Hollywood royalty, a new studio to his name, and acquiring a palatial Beverly Hills mansion, his fortunes seem destined for stardom. But Orgon soon falls under the seductive spell of Tartuffe, a radical American evangelist – who himself is determined to steal his fortune and tear his family apart.
Written in 1664, Tartuffe, or The Impostor became regarded as one of Molière’s most celebrated comedies. Set present day in Donald Trump’s America, its trenchant mockery of human frailties remains as relevant as ever in this darkly comic adaptation of the classic satire.
Of the show, Hampton said: “Statistically, Tartuffe is the most-performed French play ever. I’ve seen it in theatres ranging from the RSC to the National Theatre of Vietnam, and it never fails to seem relevant and connect with audiences, in addition, of course, to amusing them.
“So when Gérald Garutti and Oliver King suggested a bilingual version with an English-speaking Tartuffe, it seemed a fascinating way to approach this perennial classic and situate it in today’s bewildering world.”
Tartuffe will premiere for a limited ten week West End run at the Theatre Royal Haymarket from Friday 25 May 2018.