A Trip to Tartuffe


A group of French students attended a trip to see Tartuffe at the Haymarket Theatre. Inès Kirati shares her thoughts on the production.

To be fair, plays never turn out the way you anticipate them in the moments leading up to the production. Maybe I speak for most when I say the mise-en-scène went beyond the unexpected; we had come to see a 17th century comedy - admittedly written to provoke religious audiences - so when the show began with a rave hosted by a media tycoon billionaire in Los Angeles, none of us were quite sure what to think.

Then came the duality of the dialogue. Fortunately subtitled on small screens at the sides of the stage, the audience were able to follow the mélange of original French text and modernised English adaptation, almost perfectly executed as all the actors were seamlessly bilingual.

In this way, they projected the personality of their characters on us, so it became very easy to notice their distinctive qualities; the oblivious reverence of the father, the blunt satire of the mother, and the cocaine-induced jitteriness of their son. But most enthralling of all was the syrupy sanctity of the evangelical priest; his honeyed words deceived, and disguised the corruption lying beneath his pious facade (and also hid prison tattoos inked beneath his robe.)

Finally, the cynicism of the closing scene, with its allusive remarks to Mr Trump's tactless use of Twitter and the like, concluded the production with comic relief after many minutes of tension. We were confused, we were impressed, but overall it was rather genial.