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Saturday, May 6, 2017


(Craig Morris & Vanessa Cooke)

Durban audiences have the chance to catch the much-anticipated touring production of Molière’s Tartuffe coming to the Courtyard Theatre at DUT campus for two days only, on May 25 and 26– for day time schools and evening public performances.

Directed by the award-winning Sylvaine Strike of the Fortune Cookie Theatre Company, Tartuffe is translated by Richard Wilbur. Molière is regarded as one of the greatest masters of comedy and director Sylvaine Strike once again brings her winning signature directorial style to this timeless global theatre classic.

Exploring the way in which people are easily manipulated by symbols of power and honeyed words, Tartuffe is one of Molière’s masterpieces, an uneasy comedy with a potent message at its core. Controversial when it was first performed in 1664, the play was closed down, censored and Molière questioned by the religious authorities of the time, who saw in it an audacious critique of hypocrisy within the church. Considering this, in a time when the artist, cartoonist or satirist’s freedom of expression is not guaranteed, Tartuffe is as relevant now as it was then.

The production follows on the Fortune Cookie Theatre Company’s runaway success in 2012 with their production of Molière’s The Miser which ran to wide critical acclaim, 70 sold-out performances and which won four Naledi Awards, including Best Production and Best Director.

Making his long-awaited return to the stage, Neil McCarthy (Born in the RSA) plays Orgon, with Khutjo Green (Animal Farm) as his wife Elmire. Craig Morris (Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny), takes on the title role of Tartuffe, and theatre stalwart Vanessa Cooke (Vigil) plays the housekeeper, Dorine. Other cast members include Anele Situlweni (7de Laan), Vuyelwa Maluleke (Emotional Creatures), Adrian Alper (Generations), William Harding (The Miser) and Camilla Waldman (Closer).

Set design is by Sasha Ehlers and Chen Nakar, costume design by Sasha Ehlers, lighting design is by Oliver Hauser, musical composition by Dean Barrett and choreography is by Owen Lonzar.

Tartuffe (Craig Morris) is a weasely swindler, disguised as a paragon of piety who manipulates his way into Orgon’s house (Neil McCarthy) and unleashes his lecherous reign.

“Promoting the work of Molière is even more relevant today as it remains utterly universal through the ongoing power of his word,” says director Sylvaine Strike. “We are proud to showcase the genius of one of France’s most accomplished artists, whose masterpiece Tartuffe will be performed by a brilliant South African cast, within a context never seen before and which promises a lot of surprises. It is a play which, through the strength of its comedy and satire of society, also invites us to question and interrogate.”

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière (January 15, 1622 – February 17, 1673) was a French playwright and actor. He is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. Molière redefined French Theatre in the 17th century, becoming one of the greatest architects of social satire, and his impact can still be felt today. Working under the patronage and protection of the “Roi Soleil” (Sun King) Louis XIV, he penned 30 comedies in which he satirized the shortcomings of the French society of his era. He was extremely successful (to the extent that French is now called “the language of Molière”) but had to suffer censorship and arrest due to his accurate derisions and stinging truths. Among Molière's best known works are The Misanthrope, The School for Wives, Tartuffe, The Miser, The Imaginary Invalid, and The Bourgeois Gentleman.

Tartuffe has public performances on May 25 and 26 at 19h00 at the Courtyard Theatre, Durban University of Technology. Tickets R80 (R60 concessions) booked through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet. For discounted corporate, schools or block-bookings, charities or fundraisers, contact Alliance Française: Vincent Frontczyk on 031 312 9582.

Day time schools shows – contact Alliance Française for bookings on 031 312 9582 or email:

There is an age restriction of no under 16 years.

The production has been made possible through the support of Total South Africa, BNP Paribas and RCS (a BNP Paribas group company) and Mazars in association with the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS). The KZN leg of the tour has been hosted and facilitated by the Alliance Française de Durban, presented by the Courtyard Theatre at DUT, and supported by the KwaZulu-Natal Arts and Culture Trust, and Tsogo Sun Garden Court Marine Parade.

The production goes on to the Joburg Theatre, Fringe Theatre for a run from May 31 to June 25.