Tartuffe is the most common English title for Le Tartuffe, ou l'Imposteur ("Tartuffe, or The Impostor" or "Tartuffe, or The Hypocrite") , the classic play by Molière (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin) first performed in 1664.
English versions of the title include Tartuffe, The Impostor and The Hypocrite.
Molière originally wrote a three act (lost) version of the play called Tartuffe in 1664 and it was first performed on 12 May 1664 as part of festivities known as Les Plaisirs de l'île enchantée held at the Palace of Versailles. However, this was immediately banned from public performance by King Louis XIV, though it had two further private performances in the same year.
A new five act version, entitled L'Imposteur, was performed on 5 August 1667 in the Théâtre du Palais-Royal but was immediately also banned.
In 1669 a final revised version in five acts, now under the title Le Tartuffe, was performed in the Palais-Royal theatre. This was a huge success and was the version was published under the title Le Tartuffe, ou l'Imposteur and is the one generally performed.
The play has been adapted in various ways and to various media over the past centuries.
Performance history in South Africa
Tartuffe has been one of the most popular plays by Molière in South Africa.
1952: Performed by the Repertory Players , directed by Leon Gluckman, in the Reps Theatre, 1952, starring Michael Hogan (Monsieur Orgon), André Huguenet (Tartuffe), Michael Anderson (Damis), Doreen Mantle (Elmire), Sybil Secker (Madame Pernell), Vivienne Drummond (Dorine), Norman Lane (Cleante), Richard Kissack (Valere), Maureen Sakalovsky (Mariane).
1967: SUKOVS (Afrikaans).
1968: An Afrikaans version, originally entitled Die Huigelaar by the translator Gerhard J. Beukes, but using the title Tartuffe for the performances, was directed by Robert Mohr for CAPAB, opening on 11 October 1968 in the Hofmeyr Theatre. Cobus Rossouw and Sandra Kotzé played the leading roles. The cast also included Jannie Gildenhuys, Nerina Ferreira, Pieter Joubert, Wena Naudé, Ernst Eloff, Heléne Carstens, Johan Malherbe, Will Bernard, Woutrine Theron, Pietro Nolte, Christo de Jongh, Pieter de Swardt. Decor by Bill Smuts, costumes by Stephen de Villiers.
1973: The English translation by Wilbur was staged by PACT, directed by Francois Swart, with John Hussey (Tartuffe), Margaret Inglis (Madame Pernelle), John Hayter (Orgon), Sue Kiel (Elmire), Lindsay Reardon (Damis), Annelisa Weiland (Mariane), Frantz Dobrowsky (Valere), Norman Coombes (Cleante), Janice Honeyman (Dorine), Anthony James (M. Loyal), Denis Bettesworth (A Police Officer) and Lynette Marais (Flipote). Decor by Richard Cook and costumes by Christa Scholtz.
1977: The Afrikaans version by Beukes, now performed as Die Huigelaar ) directed by Jannie Gildenhuys for PACOFS, with James Borthwick and Ernst Eloff in 1977. Also performed as opening production for the Observatory Theatre, Bloemfontein in 1979.
1978: The English verse translation by Richard Wilbur was directed by Pieter Fourie for CAPAB at the Nico Malan Theatre opening 11 August 1978 with Henry Goodman, Roger Dwyer, Peter Curtis, Lois Butlin, Jacqui Singer, Zoë Randall, Philip Godawa, Merle Lifson, Peter Cartwright, Simon Swindell, Neville Thomas or Brian Kennedy as a police officer and Sofia Berrisford. Design by Raimond Schoop, lighting by Emile Aucamp, choreography by Mavis Becker. This production was taken on tour to the H.B. Thom Theatre, Stellenbosch, the Guild Theatre in East London, Opera House in Port Elizabeth and the Monument Theatre in Grahamstown.
1986: A new Afrikaans version by Francois Swart and Tjaart Potgieter, called Die Huigelaar, performed by TRUK Toneel in 1986, in the Alexander Theatre Johannesburg and the State Theatre, Pretoria. Directed by Francois Swart, set and costumes designed by Chris van den Berg, lighting designed by Paul Pamboukian. The cast: Lida Meiring, Louis van Niekerk, Billy Second, Frank Opperman, Kim de Beer, Jakes Jacobs, Ben Kruger, Franz Marx, Ronel Kriel, Marcel van Heerden, Guy de Lancey, Bill Curry, Francois Viljoen.
1988: The Francois Swart and Tjaart Potgieter version, now entitled Tartuffe, was presented by CAPAB Drama in the Nico Malan Theatre, the first performance 15 August 1988. Jannie Gildenhuys directed , design by Dicky Longhurst, lighting by Malcolm Hurrell. Members of the cast were Marga van Rooy, Johan Malherbe, Antoinette Kellermann, Willie Fritz, Elma van Wijk, Gustav Geldenhuys, Marthinus Basson, Ernst Eloff, Marion Holm, Neels Coetzee, André Roothman, Pauline O'Kelly, Mark Hoeben.
Translations and adaptations
An English verse translation was done by Richard Wilbur.
Helikon, 1(6):41.31 August 1952.
Teater SA, 1(1) and (2), 1968.
PACT theatre programme, 1973.
Nico Malan Theatre pamphlet
PACOFS Drama 25 Years, 1963-1988.
Tartuffe theatre programmes (KRUIK), 1968 and 1988.
Go to ESAT Bibliography
Return to PLAYS I: Original SA plays
Return to PLAYS II: Foreign plays
Return to PLAYS III: Collections
Return to South African Festivals and Competitions
Return to The ESAT Entries
Return to Main Page