Inspired by current world events, a new adaptation of Molière’s classic comedy Tartuffe is set to premiere as the West End’s first dual language theatre production, performed in both English and French.
The 17th century comedy moves to America, where a French film tycoon finds his life uprooted by a radical American evangelist.
Adapted by Christopher Hampton and directed by Gerald Garutti, Tartuffe will premiere for a limited ten-week West End run at the Theatre Royal Haymarket from 25 May 2018 (press night on 29 May).
LA. Present day. French media tycoon Orgon has re-located to Tinseltown with his family, his heart set on becoming Hollywood royalty. With a new studio to his name and a palatial Beverly Hills mansion, his empire seems infallible. But all is not as it seems, as Orgon falls under the seductive spell of Tartuffe, a radical American evangelist. So comprehensively has Tartuffe hoodwinked Orgon that he looks set to steal his fortune, drive away his son, seduce his wife and marry his daughter.
Christopher Hampton says: “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.”
As befitting the Theatre Royal Haymarket, which was known to the play-going world as ‘The New French Theatre’ following its opening in 1720, this adaptation of Tartuffe will alternate between English with French surtitles and French with English surtitles to reflect the unfolding plot.
Written in 1664, Tartuffe, or The Impostor, became regarded as one of Molière’s most celebrated comedies, complete with some of the greatest classical theatre roles.
The creative team believes that by setting the piece in present day Donald Trump’s America, the play’s trenchant mockery of human frailties remains as relevant as ever.