E-Newsletter | Tartuffe | Awards | Guest Artist | M&C | Faculty Spotlight | Alumni Spotlight
Dear fellow theatre-lovers,

The neoclassical play, Tartuffe, regarded as a cornerstone of French comedy, is a model of decorum, sparkling dialogue, and satirical humor. Censored and criticized in its time, the play’s title character is an excessively pious rascal whose counterfeits of piety and spurious zeal nearly entrap the gullible Orgon.
In the preface to Tartuffe, Molière wrote, “Here is a comedy about which people have raised quite a stir…for hypocrites cannot take mockery. It is a crime they cannot forgive and they all took up arms against my play with a frightful furor, for it is a great blow to vice to expose it to everyone’s laughter. We are willing to be wicked, but we will not be ridiculous.”
Molière’s play appeals across the boundaries of time and space, with its familiar and authentic themes. Indeed, we all like to laugh at universal human foibles, and we also delight in a fitting restitution when hypocrisy is discredited.
Let's meet in the lobby!
-Erica Hoelscher, Chair and Professor of Theatre
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My father was a timpani player in Romania’s national orchestra and my mother was an actress at a prestigious theatre in Bucharest, where I grew up. When I joined Lehigh University I saw the potential for working with the Department of Theatre. My first production was Macbeth in 2002, for which I wrote an extensive score. The concept for Tartuffe started with that premise that a replica French harpsichord I built while on sabbatical would be used on stage. I am very close to French culture and have family living in Paris. The unique rhythmic inflections of the French language are very significant to my composition. I was inspired by a French gallantry dance, the Bourée, to add subliminal rhythm. The stately French overture, a significant addition from French Baroque style to music history, was combined with modern elements -- and the harpsichord binds everything together. I am grateful to the Department of Theatre and to all my colleagues who helped make this project possible.
The Mustard and Cheese Drama Society costume sale, held October 27, 2016 raised over $800 for charity
Paris had been our list of places to visit, and when it was clear I'd direct Tartuffe we decided to go. In addition to drinking in the feel and rhythms of the city, I set out to find an upscale 17th century neighborhood that could have been the home of the central family of the play. While much of Paris has been renovated since the 1660s, one square remains--Place des Vosges, with four-story brick homes completed in 1605. Peering out the upper floor windows of the home of Victor Hugo, now a museum, gave me a feel for the way that 17th century residents knew each other’s business and engaged in neighborly gossip. After that I was sure I wanted to set the play in its general period and French urban locale.
In the 8th grade I beat out the kid who always got the leads to play “Sky Masterson” in Guys and Dolls. Although I entered Lehigh as a computer science major, as a freshman I was cast in a staged version of Samuel Beckett's radio play, All That Fall. I found I had a natural talent for acting so I became a theatre major. The Department of Theatre provides students meaningful access to their rich facilities and opportunities to try new things. Having participated in many productions and with a directing stint thrown in, I was accepted into the graduate program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I now have a successful career in performance and voiceover. My advice to current Lehigh students is to take advantage of all of the resources available, work on every show you can, and take classes that interest you because they will be of value in the future.

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Department of Theatre | Zoellner Arts Center, Room 301 | 420 East Packer Avenue
Bethlehem, PA 18015 | Phone: 610-758-3640 | Fax: 610-758-6543

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