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Tartuffe: A Newfoundland Adaptation

Tartuffe: A Newfoundland Adaptation

Author: 
Andy Jones
Available in stock

19.95 CAD

Molière's comedy classic is ingeniously reimagined in Andy Jones' hilarious adaptation, set in 1930s Newfoundland. The original Tartuffe, by France's most celebrated comic playwright, is set in seventeenth-century Parisian high society during the reign of King Louis XIV. Jones' Tartuffe, set in the home of a wealthy fish merchant on the South Coast of Newfoundland, is a blazingly funny exploration of religious hypocrisy, with a unique Newfoundland twist.

Molière's comedy classic is ingeniously reimagined in Andy Jones' hilarious adaptation, set in 1930s Newfoundland. The original Tartuffe, by France's most celebrated comic playwright, is set in seventeenth-century Parisian high society during the reign of King Louis XIV. Jones' Tartuffe, set in the home of a wealthy fish merchant on the South Coast of Newfoundland, is a blazingly funny exploration of religious hypocrisy, with a unique Newfoundland twist.

Jones’ cadence and use of old Newfoundland turns of phrase are his trademark on page and stage, and they are effective in “Tartuffe.”

Andy Jones is a performer, writer, and former member of the CODCO comedy troupe. He was born in St. John's, Newfoundland, where he co-founded the Resource Centre for the Arts at the L.S.P.U. Hall, co-writing, acting in, and directing many original productions.Among his numerous stage and film credits, Jones starred in, co-wrote, and co-directed the 1986 feature film, The Adventures of Faustus Bidgood. He has written five critically acclaimed one-man comedy shows, as well as Albert, a one-act play for one man and a budgie bird; The Lady with the Lapdog(a radical theatrical adaptation of Anton Chekhov's short story); and the children's plays The Queen of Paradise's Garden, Jack Meets the Cat (co-written with the Sheila's Brush collective) and Jack-Five-Oh (co-written with Philip Dinn). Jones also writes children's books based on Newfoundland Folktales; Jack and Mary in the Land of Thieves, won the Winterset award in 2013.

Reviews: 
Tartuffe in prewar Newfoundland? Praise be to Andy Jones The National Arts Centre's English Theatre has always been a conundrum – it's a theatre with a national mandate, but a regional audience, charged with putting on artistically ambitious works in a commercial-sized house. I don't want to jump the gun, but new artistic director Jillian Keiley may have finally figured out how to solve the puzzle. In the selection and shepherding of the first production of her tenure, the Newfoundlander has found a way to mix Canadian content into a classic and combine a populist aesthetic with a pluralist one. Oh, and make an Ottawa audience roar with laughter. Tartuffe is Molière's famous comedy about religious hypocrisy and, by some estimations, the most performed classical play in the French-speaking world. (You can hear echoes of it in Quebec's debate over government employees wearing "ostentatious" religious symbols.) In his new adaptation, Andy Jones, one of the original of members of comedy troupe CODCO, has kept the characters, their French names and most of the structure, but transferred the action to pre-Confederation Newfoundland on the cusp of the Second World War. Orgon (Joey Tremblay), a Great War hero and wealthy fish merchant, has fallen under the spell of an evangelical minister named Tartuffe (a sweaty and whispering Andy Jones). Having already given him much of his money, Orgon now outrages his family by promising Tartuffe his daughter, Mariane (Leah Doz), who was already engaged to Valere (David Coomber). Orgon's wife Elmire (Christine Brubaker) and the rest of his relatives see through the ostentatiously pious Tartuffe, who walks around with a little whip for self-flagellation, but it takes an intervention and much eavesdropping from inside closets and under tables to convince him that he's been duped – at which point, it may be too late. Jones's version, which originated at New World Theatre Project in Cupids, Nfld., keeps the play in rhyming verse, although Molière's elegant alexandrines are replaced with a meter that's all over heck's half acre. This unwieldiness is mostly made up for by a steady stream of b'ys and buddies and various colourful Newfoundland expressions both real and invented. The crafty, Catholic maid Dorine (an acidic Petrina Bromley) is particularly apt with a saucy sentence. "If he had a second brain, it'd be lonely," she says in one of her more printable put-downs. A favourite scene between the young lovers Mariane and Valere, where they stubbornly refuse to admit their passion for each other, seems written for the Rock. It's a particular joy here thanks to Doz's proud Mariane, constantly threatening suicide by grabbing scissors or filling her pockets with stones, and Coomber's rubbery, recalcitrant Valere. Neither of those two young actors are from Newfoundland, but they do a fair job of giving performances that appear as authentic as those of Bromley or Jones, who are. The National Arts Centre's focus on having a company of actors for a whole season of shows, however, means that some of these Tartuffe characters sound more French-Canadian or Jamaican or, heaven forfend, Torontonian when they unleash pearls of wisdom such as: "It's a short alley that has no piss-cans." The double dislocation of the piece from Molière isn't all that disorienting after a while, but it does mean some of the comedy misses the mark. On the whole, though, the prewar period when Newfoundland had abandoned responsible government is a fine fit for a plot that hinges on tensions between religious and royal power. As it happens, King George VI visited the colony in 1939, a necessary condition for the Moliere's famous deus ex machina that concludes. There are more subtle added resonances too: Orgon, for instance, can often seem simply stupid, but, in Tremblay's performance, his status as a veteran of the Great War gives the role greater depth. He lost an arm and, you gather, that's not all. It explains his religiosity, his short temper – and, crucially, why his family is supportive and loving even as he gives away their future to a snake-oil salesman. J. KELLY NESTRUCK, OCTOBER 23, 2013 https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/arts/theatre-and-performance/nestruck-on-theatre/tartuffe-in-prewar-newfoundland-praise-be-to-andy-jones/article15020788/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com&
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