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USM Department of Theatre opens season with sparkling and satiric comedy “Tartuffe”

Tartuffe postcard image

The University of Southern Maine Department of Theatre bursts onto the stage this October opening the 2018-2019 theatrical season with the comedy "Tartuffe" by Molière, translated by Richard Wilbur. The show opens Friday, October 19 and plays through Sunday, October 28. All performances take place on the USM Gorham Campus in the historic Russell Hall; the show is approximately 2 hours with one intermission.

As funny and sparkling as it is biting and satiric, Molière’s "Tartuffe" has remained one of the most produced and best loved plays of world literature. Peopled with a hypocritical zealot, a gullible father, lovers as tender as they are innocent, and a sassy maid, the characters in this comedy are as familiar as they are fresh and quirky.

“Tartuffe is a play that combines two forms of comedy still popular today. The play is both a satire, think “Saturday Night Live,” and a domestic sitcom, think “Modern Family” or “Black-ish,” said director Cary Libkin.

Theatre students rehearsing

USM’s production has a few twists and treats for the audience to enjoy. In addition to a few surprises in terms of the time period and setting, the audience will also be closer to the action. “As you enter the theatre you might be surprised to see that the space has been renovated and that the audience will sit on two sides of the stage. This style of performance space is called tennis court theatre. You get to watch others watching the play,” said Libkin.

For senior theatre major, Drew Masse, who plays the con man Tartuffe, the process of bringing his character to life has been an exciting one. “I love the collaborative environment. I've been developing my character, Tartuffe, with Cary since the beginning. Watching both of our ideas form into the Tartuffe you will see on stage has been very cool.”

Emily Grotz, also a senior theatre major, plays the maid Dorine. She says the greatest challenge has been adapting to the tennis court-style stage. “We have to make sure that both sides can see us, which is very new to us. I think getting to work on such a classic piece of theatre in college is such a valuable experience. We are rehearsing for a show, but it is still a learning process for us.”

rehearsalPerformance dates and times:

Evenings: October 19, 20, 25, 26, 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Matinees: October 21 & 24 at 5:00 p.m. and October 28 at 2:00 p.m.

A special school matinee for grades 6 and up will take place on Friday, October 26 at 10:00 a.m., reservations are required.

Ticket prices:
$16 for adults, $8 for students, and $12 for seniors, USM employees and alumni. A discount performance is offered on Wednesday, October 24, when all tickets are $8.

School matinee:
The USM Department of Theatre also offers a special school matinee on Friday, October 26 at 10:00 a.m. for grades 6 and up. For more information or to schedule your class, contact Outreach Coordinator, Janice Gardner,

For tickets and more information, visit USM Theatre online at, or call the USM Theatre Box Office at (207) 780-5151.

Those needing special accommodations to participate fully in this program, contact Janice Gardner at (207)780-5289 or  

Hearing impaired: call USM's telex / TDD number (207) 780-5646.