Monday, April 06, 2009

Tartuffe at the Pearl

What I dislike about being a subscriber to the Pearl Theater is that it makes me realize that I'm not as literate (or literary) as I like to imagine. They put on classics that I haven't read and sometimes never heard of, which annoys me because as a know-it-all it is distressing to have to admit that I haven't heard of something. What I like about the Pearl's productions is that they keep the classics fairly simple -- no setting Shakespeare in modern day Ohio, for example.

Currently they are performing Tartuffe, the Moliere farce, with rhyming verse. Rhyming verse is very difficult to listen to because it's hard to focus on what they are saying rather than the upcoming rhyme. Therefore, a play with rhyming verse requires very skilled actors to break through that weirdness. Overall the Pearl troupe does a good job of it, though slipping every now and then. The NY Times did not give them a great review, citing among other criticisms, the sing-songiness of the speech as distracting. I think they improved after the review came out, as there was only some slippage here and there rather than everywhere.

However, I do firmly recommend this production. Unless you are a Moliere freak and have seen this play performed by the masters, it is completely enjoyable, a romp of a good time and well worth the $25 ticket.

And, as I am recording all manner of small-worldiness that comes along, last week's New Yorker profile of the twin poets Michael & Matthew Dickman, points out that they costarred in their high school production of Tartuffe, which is impressive mostly in how difficult I think it would be to memorize all that verse.

1 comment:

EV Grieve said...

This is good to know, Jill. We have considering seeing this... I've been the footdragger. Mrs. G is much more enthusiastic about checking out this production.