Visit Us
email us

Father Tartuffe: An Indigenous Misadventure is a hilarious reimagination/adaptation of Moliere’s Tartuffe set in Canada during Expo 67. The would-be victims of the religious fraudster are indigenous Canadians who refer to themselves as Indians at the time of our centennial celebrations in Montreal.
Playwright Herbie Barnes is imaginatively faithful to Moliere but also shows inventiveness in setting the play in a middle-class indigenous family whose father falls for Father Tartuffe’s hypocritical holy roller lies.
Orin (Sam Bob) works for Canada’s centennial bash in Montreal and lives in a well-appointed house with his family. He comes under the total control of Father Tartuffe (Aidan Correia), a fervent religious hypocrite who goes after Orin’s money, daughter, and wife.
Orin’s lively daughter Maryanne (Danica Charlie) is in love with the handsome Valant (Frankie Cottrell) and we are momentarily concerned that true love may be thwarted by parental interference and hypocritical lust.
Tartuffe has his eye and other parts of his anatomy on Orin’s wife Elise (Quelemia Sparrow, also co-director) and he makes a valiant attempt to establish contact with her anatomy.
Braiden Houle as Orin’s red-bandana-wearing son Dennis showed anger but no humour. Marshall Veille as Granny had an awkward time dealing with his lines at the beginning but was funnier in the end when he was allowed to crack lines about the rhyming couplets.
Cathy (Cheri Maracle), a statuesque friend of the family was effective and funny as was Samantha Alexandra as Darlene. Barnes adds another element to his play by making Cathy a feisty lesbian.
Barnes’ adaptation and his rhyming couplets are good and there are some very funny lines about Canada’s indigenous people. Cathy, a friend of Orin has one of the best lines when she snaps that she has not ceded her body yet. Correia as Tartuffe was energetic and could remove his clothes at great speed. His attempts to seduce Elise were full of enthusiasm.
But the production in general has a few problems. Most of the actors have problems dealing with rhyming couplets. The lines require speed, enunciation, and poetic diction that most of them unfortunately lack. Without the ease of speaking the couplets, the actors looked like they were trying to walk quickly through mud. The rhyming couplets should propel the delivery of the lines and the action. In this production it did not work that way.
Directors Quelemia Sparrow and Roy Surette have done much well but apparently could not solve the fundamental problem of the delivery of the lines.
The set by Ted Roberts showed a well-appointed middle-class room. The costumes and hairdos were appropriately 1960’s style.
The directors show some admirable inventiveness. One example is the position of Tartuffe and Orin on the couch as they express their religiosity. They twist and turn until they stop looking like God and Adam reaching towards each other in the famous tableau of the creation scene of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel.
How do you finish the play? Moliere had no difficulty wrapping up his play. Well, there is a modern and hilarious solution in this production which I will not reveal.
Father Tartuffe: An Indigenous Misadventure by Herbie Barnes based on the play by Moliere played until March 24, 2024, at the Granville Island Stage, 1585 Johnston Street, Vancouver B.C.

March 28, 2024
Cultural - Κριτική Καλών Τεχνών

Join Our Newsletter and Get the Latest
Posts to Your Inbox

No spam ever. Read our Privacy Policy
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.