Monday, March 15, 2010

Goshen College's spring mainstage play 'Tartuffe' to be performed March 19-28

The cast includes sophomore Emily Bowman and junior Josh Hofer (both pictured above).

View photos from the performance on Facebook »

Event: Goshen College Spring Mainstage Play – "Tartuffe," a classic French comedy by Moliére and directed by Doug Liechty Caskey
Dates and times:
March 19, 20, 26, 27 at 8 p.m. and March 21 and 28 at 3 p.m.
Location: Goshen College's Umble Center
Tickets: $8 adults, $5 students/seniors. For reservations, call (574) 535-7566 or e-mail

GOSHEN, Ind. – Conflicting allegiances, hypocrisy and the hunger for personal wealth at the expense of others are the issues at the center of the Goshen College spring mainstage play "Tartuffe," a classic French comedy by Moliére and directed by Doug Liechty Caskey, professor of theater and communication. The college's Theater Department will perform the play as part of this year's "Think for Yourself" season on March 19, 20, 26, 27 at 8 p.m. and March 21 and 28 at 3 p.m. in the Umble Center.

"It is more than ironic, I believe, that 'Tartuffe' is being presented at Goshen College at exactly the same time that we are discussing, debating and questioning our own personal allegiances, both individually and collectively," said Caskey. "At the moment, this is surrounding the college's recent decision to start playing the national anthem and offer a pray for peace prior to certain sporting events. We will be offering our own take on this ritual practice prior to each performance, but you will have to come and see the play for yourself to catch our version of this rhetorical act."

Controversy has been with the play since its inception in the 17th century, because the impostor at the focus of the play was posing as a member of the clergy, a powerful entity in France at that time. Tartuffe was first produced in 1664 but it was so violently attacked by religious groups as a burlesque on piety that even the tacit support of King Louis XIV was not sufficient to quell the opposition. Moliére had to rewrite the play two times, and it was not until five years later that he succeeded in getting it publicly performed in Paris.

The story takes place in the home of the wealthy Orgon, where Tartuffe, a pious impostor, has insinuated himself. Tartuffe succeeds magnificently in winning the respect and devotion of the head of the house and then tries to marry Orgon's daughter, seduce his wife and secure the deed to his property. Tartuffe nearly gets it all, but an emissary from the king arrives in time to recover the property, free Monsieur Orgon and bring Tartuffe his due. Duplicity is finally exposed, but not before Moliére has mercilessly examined the evil that people can commit in the guise of religious fervor, and the dangers which imperil those who would believe only what they choose to believe despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary.

"Comedy has always had the potential power to influence positive change in a community," said Caskey. "We can look at the ridiculous behavior of another and be appalled and humored at the same time, resulting in our own personal resolution to make sure we're not accused of that same ridiculous behavior in our own lives."

Goshen's production features original music by senior Patrick Ressler (Lititz, Pa.), who also serves as the production's assistant director. "I decided to arrange familiar pop songs from the 1980s to 2000s in a traditional Baroque style," he said. "Mixing 1660s France and current times together should communicate to the audience that the message off 'Tartuffe' is still relevant today."

The cast includes sophomore Emily Bowman (Millersburg, Ind.), freshman Sam Jones (Trail City, S.D.), freshman Vanessa Hofer (Dolton, S.D.), junior Josh Hofer (Dolton, S.D.), senior Angie Noah (Saginaw, Mich.), sophomore Billy Funk (Gallup, N.M.), junior Patrick Maxwell (Winchester, Mass.), junior Aaron Kaufmann (Tiskilwa, Ill.), senior Jenna Grubaugh (Delta, British Columbia), sophomore Stefan Kuhns (Tallahassee, Fla.), junior Peter Garry (Pahoa, Hawaii), junior Rachel Nafziger (Harrisonburg, Va.) and junior Haven Schrock (Minneapolis, Minn.).

Musicians include sophomore Elspeth Stalter (Iowa City, Iowa), junior Greta Breckbill (Stoughton, Wis.), freshman Chelsea Wimmer (Telford, Pa.) and freshman Justin Yoder (Perkasie, Pa.). Other production team members include senior Disi Diaz (Berwyn, Ill.) as stage manager, junior Meg Kennell (Roanoke, Ill.) as set designer, senior Doug Hallman (Lancaster, Pa.) light designer and hair/makeup design by freshman Clare Maxwell (Winchester, Mass.), freshman Rachel N. Mast (Corvallis, Ore.) and junior Deanna Cender (Goshen), while senior Kristina Mast (Corvallis, Ore.) is dramaturg (researcher). Jerry Peters is technical director and Laura Lerch Horst is costume designer. Assistant stage managers are freshman Sammy Rosario (Toa Baja, Puerto Rico) and freshman Breanna Ries (Freeman, S.D.).

Tickets cost $8 adults, $5 students/seniors and can be purchased by calling the Goshen College Welcome Center in advance at (574) 535-7566. The Theater Department has rated this play PG for all ages. Umble Center is accessible to wheelchairs and people with other physical limitations.

Editors: For more information about this release or to arrange an interview, contact Goshen College News Bureau Director Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or


Goshen College, established in 1894, is a residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college's Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron's Best Buys in Education, "Colleges of Distinction," "Making a Difference College Guide" and U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges" edition, which named Goshen a "least debt college." Visit

E-mail this story   |  

Goshen College
1700 S Main St
Goshen, Indiana 46526
phone: +1 (574) 535-7569
fax: 535-7660