David Zarko Takes on Moliere's Tartuffe

Published on Mon, September 26, 2011

When asked why audiences should see Buddy Truffle, the upcoming play at Marywood, David Zarko, an adjunct faculty member of the university's Music, Theatre & Dance Department, did not mince words.

"I think hypocrisy is always topical," he said, explaining the theme of the play. "It is always around to look at, to comment on and to wonder about."

Buddy Truffle, inspired by Moliere's famous play, Tartuffe, is reimaged by Zarko, who also directs. Thirteen students from Marywood's theatre program will play characters in the production. It can be seen at Marywood's Sette La Verghetta Center for Performing Arts on September 30 and October 1 at 7:30 p.m. and October 2 at 2 p.m. Admission is free, but reservations are encouraged.

Twenty years ago, Zarko rewrote Moliere's Tartuffe. Considered to be a theatrical saint in some circles, Moliere—the 17th century French actor and playwright—is known for injecting his plays with verbal and physical comedy. Interestingly, Tartuffe was banned after its first performance, when secretive powers behind the throne objected to the play's suggestion that hypocrisy existed among the clergy.

Listen to David Zarko discuss Buddy Truffle.

Zarko reset Tartuffe in 1930's New York, reimagined as an American crazy-family comedy. Still, it wasn't easy to update a nearly 400-year-old production. Zarko says there have been some challenges.

"The actors and actresses need a certain kind of delivery and physicality," he explained. "And, frankly, people who are 20-years old or younger don't automatically know that stuff. To imitate it truthfully might be a challenge for them."

While in the midst of rehearsals, Zarko says the cast and crew are excited about the play and are looking forward to opening day. What's more, according to the director, audiences will enjoy the unconventional humor that is peppered throughout the production.

"It ought to be really funny," he said. "There is a lot of physical and verbal comedy in it, and the interplay among the characters is marvelous."

For more information, contact Patricia Purcell at ppurcell@marywood.edu or (570) 348-6268.