J. B. P. Molière


7. 10. 2024 I 17.00


Europe’s most famous comedian, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin Molière (1622–1673), was a child of the golden age of classical theatre in France under the reign of the Sun King Louis XIV. Molière’s work represents the pinnacle of classical French comedy, which is dominated by character comedy. With his ideas, he destroyed mediaeval feudal moral concepts and also criticised the mistakes and prejudices of the bourgeoisie. With his fight for naturalness, reason and tolerance, he was one of the pioneers of the Enlightenment. The comedy Tartuffe was written during Molière’s most productive and philosophically profound creative period (it is indirectly related to the comedies Don Juan and The Misanthrope). Over the years (and centuries), the name Tartuffe has become a universal archetypal expression for duplicity, hypocrisy and injustice, existing in specific forms in all environments and times.

After almost sixty years, Tartuffe returns to the stage of Maribor Drama under the direction of Diego de Brea, one of the most successful Slovenian directors of the middle generation with a recognisable stage aesthetic. In an interview with dramaturg Maja Borin, he said that Tartuffe raises one of the central questions of today’s world, which has lost all value systems: It is about the “blind faith” that a disoriented person seeks through various “coaches” or psychagogues. Tartuffe uses the language of “heaven”, which refers to the highest truth, and does not sell his idea compulsively, as many do today – from healers, charlatans, shamans to new diets, a new way of life, “ten steps to happiness”, etc. Orgon also believes that his “religion” is an absolute truth, not only for himself, but also for his family. In his infantile delusion, he goes so far that he is prepared to sacrifice absolutely everything at the expense of his psychiatrist. Orgon’s intensity and fanaticism push the matter into the realm of extreme tragedy: to show or prove how he has arrived at this new state of “enlightenment”, he banishes his son, gives Tartuffe a house, offers him an already engaged daughter and finally his own wife… But unlike Orgon, Tartuffe is never the doer or the initiator. Orgon himself opens all the doors for him. And that raises the question: Why did not Tartuffe accept the offer? “What can we accuse Tartuffe of? Of course, we can accuse him of being meek and humble, but who of the people around him is meek and humble? And who of them would not accept it if it were offered to them in this way? Without all this pathology, one cannot engage with this text. This also means that there is no Tartuffe without the society that makes a Tartuffe possible. So, without Orgon there is no Tartuffe and without us there is no such blind faith. Our goal would be to develop an inner awakening, which is extremely difficult, so it is easier to take shortcuts that do not require self-reflection.”

In her article Tartuffe as the equivalent of a certain historical moment, Ana Perne vividly describes the path that Tartuffe had to travel from its première, through the banning of the performance and the final adaptation of the text, to becoming one of the most performed dramatic works in the world. The article concludes with the thought: “If Molière’s orientation had not been comedic and if he had not felt obliged to flatter the king after the experience of the performance ban, Tartuffe might have turned out differently. With the unexpected resolution of the plot (a decree by the king intervenes as a deus ex machina and thus prevents Orgon’s collapse), the playwright has created an additional interpretative challenge. Is the “ship of fools” safely anchored (again)?

Translated by Benjamin Virc


Mon, 7. 10. 2024 17.00
Tue, 8. 10. 2024 17.00
Thu, 10. 10. 2024 19.00
24. 2. 2024,
Fran Žižek Hall

We invite you to see