Theatre practicum: Tartuffe

In fall 2022, I worked on a production of Tartuffe as part of my Master’s degree requirements. The timing was excellent, as I was also taking a class on early theatre history and read this play as part of my coursework.

For a little historical context, Tartuffe is a French comedy written by Moliere in the 1670s and caused quite the scandal. The title character is a con man masquerading as a man of piety and dupes the head of a rich household while also trying to sleep with his wife. The Catholic Church of the 17th century strongly condemned the play and it went through multiple rewrites and an intervention from King Louis XIV in order to be staged.

The director for our production opted to set the play in the early 18th century. French female silhouettes in the 1670s were set low and off the shoulder, which would have made it difficult for our actors to raise their arms. Our director wanted a very physical production, so we shifted the timeline to give us costumes with a bit more movement. Plus, Baroque. It’s fun.

I mostly focused on the women’s costumes for this play and made the majority of the outfits for Flipote (grey and black ensemble), Madame Pernelle (black dress), Mariane (pink dress), and Dorine (blue dress). I also assisted with some of the men’s outfits as well.

For the women’s outfits, we leaned heavily on American Duchess Simplicity patterns. The servants wore Simplicity 8161 and the upper class ladies wore Simplicity 8578. All of the female characters wore shifts pulled from stock along with bum pads and stays made from Simplicity 8162.

Working with these patterns was a bit nostalgic for me, as I’d made the stays from 8162 for Cosmic Coterie’s Walpurgisnacht build in 2017. I’ve also been interested in dabbling with robe ala Francaise for some time, and this was a fantastic reason to deep dive into research and play with this pattern. After making multiple versions of this gown in barely two months, I’m eager to make one for myself! Don’t be surprised if you see me in a (few) 18th century inspired cosplay(s) in 2023!

Here are a few work-in-progress photos from the shop:

And here are a few final photos of pieces I made or assisted with on the actors:

Images pulled from DigitalCommons@Collin.

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