The Washington Post Sunday - - THEATER -

Tartuffe doesn’t en­ter un­til roughly the mid­dle of the play — mid­day, in this scheme. Ser­rand and Dil­liard put a chill on this scene.

“You see how sud­denly the whole stage be­comes colder,” Ser­rand ex­plains. “A lot of the lights are dou­bled: There’s a warm tone and a cold tone, so you can switch. It’s the same pro­gres­sion in the day, but sud­denly it’s like there is a cloud. So it’s colder.”

Tartuffe lusts af­ter Or­gon’s wife, Elmire, and the fam­ily baits him into a se­duc­tion at­tempt so Or­gon can see the hyp­ocrite’s true colors. (The hus­band hides un­der the ta­ble.) Tra­di­tion­ally this is farce, but Ser­rand doesn’t flinch from call­ing it a rape scene. The stage dark­ens, with rain and light­ning mov­ing in.

Here the full height of the tall cen­tral door is seen for the first time.

“We’re still in a con­tin­u­ous cue,” Ser­rand says. “The panel with the sun goes up very slowly dur­ing the rape scene. The doors are huge. It changes the en­tire space.”

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