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.”