Crowds guaranteed to cackle as acting students dazzle in debut production

Bachelor of Acting students received glowing praise from the playwright behind their rendition of Moliere's Tartuffe.

To the praise of renowned Australian playwright Justin Fleming, Griffith University’s third year Bachelor of Acting students are bringing a spectacle of wit, deception and comedic brilliance to the stage in their rendition of Moliere’s ‘Tartuffe.’

Playwright Justin Fleming joined rehearsals with Director Todd McDonald.

Directed by Todd McDonald, the playful and timeless tale of religious hypocrisy and blind piety premiers this Saturday 23 March 2024 at the historic Queensland Multicultural Centre below Brisbane’s story bridge.

Playwright Justin Fleming, who adapted Moliere’s satirical script, personally flew up from Sydney to review the production.

“What delighted me was not only the talent evident in the room, but the merging of Molière’s time and our time – the then and the now,” he said.

“This can only be achieved if the players deliver the narrative by landing both the idea and the rhyme.

“What I was watching was joyous energy pulsing through each scene, which under Todd MacDonald’s meticulous direction, creates riveting entertainment.”

Bachelor of Acting Program Director Jacqui Somerville said having an award-winning playwright travel from Sydney to Brisbane to see the students show demonstrates how their work is already being observed by the industry.

“The students are not studying drama or theatre, they’re studying to be actors in the theatre and in film, and third year is outward-facing focused as they become part of that industry,” she said.

Students bring a modern twist to the classic characters in Tartuffe.

“We’ve already got students out there working for major Australian companies such as Bell Shakespeare, and in television series.

“I’m gladly and gradually ticking off the list of hopes I have for my students after they graduate.”

Third year acting student Michael Probets said Griffith’s acting course has directly impacted his life, pushing him to places he never thought he could go.

“I have learnt so much, not just about acting, but about trying to be the best version of myself too,” he said.

“As I’m nearing the end, I’m looking forward to going out in the professional industry feeling confident in the abilities and tools that this course has given me.”

Mr Probets is playing the shared lead role of Tartuffe, describing the production as “animated”, “playful” and “raunchy.”

“Although Tartuffe is nearly 400 years old, what people need to understand is that behind the facade of the typical comedy of manners conventions sits a piece that confronts universal, key humanistic elements such as love, passion, greed, power, family and faith,” he said.

Mr Probets said the student cast felt extremely lucky to have the writer in the room with them over a period of 48 hours.

“It is very rare for older or established plays to have this chance, and so we definitely took the initiative to ask Justin as many questions as we could.”

Jacqui Somerville said the students have really leant into the comedy and heightened truth in the play.

Glowing remarks from prolific playwright Justin Fleming also attest to the cast’s comedic calibre ahead of their opening night.

“Laughter in the theatre is one of society’s healthiest indications that our sense of judgment is intact,” he said.

“When this judgment and this laughter can traverse four centuries of humanity, sustained by a robust collaboration between universities and theatres, we see clearly what we value: integrity, not hypocrisy; love, not tyranny; the blessing, not the curse; and spiritual beauty, not deceptive piety.

“The students got this, grabbed it, and ran with it.

“Molière would be as proud as I am.”

The Queensland Conservatorium’s Tartuffe runs from Saturday 23 March – 27 March. Secure your seats here.