Skip links

Molière in South Africa

A wily opportunist, who affects sanctity and gains complete control over Orgon, a rich bourgeois who in his middle years has become a bigot and a prude. To the great despair of his family and staff, Orgon has been brainwashed into believing Tartuffe’s rhetoric, to the point where Orgon feels morally obliged to break off his daughter’s engagement to her greatest love, Valère, and marry her off to this impostor; banishes his son; and signs off his worldly possessions to Tartuffe in the interim. Orgon’s family and staff try as best as they can to make him aware of Tartuffe’s sinister motives, but it appears to be too late!

Who is Molière

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière (15 January 1622 – 17 February 1673), was a French playwright and actor. He is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. Among Molière’s best known works are The Misanthrope, The School for Wives, Tartuffe, The Miser, The Imaginary Invalid, and The Bourgeois Gentleman. Molière redefined French Theatre in the 17th century, becoming one of the greatest architects of social satire, and his impact can still be felt today. Working under the patronage and protection of the “Roi Soleil” (Sun King) Louis XIV, he penned thirty comedies in which he satirised the shortcomings of the French society of his era. He was extremely successful (to the extent that French is now called “the language of Molière”) but had to suffer censorship and arrest due to his accurate derisions and stinging truths.

For Sylvaine Strike, Moliēre’s Timeless Themes …

“ … Essentially Tartuffe the man, is parasitic. He has, with measured and considerable calculation, worked his way into Orgon’s life and has settled there, feeding off his kindness and generosity, and taking full advantage of his host’s apparent blindness to his destructive imposition. The image that came to me when imagining a setting for this play was a garden abundantly full of life which is gradually deprived of oxygen and sunshine. Setting Tartuffe in the plant filled conservatory of an estate allows me to explore the metaphor of the parasite or “oxygen thief” to its full capacity. A household whose characters are brimming with love and life is stifled, splintered and almost irreparably shattered by Tartuffe’s corruption. Costumed in delicate florals and summer linens, echoing the pre-war epoch of the ’30s, this unique vision of Tartuffe naturally promises the hilarity and poignancy of Molière’s satire at its best, as we witness the fragile ecosystem that is human kindness, at risk …”

Sylvaine Strike


Sylvaine is dedicated to nurturing young performers, designers and stage managers, encouraging them to showcase themselves within the work that she produces. Her established position in the South African Industry comes with the responsibility of producing theatre for a new generation, a challenge she is very passionate about. Sylvaine Strike’s work has moved hearts and minds since her first break- through at the National Arts Festival in 2002, when she directed and co-devised the runaway success Baobabs Don’t Grow Here. From these humble beginnings, critically acclaimed work continued to follow, earning her a list of award winning productions including: Black and Blue, The Travellers, Coupé, The Butcher Brothers, and The Table and more recently The Miser, Tobacco, CARGO:Precious, Agreed. She has also most recently directed Miss Dietrich Regrets and Travels Around My Room, both in 2015. Sylvaine was awarded the Standard Bank Young Artist for Drama in 2006, which re-enforced her role as the Artistic Director of the Fortune Cookie Theatre Company. The Miser, which won her the Naledi Best Director Award 2012, and Best Production of a Play 2012, put her on the map as a contemporary director capable of realizing inspired, re-imagined classical work. She has further been nominated in the Best Director category at the Naledi, Fleur du Cap and Woordfees Awards 2016 for her direction of the critically acclaimed Tobacco and the Harmful Effects Thereof. Sylvaine received the prestigious honour of being selected as the Featured Artist 2014 for the National Arts Festival. From May to July 2016, Sylvaine had the joy of working alongside IFAS and the Alliance Française to devise a play in commemoration of the centenary of World War 1. She created the acclaimed piece, Devil’s Wood, which played in the Holocaust Centres of Johannesburg and Durban and at the Lycée Français in Cape Town. Tartuffe is her 3rd Collaboration with IFAS and the Alliance Française in South Africa.

Craig Morris


Craig Morris is a versatile performer and educator. Craig is continuously involved in numerous corporate theatre productions as a physical performer and Classical and Contemporary Mime artist, script writer, director and Master of ceremonies. He has been nominated for the MEC Gauteng Choreography and Dance Awards numerous times and won the award for Best Male Dancer in a Contemporary Style in 2005 and 2008. Craig starred in A Species Odyssey and Sapiens, two French feature films about human evolution (the first breaking viewership records in France), and was the physical performance specialist and actor trainer on AO The Last Neanderthal, a full length feature film. Recently Craig completed shooting First Man, due for international release in 2017. Craig was also invited to perform with Cirque du Soleil. Here in South Africa, Craig has also starred in several Leon Schuster movies, and has appeared in several soapies and numerous commercials! He performs in Physical Theatre One-Man shows, Hero, Blood Orange, Die Annale van ’n Windgat and Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny at various venues in and around Southern Africa. He has collaborated with Well Worn Theatre on their Climate Action Play, called Pollution Revolution, and with Clara Vaughan on the ASSITEJ supported sex&ME. He won the prestigious Gold Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2015, for his performance of Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny. He was nominated for Best Actor in a Lead Role (Male) during the 2016 Naledi Awards and won for Best Cutting Edge production.

Neil McCarthy


Through the 80s and into the 90s, Cape Town born Neil McCarthy built a career in theatre; acting, directing and writing plays, based mainly at The Market Theatre in Johannesburg, and occasionally touring with international hits such as Born in the RSA and Black Dog/Inj’emnyama. His work, such as Stormriders, The Good Soldier Svejk, Mojo and The Great Outdoors, won multiple awards for both writing and direction. Notable performances include Othello, Another Country, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hedda Gabler and the title role in Richard II. During the 90s, his professional focus shifted to television, where he co-wrote the sit com Going Up, presented the first few years of magazine show Top Billing and was a creator and head writer on daily drama Isidingo. He has headed the writing teams on several TV dramas such as Mzansi, Gaz’lam, Umlilo and Rhythm City. In 2010, he relocated to London for three years, where he was a senior creative executive for TV production company Freemantle Media. Tartuffe is the first time he has worked on stage in a major role for several years.

Vanessa Cooke


Vanessa is an award winning performer and workshop theatre practitioner. In 1971, she met the director Barney Simon at Dorkay House in Johannesburg. Together with him, Mannie Manim and a group of actors, formed the Company and founded the Market Theatre in 1976. Vanessa has performed in over 50 plays and has won awards including Naledi Award Best Supporting Actress for Vigil 2014 and also for How I Learnt to Drive in 1999, Laughing Wild in 1989, Private Lives in 1988 and Gertrude Stein and a Companion in 1986. Vanessa is an exponent of Workshop Theatre and has been involved in the creation of South African plays such as Cincinatti – Scenes from City Life (1979), Born in the RSA (1985) and This is for Keeps (1986) which won a Vita Award for Best Production. In the early 90s, Vanessa started working at the Market Theatre Laboratory, the training and development wing of the Market Theatre. She retired from the Lab in 2008. In 1999, Vanessa won a Gauteng Arts & Culture & Heritage Award for Development Drama. Vanessa has performed in a number of films – most recently Ayanda and the Mechanic (2015) and has acted in TV series – most recently as Mama Ruth in Scandal.

Khutjo Green


Khutjo completed her Honours Degree in Bachelor of Dramatic Arts at Witwatersrand University in 2007. She majored in Physical Theatre, Writing and Performance. Khutjo’s professional theatre experience includes: Olive Tree, Broken Dreams Ityala Lomhlawulo (dir. Jefferson Tshabalala), Brer Rabbit, Eclipsed and Uhami Aji, a Dance-Afro Fusion Theatre Piece. She also appeared in Stories of the Future in Durban (2011) which had a run at SCI-Bono (2012), The Baobab (2014), Boykie and Girlie (2014) and Animal Farm (2014-2015). Her TV experiences include: Presenter for Africa Within, as well as Presenter, Researcher and Writing for Dumisa on Top Gospel. She played in two different TV Series: Skeem Saam in the role of Detective Ledwaba (2010-11) and Revolution between My Thighs. She also played in the film Catch a Fire directed by Philip Noyce. Khutjo Green was awarded with a Naledi Theatre award for Best Performance by Actress in a Lead Role for the highly acclaimed production The Line in 2013. Khutjo has since directed shows namely Democracy, which premiered at the National Arts Festival in 2014, as well as Lineage: Herstory as the official WSOA/DFL Production in 2015.

Camilla Waldman


Camilla completed a BA Drama and a Performers Diploma at The University of Cape Town. Thereafter, she joined the Jazzart Dance Theatre Company and performed with the company for two years, under the direction of Alfred Hinkel. Her work in the Theatre includes: The Yellow Wallpaper, directed by Geoff Hyland as well as Janice Honeyman’s Twilight of the Golds, Anthony Ackerman’s premier of Dark Outsider. She also performed in Howard Barker’s Scenes from an Execution and Kafka Dances – both directed by Clare Stopford. Moreover, she performed in Closer (directed by Sello Maake Ngube) and How I Learnt to Drive (directed by Barbara Rubin), Paul Slabolepsky’s Crashing the Night (directed by Megan Willson), Chekov’s Three Sisters (directed by Ingrid Wylde). Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear and Much Ado about Nothing remain highlights. Her TV work includes characters in Skeem Saam, Generations and Tempy Pushas (for SABC 1), Rhythm City (for ETV), Young Leonardo (seasons 1 & 2 for the BBC), Wild at Heart (Serie 5) and Binnelanders for Stark Films. Her film work includes characters in a South African feature film, While You Weren’t Looking. Most recently she joined the cast of Shape directed by Greg Homann.

Adrian Alper


His professional life began in 1988 with an acting role in the TV series Honeyball se Toere, which was followed in 1989 by his professional stage debut in a theatre production of The Owl and the Pussycat. From 1991 to 1995, he made breakthroughs as an actor, garnering recognition for TV series such as Young Vision, for which he was nominated for an Artes award in 1991, and Cuba and His Teddy Bear for which he received a Vita nomination in 1992. During this time, he also made forays into sitcom and soapies, helped pioneer the Afrikaans panto style ‘stofopera’ (dust opera) with Die Spook van Donkergat and Brolloks en Bittergal. He achieved some success as a standup and improv comedian as a founding performer at the Jo’burg Civic Theatre’s Comedy Bar and the resident comedy show Swopping Comics. Probably best known for his performances in Generations, Isidingo and Plek van die Vleisvreters, he was also nominated in 2016 as Tempo actor of the year for his roles in Sterlopers, Terug na Egipte and Munisipaliteit van Gwarra-Gwarra.

Vuyelwa Maluleke


Vuyelwa Maluleke is an actor and poet. She graduated in 2013 with a BADA from the University of Witwatersrand. She has been awarded from the University of Witwatersrand with the Leon Gluckman Prize in 2013 (to the student with the most creative piece of work). She has also been shortlisted for the Brunel University African Poetry Prize in 2014. Her theatre work includes Sexcetra (2011); Mamiki in Relativity (2012), Emotional creature – the secret lives of girls (2014), Ketekang (2014), and In Song and Memory (June 16) at the Market Theatre. Her TV work includes Sosha Shreds and Dreams (2014).

Anele Situlweni


Anele Situlweni graduated from UCT in 2006. Since graduating, he’s worked on numerous productions under different acclaimed local directors. Internationally, he’s been contracted by two repertory theatre companies as an in-house actor: Toneelgroep de Appel in Holland and Teater Nordkraft in Denmark. On both occasions, he appeared as a lead playing in English and the respective national languages of both countries. Local soap fans will know him from the popular Afrikaans soap 7de Laan. He’s most recent screen work was in Oscar winning Italian director Paolo Sorrentino‘s The Young Pope, alongside Jude Law and Diane Keaton. His last theatre appearance was in Six Characters In Search Of An Author at the Market Theatre, directed by Sibusiso Mamba.

William Harding

Mr Loyal / Officer / Flipote

William graduated from Witwatersrand University in 2011. Highlights while studying at Wits include being directed by John Kani in Othello (2010), and travelling to the Czech Republic with Greg Homann’s play Previously Owned (2009). As an actor, he is best known for his work with Sylvaine Strike, and is a member of her theatre company, The Fortune Cookie Theatre Company, as resident playwright. His theatre credits include: The Table (2011), The Miser (2012-13), CARGO: Precious (2014), Travels Around My Room (2015) and Coriolanus (2016). As a playwright, William adapted the highly successful Tobacco, and the Harmful Effects Thereof (2014-16), as well as working as dramaturge on The Cenotaph of Dan Wa Moriri (2014-16), and Travels Around My Room (2015).

Read more at: A Molière year in South Africa with the national tour of Tartuffe.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website.