By MARK LINDSLEY
The University Players were finally able to perform the play “Tartuffe” from April 19 through April 22. It was a moment that the play’s director, Athos Vardouniotis, had been looking forward to.
“We had this show in mind for a while now,” Vardouniotis said, “but the plays are chosen based on who comes in to audition. When I saw who had auditioned this semester, I knew we had the right people for this particular show.”
Their production of “Tartuffe” was well worth the wait. The entire cast delivered one of the best performances the Russell Ratsch Theater has ever seen.
“‘Tartuffe’ is a classic comedy, a crowd-pleaser for hundreds of years, and I thought it would be a fun show to do that the audience would hopefully be interested in,” Vardouniotis said. “It’s a big, challenging play, but I didn’t doubt for a moment our cast could pull it off.”
The boisterous performances of FDU alumni Rob Cole and Jack Cymbryla really stood out, but were matched by the extraordinary costumes the cast wore.
“The costumes were done by Eva Lachur Omeljaniuk,” Vardouniotis said. “We were very lucky to have her. It was
definitely one of the most striking aspects of the show.” The audience was taken
by the beautiful set before their final performance of Tartuffe on April 22. The set was primarily designed and executed by Mila Momphotes, and her artistic acumen was on full display.
“Mila almost single- handedly painted the entire set over the course of a couple weeks,” Vardouniotis said.
“She was the very definition of a student choosing to get involved in campus life/ organization and really devoting a lot of time and effort to deliver the best result possible.”
The decorations and props were the last piece of the puzzle. They helped bring the costumes and set together to form one cohesive package that suited the play perfectly.
“Dr. Ellen Spaldo graciously agreed to return to University Players to help with set decoration and props,” Vardouniotis said. “She really made that set look and feel like a real home. I think it’s one of the best, most aesthetically pleasing sets the University Players has ever done.”
It can’t be emphasized enough how impressive the acting was. From Viviana Mata to Jillian Guarino, and all the Johnathan Millers and Abigail Strebigs in between, they truly delivered a showstopper.
This may have been the best possible cast to present this play, but you never know who could be the next Annabelle Reyes or Gerardo Melendez. In order for the University Players to be able to continue putting on great shows like “Tartuffe,” people have to come out and audition. Vardouniotis is encouraging more students to do so.
“The University Players has always been by the students for the students,” Vardouniotis said, “and as long as talented people come in ready to create art, I think the University Players will remain strong. I’m excited to see what the future brings.”