Theater: A God of Common Sense

Tartuffe is a black, bitter and biting comedy. At Lincoln Center's off-Washington Square theater, it is being presented as a broad and bouncy farce. Since this repertory group is a learn-while-you-earn company, the pay-as-you-go spectator should not be unduly surprised at still another miscarriage of esthetic justice. The amusing thing about an endeavor of this sort is that it flatters playgoers that they are breasting the cultural deeps, while the production itself merely dips its toes in a dramatic masterpiece.

Fortunately, a toe-deep sampling of Molière is worth a skullful of most playwrights....

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