The Liar by David Ives, adapted from the comedy by Pierre Corneille

Texas Shakespeare Festival
Director's Program Notes

We live in an age in which lying seems ubiquitous. One needs do no more than read the daily newspaper, turn on the television, or scan the web to locate a recent account of mendacity that ranges from cheating sports figures and adulterous spouses, to dessembling politicians or celebrities privileging image over substance. In a country whose mythical forefathers were famous for “never telling a lie” and for being “honest,” it seems lying is everywhere in the land of Washington and Lincoln. And with such frequent deception, of course, comes a commensurate degree of moralizing and condemnation; lying is after all a bad thing, or so that is what society teaches us.

Deception and exterior shows were no less present in Pierre Corneille’s context of seventeenth century Paris—people desembled, cheated, and bended the truth then too. From the way they spoke and dressed to their code of manners and social customs, the citizens of neoclassical France were notorious for their mendacious behavior. Making a moral judgment about lying, however, is not what this play is about. Indeed, through Corneille’s lovable—if imperfect—title character, we see the distortion of truth as an art that lives in the hyperbolic realm of performance. Our hero Dorante, is an actor in the richest sense of the word, in that he wields on fantastically dishonest gem after another while entertaining us all throughout the process. His lies are deliciously constructed, almost like operatic arias, all of which contribute to a plot of farcical hijinks, brilliant wordplay, and comic hilarity. As David Ives states in his “tranplantation” of the Corneille original, The Liar is first and foremost “fun”. So please sit back, relax, curtail whatever judgement you may have about honesty’s virtue, and in the words of the evening’s hero: yes, the “truth must be told,” but “let lies be sung,”.

Cast & Design Team
  • Set and Poperties Design:
  • Jesse Dreikosen
  • Costume Design:
  • Emily Waecker
  • Lighting Design:
  • Tony Galaska
Cast: Andi Dema, Lea McKenna-Garcia, Jared Van Heel, Nick Hernderson, Aaron Johnson, Elizabeth Krane, Michael Pine, Alice Sherman

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