Category Archive for: ‘Flora Lynn Isaacson’

The Liar–Fun Filled French Farce at Marin Shakespeare

Cat Thompson as Clarice and Darren Bridgett as Dorante in The Liar.

Marin Shakespeare Company is currently presenting The Liar by David Ives, adapted from the comedy of Pierre Corneille and directed by Robert Currier.  Featuring rhyming couplets, high energy and comic timing, playwright David Ives’ clever adaptation of this 17th century French farce was heralded as “a true comic gem” when commissioned and presented by Washington D.C.’s Shakespeare Theatre in 2010.  “It is neither a translation nor an adaptation,” according to Ives, “It is what I call a translaptation.  The play is partly a social satire about how lies work within a society, within love, how lies are woven into the fabric of things.  It shows how lies can feed love and actually create love.”

When the first few lines of Marin Shakespeare’s production of The Liar were spoken, Stephen Muterspaugh, who delightfully plays the role of Cliton, Dorante’s servant, begins the play in iambic pentameter, reminding the audience to turn off their brains and announcing the next two hours of the play will be in rhyme.

The Liar starts out with Dorante (Darren Bridgett), a young man just arrived in Paris who meets two women in the Tuileries in Paris whose names are Clarice (Cat Thompson) and Lucrece (Elena Wright).  He impresses them with his claim to have returned recently from the wars in Germany and boasts of the vital role he played.  After they leave, he decides to court Clarice mistakenly thinking her name to be that of her friend, Lucrece.  These two women have identical twin maids (both brilliantly played by Natasha Noel). One is a saucy promiscuous wench and the other, a straight laced puritan.

Geronte (Jarion Monroe), Dorante’s father, announces to his son that he has found a girl for him to marry (Clarice).  Dorante, wrongly believing that the girl he likes is Lucrece, concocts an outrageous lie that he is already married in order to avoid having to marry Clarice.

After more fabrications and complications, Dorante reveals that his “wife” is pregnant, and Geronte is infuriated to discover he was lied to.  Dorante eventually tells the truth and the play is resolved happily.

Robert Currier’s robust staging of The Liar whips past at high speed.  The whole cast is outstanding.  James Hiser as Alsippe, Clarice’s secret fiance, gets a well deserved applause for each of his scenes and Scott Coopwood, as Philiste, Alsippe’s friend, stalks about at various times carrying a book with various plays by Shakespeare, from Anthony and Cleopatra to Othello, Hamlet and As You Like It, during which times, the actors involved will be quoting lines from the plays.

The sets designed by Mark Robinson which take place in the Tuileries Place Royal and the Bois de Boulange are charming with square trees and have a pop-out book sensibility.  Award-winning Costume Designer Abra Berman has produced beautiful costumes from the Restoration era.  Billie Cox has composed original Parisian music to put us in the mood and Ellen Brooks’ lighting design is perfection.

To sum up The Liar boasts a sense of playfulness throughout and Currier has directed his expert ensemble cast with a great deal of style.  Go see The Liar, you’ll laugh and have a great time!

The Liar plays August 25-September 3, 2012.  Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday at Forest Meadows Amphitheatre, 890 Belle Avenue, Dominican University of California, San Rafael.  For tickets, call 499-4488 or go to www.marinshakespeare.org.

Flora Lynn Isaacson

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