In an age when our leaders play loose with the facts
What a lark to return to a play from the past
That takes joy in exposing the fibs of a liar
And does so while setting our laughter a-fire.
Ethan Saks plays Dorante, a great teller of fables
On whom pert Clarice and Lucrece turn the tables
(Erika Strasburg’s the former, Sarah Silk is the latter,
and all three young acteurs knocked the socks off your Tatler).
He’s also “come-upped” by Geronte, his dear dad,
and Alcippe, an old friend, whom he makes very sad
When they catch him out on a lie that’s truly whopping –
And this leads to a moment – at least – of lie stopping.
There’s also Cliton, Dorante’s servant, whose quirk
Is compulsion to always be truthful, which works
Against him in wooing the maid Isabelle
(He blurts out the truth, and she gives him hell).
Isabelle has a twin, the priggish Sabine;
Philiste yearns for her, even though she’s quite mean.
(You must look below for the names of these actors,
Their phonemes won’t fit anapestic tetrameter!)
David Ives’ “translaptation” is a clever mashup game
Of modern and classic; Andrew Paul’s done the same
With souped-up Vivaldi behind the transitions,
Sly trendy shout-outs, and old/new appositions.
Kim Brown’s witty costumes take everyday Gap wear
Add lace and a cape and voila! we are there
In 1643, where fops fight in duel-ery
(albeit with 20th-c. light saber tomfoolery).
Do I tax with my rhyme? I’m no Ives, I confess
His vocab’s prolific, he pairs with finesse
words like “cuff,” “love”, and “Pont-neuf,” and quite unexpectedly
invents new expressions – for instance: “lace-ectomy.”
I love plays in verse when they’re done really well
And the Kinetic production is just nonpareil.
The acting’s pitch-perfect, the staging’s sublime
Go see this rare show, you’ll have a great time!
David Ives’ The Liar, adapted from the comedy by Pierre Corneille; directed by Andrew Paul. In addition to Saks, Strasburg, and Silk, the first-rate ensemble includes Sam Tsoutsouvas as Geronte; Patrick Halley as Cliton; John Michnya as Philiste, Alcippe’s friend; Julianne Avolio as Isabelle/Sabine; and the unsurpassable Charlie Francis Murphy as Alcippe. The versatile scene design is by Gianni Downs; Angela Baughman’s sound design provides modern mashup not only for the transitions but also for a gloriously antic duelling scene (staged by fight choreographer Michael Petyak). Lighting, by Cat Wilson, and props, by Johnmichael Bohach, also play prominent roles in generating the production’s comedy.