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September 21, 2023

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Play to feature variety of personas

Fans of comedic theatre can get their fill in the coming weeks, as the Department of Theatre and Film is performing the 17th century French farce “The Liar.”

The play, written in 1644 by playwright Pierre Cornielle, centers around a pathological liar named Dorante who arrives in 17th century Paris and, through his intricate fabrications, gets himself in many less-than-favorable situations.

Evan Crawford, an actor in the play, said the play features fast dialogue.

“The tone of the play is kind of fast,” Crawford said. “It’s kind of intricate, if you think of the pentameter, where every few lines rhyme with each other, and it’s just really fascinating to see how the language just kind of works.”

Crawford plays the role of Dorante, and said his character is more than just a liar.

“Dorante is very conceited,” Crawford said. “He’s is just so into himself. It’s clear that he is very cocky and very creative.”

Crawford said that an audience can get more out of the play than just a few laughs.

“It’s interesting to see these characters shed that outer shell,” Crawford said. “We see them for who they really are.”

Over the course of the play, in a case of mistaken identity, Dorante falls in love with a girl named Clarice, who throughout the rest of the play he mistakes for her friend Lucrece.

Trina Friedberg plays the role of Lucrece, and said her character fits the blonde stereotype, which adds to her endearing quality.

“She’s the kind of person who reads all the romance and adventure novels and lives vicariously through the characters,” Friedberg said. “She’s the bubble-head who gets caught up in every fanciful breeze.”

Friedberg said audiences shouldn’t just focus on the liar, but also how people respond to him.

“The play relies a lot on not only the line the character is saying, but also the reaction of the characters around him,” Friedberg said. “You’ll have people onstage, that they’ll know a different part of a story, or a different truth and another story is being told and they’re like, ‘wait, but that’s not what’s happening.’”

Freidberg said throughout the play, characters begin to shed their outer personas, and become more honest in the process.

“There’s these great moments of honesty,” Freidberg said. “Shedding all these lies to get down to the bare emotion.”

Cynthia Stroud, adjunct instructor and director of the production, said the play is all about pleasing the crowd.

“It is very much about entertainment,” Stroud said. “What I think is so wonderful is that it’s a 17th century French farce, but the translation is from 2010, so it’s very modern, very today, with lots of goofy pop culture references.”

The preview night for the play was Wednesday at 8 p.m. and Crawford said it went well.

“We had a full house,” Crawford said. “It’s cool to be able to see the audience fold into [the story], and they really develop an attachment to the characters.”

Stroud said it’s a good opportunity for people so see a play they might not have thought about going to.

“It’s a period piece, but to see it in a new way that’s incredibly accessible [benefits audiences].” Stroud said.

The play will be performed in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre on Nov. 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23 at 8 p.m., and on Nov. 16, 17 and 23 for a 2 p.m. matinee.

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