‘The Liar’ Offers a Relevant Show Centuries After its Inception

Donald Lierman , Writer

What would it be like to be a pathological liar looking for love? I know, I know, just go to any singles bar and watch the hunters and the hunted turn on the charm and the lines. Think your generation invented twisted tales for l’amour? Well, some things just never change.

Don’t believe me? Well then check out the opening production from the University of Michigan-Flint Department of Theatre & Dance, The Liar. 

The performance, directed by UM-Flint Associate Professor of Theatre William Irwin, is translated and adapted to English by playwright David Ives. The Liar is based on the original, which was written by Pierre Corneille in 1643.  

The promo for the play states that in Paris, 1643, Dorante is a charming young man in search of romance with a dilemma–he is incapable of telling the truth. He runs into Cliton, a servant who cannot tell a lie. 

Soon, Dorante falls for Clarice, but in his efforts to connect, he starts weaving a deceitful web of lies. These concoctions cause him and those around him much grief as more and more deceptions lead to more and more mishaps.

Irwin chose The Liar not only for its laughs but its relevance.

“We’re living in an age of ‘alternative facts’ where lying now seems commonplace and a certain level of shamelessness seems ubiquitous,” said Irwin. “Due to this current culture, this play leapt to mind as we began exploring works to produce this season.

“The Liar is first and foremost a fun evening at the theatre. It is also a romantic rhapsody on love, lying and the absolute lunacy of life, both in 1643 and today. It is also a brilliantly constructed translation/adaptation (or what iconic American playwright David Ives calls a “transplantation”) of a French neo-classical farce.”

David Guster, a UM-Flint theatre performance and writing major, plays Dorante and is excited about the upcoming show.

“He webs these brilliant stories after finding himself in conflict and sometimes it makes you wonder if this silly man is an actual genius,” said Guster. “And although he has zero morals and is shamelessly dumb, he is a character you grow to fall in love with.

“The most amazing aspect of the show is that all the lines are spoken in Verse. The show gives the audience an opportunity to immerse themselves in this farce for two hours and walk out scratching their heads after thinking about what was a lie and what wasn’t.”

Performances will be held on Friday, Oct. 25 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 27 at 2 p.m., Friday, Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 3, at 2 p.m. The venue is the UM-Flint Department of Theatre & Dance auditorium.

To purchase seats in advance visit The Whiting’s website. According to the web page, ticket prices are regular $15, senior (60+) $10 and college student $8. For further information, contact Audrey Beauchesne at 810-237-6522 or [email protected].