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“The Liar,” an uproarious reworking of Pierre Corneille’s classic 17th century farce by American playwright David Ives, runs Nov. 4-8 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. in the University of Wyoming Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts Studio Theatre.
Tickets cost $14 for the public, $11 for senior citizens and $7 for students. For tickets and information, visit the Wyoming Union information desk or Performing Arts box office, call (307) 766-6666 or go online at www.uwyo.edu/fineart.
Directed by new theatre faculty member Kevin Inouye, “The Liar” is an ambitious undertaking. Ives’ translation and adaptation -- “translaptation,” as he calls it -- of the original French comedy for modern audiences is written entirely in rhyming verse, replete with shameless puns and clever allusions.
“I chose ‘The Liar’ before coming to UW, in part, because the dialogue alone makes for an entertaining evening,” Inouye says. “I’ve been fortunate enough to find a talented cast and crew that can explore with me a language of physical comedy to support the wit of Ives’ anachronistically playful verse and the comedic ridiculousness of Corneille’s plot.”
Called “the funniest play ever written” (Wall Street Journal), Ives’ verbal riot charts the exploits of Dorante, an incorrigible and dashing pathological liar who comes to Paris seeking pleasure, easily charming all who meet him with his tall tales. Before long, Dorante has fallen head over heels for the lovely Clarice, but mistakes her for her best friend, Lucrece. Add to the mix news of Dorante’s impending marriage, arranged by his father, and his trusty manservant Cliton’s propensity to always tell the truth, Dorante’s lies begin to multiply. But, can he keep them all straight and still get the girl?
Inouye describes the play as “a rare ordinance in today’s theatrical canon.”
“It’s set in a time between the worldliness of Shakespeare and the transcendent indulgence of Restoration theatre, fleshed out with modern sensibilities, but given voice through rhyming iambic pentameter,” he says. “It’s theatre at its most essentially theatrical, presentational, stylized and contrived in all the best of ways.
“I hope it will prove accessible to those intimidated by Shakespearean-style verse, being intelligent but not pretentious, approachable but not pandering, and as hilarious and fun to watch as it’s been to rehearse.”