Adapted by David Ives from the play
by Pierre Corneille
Directed by Steve Tobin
Performance dates: January 16 - February 7, 2015
This sparkling comedy, fast witted and robustly-paced, is the story of a man who can't tell the truth, and his servant who can't tell a lie. Together, they roar into Paris and into the immediate pursuit of ladies they meet in the Tuilleries Gardens. Full of spicy banter, mistaken identities and passions running away with common sense, this timeless tale was originally written in 1643 in iambic pentameter. David Ives has updated it with romping, contemporary language still in verse. Audiences will be dazzled as the story bounces to its hilarious conclusions.
To download the production postcard for The Liar to share with your friends, visit the Downloads page of our website and look under the Production Postcard heading. A PDF of the playbill is also available in the same location under the Production Playbills heading!
About the Playwright
Pierre Corneille was born in Rouen, France in 1606 to a distinguished family of lawyers. He was an immediate success with the presentation of his first play, Mélite, in 1629, but this play and those that quickly followed were insipid romances that were the fashion of the time. Mélite's success and Corneille’s other poetry brought him to the attention of Cardinal Richelieu (of Three Musketeers fame), and in 1634, he was invited to be one of Richelieu's “5 Poets,” a group of dramatists established to realize Richelieu's vision of virtue through drama. Corneille chaffed at the restrictions that Richelieu imposed, and after his initial contract was up, he returned to Rouen. Corneille's career reached its zenith with his most famous creation, Le Cid (The Lord) in 1637. Originally billed as a “tragicomedy,” it was immensely popular and groundbreaking in that it stretched the constraints that the Acadamie Francais had imposed on what constituted a valid dramatic work. Corneille disregarded the required “three unities” of time, place, and action (a play should take place within 24 hours, in one geographic location, and have one plot-line), and in doing so created a controversy almost unimaginable to modern audiences – “The Quarrel of Le Cid.” Richelieu commissioned a special review of Le Cid, and after public campaigning that would rival any current election season (including accusations of immorality, slander, and betrayal), the Acadamie judged that the play, while popular, could not be considered a “truly, great and important classical” work. Furious, Corneille stopped writing plays for a while, but when he started again in 1640, his next four plays were all more “conforming” tragedies. He even attempted to rewrite Le Cid in a more traditional mold, with later versions labeled as a tragedy. With the death of Richelieu at the end of 1642, Corneille began to try again at pushing boundaries. This time, however, he started by writing his most famous comedy, Le Menteur (The Liar). Like Le Cid, The Liar is based on a Spanish story by Juan Ruiz de Alarcón y Mendoza that Corneille transformed into a comedy of manners. Corneille’s The Liar depends less on physical humor (as with Italian comedia) and more on wit, the absurdities of courtship, and Parisian life. In writing The Liar, Corneille invented the comedy of manners, which he described as “the portrayal of social intercourse among persons of good breeding.” Corneille continued to write plays for another 30 years, periodically going into “retirement” for a few years when a play received a bad review. In his later years, he was eclipsed in popularity by both Racine and Moliere and died in rather poor circumstances in 1684. Almost 200 years later, Corneille was “rediscovered” and acclaimed as the father of modern French theater, having produced its first great tragedy and its first great comedy. Today’s version of The Liar is a modern translation and adaptation by American playwright David Ives. Corneille and Ives seem to be a perfect match – classical post-modernists, if there can be such a thing. They both love words, absurdity, and human foibles. And The Liar seems to be the perfect catalyst for their collaboration. In Ives' own words: “The Liar is one of those plays that seem to be made out of almost nothing, yet end up being about so much…. It’s one of those plays that are both a view on our world and their own separate world, one that we would happily inhabit.” We hope that you enjoy inhabiting this world for a few hours.
- STEVE TOBIN - with acknowledgments for some content to The Ensemble Theatre of Santa Barbara and Anna Jensen.
David Ives is a contemporary American author with almost 50 plays to his credit. He is best known for his short comedic plays and for translations and adaptations of plays such as The Liar, a 17th century farce by Pierre Corneille. After college, Ives worked in a Hollywood bookstore, was a junior editor at Foreign Affairs magazine, and earned an MFA in playwriting at Yale. One of his early works was a short comedy, Sure Thing, which was part of the Colonial Players One Act Festival last summer. His first big success was All in the Timing, a presentation of six short plays that ran for 606 performances. He was nominated for a Tony Award for best play in 2012 for his comedy, Venus in Fur.
About the Director
Steve Tobin returns to The Colonial Players after a long 25- year hiatus. As a young upstart director, Steve helmed the CP production of a borscht-belt comedy murder mystery called Catch Me if You Can, and for the quarter-century since, Steve has been uncatchable -- focusing on family and work. Some persistent detective work by former cast members and The Liar coaxed Steve out of “retirement,” and he is more than thrilled to be back. Steve received his undergraduate degree in theater from Yale, where he studied with Nikos Psacharopoulos and Murray Biggs and performed in or directed over a dozen different productions. He did his professional acting apprenticeship at The New Jersey Shakespeare Festival under Paul Barry, where, in addition to numerous acting roles, he returned to be the assistant director for their nightly repertory productions of Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Directing credits also include Laura (Trinity Players), Pool Fever (Source), and staged readings of Lysistrata and The Birds at St. Johns College (where he also served as a directing mentor to the King William Players from 2003- 2007). Favorite past (very past) acting roles include Ken Harrison in Whose Life is it Anyway?, John Merrick in The Elephant Man, Florizel in The Winter's Tale, Peter in Diary of Anne Frank, and Reynaldo/Gravedigger in Hamlet. In his spare time, Steve enjoys making awful puns, being with his family, and writing about himself in the third person.
What a wonderful and exhilarating experience it has been to come back to CP after all of these years. A homecoming and reunion in my backyard. And all it took was The Liar on the slate and an invitation from Darice Clewell to come back and check out CP again – that, and the stars and schedules aligning for the first time in years! The Liar represents in one package two of my theater passions: classical theater and Catskills humor. Corneille and Ives have given us a gift for the lovers of language and laughs. Many people think that CP has taken a risk in producing a verse translation of a classical piece – but I don't think so, and I am grateful for their choice and their trust in me. I have never understood why many people are put off by verse plays. Maybe it's because we were forced to READ Shakespeare in school, instead of EXPERIENCING it on the stage. There is such fun in plays like this. They are not “deep”; they are not “THEATRE.” They are funny, silly, and entertaining. They are as enjoyable as Sid Caesar, Mel Brooks, and Carl Reiner. Don't think of Corneille as “classical.” Think of him as the 371-year-old man (apologies Mel). In any case, I hope that this production leads to bringing back more of the “classics” to East Street. I want to thank the cast and crew for their hard work and dedication. Words are important – whether they are from the script or from the heart -- and my words cannot do justice to their efforts. And finally, I want to thank my family – Joanna, Diana, Mary Frances, Mom, Dad, and Jeannie – for all they have given me. Their inspiration, patience, understanding, wisdom, and love make everything I do possible.
Seth Clute (Alcippe) - Seth is delighted to return to The Colonial Players after a brief absence for deployment overseas. He was in two plays in the 2012 Colonial Players One Act Festival and also played Barnette Lloyd in Crimes of the Heart at Dignity Players in 2012. When not acting, Seth manages operations for Monumental Helicopters, a tour company for Annapolis and Baltimore. On weekends, he is a Medevac Company pilot and platoon leader for the Maryland Army National Guard. "I would like to thank my family and friends for their love and support. I couldn't have made it without them."
Rebecca Ellis (Lucrece) - Rebecca is thrilled to be back in-the-round at The Colonial Players. Originally from Chicago, she received her BFA in acting from Northern Illinois University. Since moving to Maryland, Rebecca has appeared on area stages with Rep Stage (Hanna, A Shayna Maidel), Bay Theatre Company (She, Here We Are), Quotidian (Chris, Dancing at Lughnasa), and Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (Ophelia, Hamlet; Margery Pinchwife, The Country Wife; Celia, As You Like It) among others. At CP, Rebecca appeared in Hay Fever, The Trip to Bountiful, A Shayna Maidel, and Rebecca. She will portray Clara Bow in the upcoming The Clara Bow Project with LiveArtDC.
Fred Fletcher-Jackson (Dorante) - Fred absolutely despises being a part of this show. See? He's been practicing. This is his second show with The Colonial Players after playing Pfc. Louden Downey, one of A Few Good Men. Other favorite roles include Sir Robin in Monty Python's Spamalot (Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre), Andrew Rally in I Hate Hamlet (Pasadena Theatre Company), and the Jester in Once Upon a Mattress (twice, with UMBC's Musical Theatre Club and at Children's Theatre of Annapolis). He's a senior at The University of Maryland, Baltimore County, studying theater with a minor in writing. “A huge thank you to lawyers everywhere for being my biggest inspiration for this part and to the cast and crew, my wonderful family, friends, and especially the three J's.”
Ethan Goldberg (Phileste) - Ethan is ecstatic to be back with Colonial Players. His previous roles here include Cpl. Jeffrey Howard in A Few Good Men and Jan Warrick in The Unexpected Guest. He has been seen in other roles in Maryland such as Geoffrey in Something’s Afoot at 2nd Star Productions, Sir Bors in Spamalot at Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre, Paul Mann in Rent at Laurel Mills Playhouse, and Lt. Brannigan in Guys and Dolls and Old Man Strong in Urinetown, both at Anne Arundel Community College. Ethan loves this theater, and for some strange reason they keep inviting him back to do what he loves. He loves this cast and dedicates this show to his little sister Brooke, whom he loves and is so proud of. "Love you Goldberg. You amaze me with your talent and charm!"
Natasha Joyce (Clarice) - Natasha previously choreographed Annie and Company at The Colonial Players and is thrilled to return this season, this time on the stage! Her most recent roles include Rona in Terrapin Theatre Troupe's production of Spelling Bee and Nurse Tate in The University of Ghana's production of It Runs in the Family. Natasha is a senior Theatre Performance major at the University of Maryland. This spring, she will perform in the university’s mainstage production of The Human Capacity. She would like to thank her loving and supportive family, friends, and, of course, the hilarious cast and crew of The Liar.
Nicole Musho (Stagehand Michelle) - Nicole is excited to be involved in her first show with The Colonial Players. She recently moved from the Philadelphia area, where she was involved in theater productions all through high school, and is greatly enjoying getting to know the Annapolis area. Nicole recently graduated from Washington College, where she studied Spanish and International Studies and acted in a variety of stage productions such as Monologues from the Edge, The Imaginary Invalid, Where is Smeesh?, and Thoughts. Nicole loves to travel and spent a year studying in Spain and traveling throughout Europe. She also spent about three weeks in Santiago, Chile. Nicole hopes to continue getting to know the Annapolis area and taking advantage of the many theater opportunities it provides.
Marc Rehr (Geronte) - Marc Rehr has, for many years and ways appeared in, oh so many plays, in cities, burgs, and towns of yore, from Washington to Baltimore. With this production of The Liar, he hopes, and does indeed aspire to make his Colonial Players debut a happy experience for all who view our little play. And let us say he'll play his part as best he can; with all his heart. of all the good shows and bad shows he's rehearsed He'd like to add, "This one is verse!!!!!!!!!"
Jeff Sprague (Cliton) - Jeff is happy to once again be on the stage at The Colonial Players. He has performed in several plays and musicals here, with favorite roles including John Adams in 1776; multiple characters in I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change; and the Ratcatcher (et al) in Kindertransport (2007 WATCH Award recipient). Other favorite roles include Edna Turnblad in Hairspray and Dr. Bruce Flaherty in Blue/Orange. Outside of acting, Jeff recently directed the 2014 production of A Few Good Men as well as the 2010 one-act play, Botticelli. By day, Jeff is an attorney in Washington D.C. He sends his thanks to the cast and production team, and sends his love to his beautiful wife, Kathleen. Enjoy!
Sarah Wade (Sabine / Isabelle) - Sarah is very pleased to join the cast of The Liar. She was just seen at CP as the Charwoman in A Christmas Carol, and portrayed Catherine Donahue in last season’s These Shining Lives. Prior to that, she had the pleasure of performing at Dignity Players as Lisa Morrison in Collected Stories. Other roles at CP include the Star to Be in Annie, Jessica in Communicating Doors, and Kitty in Taking Steps. At Compass Rose Theater, she appeared as Bet and the Strawberry Seller in Oliver! and was sound designer for their productions of The Miracle Worker and To Kill a Mockingbird. She would like to thank Lois Evans and Carol Cohen for teaching her so much, Eric for everything, and her friends and family for always understanding that, "I can't, I have rehearsal.".
Mike Winnick (Stagehand Michele) - This is Mike's premiere performance with The Colonial Players, and he couldn't be more excited to be a part of this production. He is a new Annapolis inhabitant and has been exploring the theater scene since he arrived. He has some high school theater experience and is happy to take his involvement to the next level with The Liar. He would like to thank his wonderful girlfriend for her support and her help writing this bio. He would also like to thank his parents for putting up with him.
The Production Staff
Alex Brady (Lighting Designer) Alex has been designing lighting in Annapolis and Baltimore since 2002. Over the last 15 years, he has worked with diverse companies including Everyman Theater, the Annapolis Opera, the AACC Dance Company, and The Colonial Players. His recent production credits include These Shining Lives at CP, SHOUT! at Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre, and Running Amuck with the AACC Dance Company. He is a proud alumnus of the Graduate Institute at St. John's College and also teaches for the Humanities Department at Anne Arundel Community College. In his spare time, Alex enjoys studying and fighting with several medieval and colonial weapon systems.
Dave Carter (Assistant Director) Dave is excited to be involved in his second season with The Colonial Players after directing a play in the July One Act Festival. He appeared last season in Communicating Doors and These Shining Lives, which was first runner-up for best play for the 2014 Ruby Griffith Award. He was most recently seen as Cdr. Walter Stone in A Few Good Men. Dave feels quite honored to have been asked to assistant direct such a wonderful show as The Liar. Not only is farce his favorite theater genre, but he enjoyed being able to work under Steve Tobin and learn from such an accomplished director. Dave especially thanks his family and friends for their support and understanding as he reclaims his passion for theater.
Barbara Marder (Producer) Barbara has been associated with The Colonial Players for more than 25 years. She has served on the board as Education/Special Projects Director and on a variety of committees, including Play Selection Promising Playwrights Play Selection, as a play consultant for several short plays, and as producer for last season’s These Shining Lives. She directed Taking Steps, Splendour, and a full-length rehearsed reading of the Promising Playwright winning script Coal Creek. Barbara retired as chairman of Performing Arts at Anne Arundel Community College, where she directed a large variety of plays and musicals over a 35-year career. Additionally, she has served as an adjudicator for the American College Theatre Festival for many years, as a board member of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and as a theater panelist for the Maryland State Arts Council. Currently, she enjoys working part time as a standard patient and role player for local medical schools.
Ernie Morton (Stage Manager) After stage managing A Few Good Men and the summer One Act Festival This or That last year, Ernie is excited to be working again at CP on The Liar with this amazing production staff and cast. Ernie’s last appearance on the stage was as Dr. Josiah Bartlett in 1776. He would like to thank Steve and Barbara for inviting him on this marvelous journey and teaching him so much. He sends his love to Lyana, Sam, and Gwen, and special thanks to Gwen for introducing him to the wonderful world of Colonial Players, much to her lasting regret.
Emily Parry (Properties Designer) Emily is proud to be working on her second show at The Colonial Players after stage managing Communicating Doors last year. A multi-theater veteran and a full-time student at Anne Arundel Community College, she is happy that she can devote her time to the hobbies she loves. Props are a new experience for Emily, but she loves and lives to learn. She is grateful to her cast and crew for their talent and support. She also extends a special thank you to her husband, David, for all of his love and patience. Enjoy the show.
Linda Swann (Costume Designer) Linda is happy to be back working amongst some truly fantastic people. Past favorites for costuming include Les Liaisons Dangereuses with CP, Hello, Dolly! with 2nd Star Productions, Into the Woods with ASGT, and Camelot with 2nd Star, for which she won a WATCH Award. When not costuming, she spends her time teaching middle school reading and language arts, singing with the Boogie Knights, and attempting to keep her house clean. She’d like to thank the cast and crew for putting up with her, God for giving her the passion to play dress up with living dolls, and her husband for putting up with theater laundry being done before his. Enjoy the show!
Krisztina Vanyi (Set Designer) Krisztina started working with CP this summer as a floorpainter/designer/prop builder for the 2014 One Act Festival. After assisting the lighting designer for Rocket Man and also assisting the set designer of A Few Good Men (hurray for Terry for both!), she makes her debut as set designer for this show. She enjoys every minute of creative work and is forever grateful for all the mentoring and friendships joining CP brought into not only her life but also into her incredibly talented daughter's life (love you Cseni!). CP is home, and the people here are all one family working on spreading the joy of live theater. It is great to belong to such a wonderful community!