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The Liar: Featuring Sara Richardson

Sara RichardsonAs part of our Meet the Cast of The Liar Blog Series, let us introduce you to Sara Richardson:

ROLE: Lucrece, Clarice’s best friend

DESCRIPTION LINES OF LUCRECE IN THE PLAY:

I’m deserving of a first-class mate
As other women. Yet I stand and wait.
Because I’m silent–all right, call it nervous–
Most men just never see beneath my surface.

CAST QUESTION:

What aspect of playing Lucrece will most challenge you?

Lucrece is quiet at first, which can be challenging; but David Ives gives us a lot of fun clues about her later in the script to build upon. Fun friendship rivalries, colorful descriptions comparing her unflatteringly to sea creatures, a clear bookish bent and self-professed as ‘nervous,’ we are given a lot to play with in terms of character. These hints allowed us to find ways of showing her more ill at ease qualities in action–always fun in a farce, especially one with such playfully designed elements (thanks designers Eli, Abbee, Rebecca and director Doug!)! A challenge in a farce is also always to find the honesty in the midst of the absurd so finding Lucrece’s real sense of longing and unrequited love deep down, before making it laughable, is important.

It is a gift to get to play someone who experiences such terribly awkward moments and has to live through them in front of everyone–painfully, earnestly and repeatedly. I love it!

CAST BACKGROUND:

Park Square Debut Representative Theatre Jungle Theater: The Night Alive; Mu Performing Arts: You for Me for You; Pillsbury House Theatre: Buzzer; Torch Theater: Boeing Boeing; Theatre Novi Most: Rehearsing Failure; Gremlin Theatre/Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival: A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur Film Rough Tender; Per Bianca (Cannes shorts 2011) Training Ècole Jacques Lecoq Other Sara-Richardson.com

Shanan Custer, Sara Richardson, India Gurley and Sha' Cage in a rehearsal. (Photograph by Connie Shaver)

Shanan Custer, Sara Richardson, India Gurley and Sha’ Cage in a rehearsal.
(Photograph by Connie Shaver)

Area Premiere of The Liar - Park Square Theatre’s Proscenium Stage – September 9 to October 2

 

Two Stages, Sheer Fun

For many Minnesotan families such as mine, Labor Day marks the end of summer. There is a nervous excitement in our household as another school year begins. What will it bring into our lives? Surely, loads of laughter, tears; much clarity, but just as many misunderstandings; personal highs, and emotional lows. Life is like that–filled with drama, comedy and everything in between.

Excitement also runs high at Park Square Theatre as we begin our 2016-2017 season. This coming week, both our stages will be crazy-busy with marvelous, energetic fun. Park Square presents the area premiere of David Ives’ The Liar on the Proscenium Stage from September 9 to October 2; while Joe Chvala and the Flying Foot Forum complete their run of Passing Through Pig’s Eye from September 7 to 11, a roving performance that starts and ends at the Boss Thrust Stage.

Mounting the production of The Liar has been incredible fun for those who can’t wait to bring it to you live on stage. This summer, I have connected with many of the show’s actors and designers for glimpses of the mischievous world that they plan to entangle us in–a world of intricate wordplay, deceptive scenery, twisty plot and fast-paced humor. In the spirit of the show, individuals also shared their own funny stories about lying. (Be sure to read past blog posts and future ones about The Liar.) Everyone’s enthusiasm has been infectious, and I cannot wait to see this play.

The Liar in Dress Rehearsal

Last week, I brought my entire family to see Passing Through Pig’s Eye. We came not knowing much beyond the fact that we would learn some Saint Paul history but were absolutely WOWed by the inventive dance numbers and often gut-busting humor. All I can say is, “Go see it NOW before you can’t!” In my mind’s eye, I can still see those “crazy legs” of the loose-limbed gangster, tap dancing away in bright red shoes, and the hilarious image of a stage full of dancers holding dodge balls. I can still feel the adrenaline rush of watching anything-goes street dancing, followed by Joe Chvala and longtime Forum member Karla Grotting “dust up the floor” like those movie greats, Astaire and Rogers or Kelly and Reynolds. What hit my whole family hardest about the performance that night was the sheer joy of the dancers on the stage and on the street, having so much fun doing what they love most.

Passing Through Pigs Eye

The end of summer doesn’t mark the end of fun, just anticipation for more to come. Consider coming down to Park Square Theatre soon to share in the fun–our fun, your fun, sheer fun!

A Play on Words

Leave complications to our evening’s hero,
A lying genius, if a moral zero.
No, my announcement may be even worse:
Tonight our actors will speak in verse!
In case you hadn’t noticed that small fact.
We’ll speak PENTAMETER, to be exact.
And what the blank’s pentameter, you say?
It’s what I’m speaking now! On with the play!

— from the Prologue of The Liar

The wordplay in The Liar on Park Square Theatre’s Proscenium Stage from September 9 to October 2 is so profuse and requires such dexterity to perform that, in no time at all, the actor’s mouths will work up a sweat. The audience will be perched on the edge of their seats, wondering if the actors can pull off all those stunning verbal acrobatics.

The Liar itself is dubbed by playwright David Ives as a “translaptation,” which Ives defines as his “translation with a heavy dose of adaptation” of French dramatist Pierre Corneille’s 1643 play Le Menteur. Corneille himself had lifted the plot about a young gentleman who cannot tell the truth from (and in Ives’ opinion, vastly improved upon) a Spanish play. Ultimately, Ives did to Corneille’s version what Corneille had done to the Spanish play.

Ives made sure to retain the integrity of Corneille’s vision but also tweaked and tightened the characters and plot to fit more modern sensibilities. Where did the play drag?  What seemed outmoded for a 21st-century audience? Snip, snip; tuck, tuck; invent anew. Ives’ The Liar, in fact, has some newly fabricated characters and a totally different ending than Le Menteur.

What Ives emphatically did want to keep, though, was the playfully lavish language on which the comedic tenor of the play depends. In his essay “The Whole Truth About The Liar,” Ives describes how he’d come to that conclusion:

Corneille lived a generation before French classicism hardened into the severity of Racine, and he has the devil-may-care brio of the Baroque. His love of the world and of human life vibrates in every line. . . . My version would have to be in verse, just as it is in Corneille. The Liar is a portrait of a brilliant performer walking a tightrope for the whole length of the action, and it needs language to match.

So throughout the entire course of the play, one encounters what should be the most impossible rhymes.  “Ironic” rhymes with ____?  “Umbrella” with ____?  “Beguiled” and ____?

Well, I simply cannot say
Or give anything else away.
You’ll need to buy a ticket
To hear the wild and wicked wordplay.
(Psst–there’s even a kind of swordplay.)
So be sure not to miss all the fun
Of hearing some truly naughty p—!

— from the musings of Ting

And More Lies!

cast-the-liar-8-11

Cast of The Liar

Park Square Theatre’s 2016-2017 season begins with the area premiere of The Liar from September 9 to October 2.  Playwright David Ives’ laugh-out-loud comedy centers on the escapades of Dorante, a gentleman who cannot tell the truth, and his servant Cliton who cannot tell a lie.

In the spirit of the play’s hilarious premise, we asked people to share their own stories about lies with humorous results. The stories kept coming in:

When I was a kid, my mom bought my dad a smoker for smoking fish as her Christmas gift to him. He fished a lot, and we loved smoked fish. It was (and still is) quite expensive to buy but much cheaper to smoke yourself.

I knew my mom had purchased this smoker. It was a hard gift to wrap and would have been obvious as to what it was if it had been placed under the tree. So my mom hid it in another part of the house. Christmas Eve, after everyone had opened all of their gifts, my mom proclaimed that we were all done opening gifts, which was, of course, a lie. I think she wanted to prolong the secret and heighten the element of surprise!

I turned and looked at her and said, “No we’re not. Dad hasn’t opened his smoker yet!”

Whoops! My poor mom’s face fell, and I instantly knew that I had revealed the lie, and her secret/surprise was blown!

After a moment, however, everyone, including my mom, began to laugh about my faux pas.  My mom brought out the smoker, my dad loved it, and all was well. We still laugh about that event almost every year when we’re with my parents for Christmas!

——-

Here I am, sitting in the house my husband and I built with our own hands (and used to rent out), and it’s been almost 11 years since we lived here last.  All these memories keep popping up from when we were here and the kids were younger.  I also keep remembering funny (or not so funny) stuff my past tenants did.

One tenant, Eileen, was a real character.  I’m convinced she was a born liar because she would bluster her way around the truth to get whatever she wanted.  On the application to rent my house, she agreed to get the utilities in her name, “No problem; no problem.”

Soon after, she did her best to sell me on the idea of installing a wood stove, and it would save her money, keep her warmer, etc. I told her (several times) that I was quite happy with my propane furnace, thank you.  But over the next few weeks before she was supposed to move in, she kept working on me to get a wood stove.

Finally, before we were supposed to move out and she move in, I had the feeling to check on the utilities and found out Eileen had bad credit (oops), and the propane company would not give her an account.  At that point, my daughter and I started laughing. We did a big head smack–that’s why Eileen wanted that wood stove so bad.

——

One summer my niece had gone to the PRIDE parade and given me a glow-in-the-dark sperm keychain that she have gotten there. I attached it to my purse as a zipper pull.  One day an eight-year-old boy spotted it and asked me, “What is this?”

Without thinking, I said, “A glow-in-the-dark sperm.”

“A squirm?” he asked. “What’s a squirm?”

“No,” I said. “A sperm.”

“Squirm? What IS that?”

Then I caught myself and replied, “Oh, I meant a worm. It’s a worm!”

“Oh, okay. I thought you said ‘squirm’ and didn’t know what that is.”

A year later ….

The now nine-year-old boy was looking at the glow-in-the-dark sperm again and said, “I know what this is, and it isn’t a worm.”

“Really?”  I asked. “Then what is it?”

“It’s a tadpole.”

“Are you sure it’s not a worm?”

“I know what tadpoles look like,” he insisted. “And this is definitely a tadpole, NOT a worm.”

——

(If you missed it, go back to see the blog “Lies! Lies!”  And, yes, indeed–still more lies to come in a future blog!)

Can’t Stop Lying!

Park Square Theatre’s 2016-2017 season begins with the area premiere of The Liar from September 9 to October 2.  Playwright David Ives’ laugh-out-loud comedy centers on the escapades of Dorante, a gentleman who cannot tell the truth, and his servant Cliton who cannot tell a lie.

In the spirit of the play’s hilarious premise, we asked people to share their own stories about lies with humorous results. Here are three from an individual who wishes to remain anonymous.  Hmmm . . . wonder why?

Who's lying?

Who’s lying?

When I was 15, I went to see The Graduate with Hoffman and Bancroft. I was standing in line at the box office, and my buddy Ernie showed up. Ernie was twice my size and played lineman on the football team. I let him in line ahead of me. When he got up to the box office, a severe-looking old lady with pointed spectacles snapped, “How old are you?”

“Uh, I’m 15,” stammered Ernie.

“You must be 16 to see this movie,” she said.

And so Ernie was turned away.

I stepped up to the box office window.

“And how old are you?” she barked.

“I’m 16,” I lied boldly.

She narrowed her eyes at me and said, “That’ll be four dollars.”

I paid for my ticket and opened the door to the theater, looking back to see Ernie grinning and shaking his head at me. I waved and went inside. Mrs. Robinson was waiting for me.

——

When I was in high school, I never wore shoes during the summer. It was hot in my home town, and my feet toughened up over the summer.

So you can imagine my disappointment when school started and they passed a “no-bare-feet” rule. I cut the bottoms out of an old pair of sneakers and wore them to school. Hey, I had on shoes of a sort; it looked like I had on shoes, until I crossed my legs in class and flashed my friends with the bottom of a foot.

Hey, we thought it was funny. I could also twirl my reverse-flipflops around an ankle for extra yuks.

——

When I was in the 11th grade, I was buddies with a guy who always got C’s on his English papers. I usually got A’s.

One day, we got the idea to switch names on our papers; and, of course, the paper that I had written, with his name on it, got a C. The paper he wrote, with my name on it, got an A.

When we got our papers back, we compared grades; and he grinned ruefully and said, ” I guess I know what grade I’m getting in English this year.”

——

(If you’d missed them, consider going back to read the blogs “Lies! Lies” and “And More Lies”)

Lies! Lies!

banner-liar-960x480-8-11

Park Square Theatre’s 2016-2017 season begins with the area premiere of The Liar on stage September 9 to October 2.  Playwright David Ives’ laugh-out-loud comedy centers on the escapades of Dorante, a gentleman who cannot tell the truth, and his servant Cliton who cannot tell a lie.

In the spirit of the play’s hilarious premise, we asked people to share their own stories about lies with humorous results. The stories kept coming in:

When my husband plays Scrabble, he will invariably bluff with a nonexistent word.  BLOKY so the word with the high-scoring Y tile can earn double points. DOX with the X! He has gotten away with NEMO against a child opponent.

My husband doesn’t often get away with lying when playing against me, though. I know his tell: it’s in the lips–how he stretches them thin to suppress the truth (or a giggle).

——

I remember the story that my sister and her husband told about him making her pancakes when they were dating. She hates pancakes but lied that she loved them, so he made her pancakes for every breakfast. She finally couldn’t stand it anymore and had to tell him that she does not like  pancakes.

——

When my younger brother was in high school, he was an avid deer hunter. He told my sister he needed to get some Pine-Sol to use while he was out at the deer stand. My sister later asked me what Pine-Sol had to do with deer hunting.

I said, “Oh, there’s this new kind of deer hunting that’s really popular right now. What you do is, you sit in the deer stand with a bottle of Pine-Sol and wait for the deer to walk by. When it’s directly below you, you pour the stuff down into its eyes. While it’s staggering around, blinded, you jump down from the deer stand and slit its throat with a Buck knife.”

I was rather young at the time and assumed that she knew I was joking, but I apparently told her this idiotic story so matter of factly that she completely believed it (I suppose it helped that she was pretty gullible). For several days, she kept angrily coming back to the cruelty of this practice and my apparent indifference to it, and I was really enjoying her righteous outrage until she wrote a letter to the editor of the local paper, objecting to this barbaric practice. I confessed the truth to her before she sent the letter, which no doubt saved her some embarrassment. But I sometimes regret not seeing that letter in print.

For the record, hunters used Pine-Sol to cover up their human scent from the deer’s sensitive noses.

——

(Watch out for yet more lies in upcoming blogs!)

The Naming of Things

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Sha Cage and Zach Curtis in The Liar

As I was watching the final plays of last season, I began to wonder what effect would it have on audience draw and expectations if some of those plays had had a different name. For instance, despite its billing as a comedy/drama, did people think Sons of a Prophet would be a heavier drama, considering its title and central theme on suffering? What if the play had instead been called All Is Well, which was the invariably optimistic mantra of the Douaihy family throughout the play?

Coming up from September 9 to October 2 as the first play of the Park Square Theatre 2016-2017 season is the area premiere of The Liar by playwright David Ives. It features Sha Cage in the title role, Dorante, who just cannot tell the truth (as described by another character in the play: “This guy’s so slippery he’s a sea of grease”). In contrast, his servant Cliton, played by Zach Curtis, cannot tell a lie (his self-described “tragic flaw”). This juxtaposition of yin-yang characters and the awkward situations triggered result in an outright, laugh-out-loud comedy.

To me, The Liar seems an apt enough title for a comedy. Straight and to the point, it is devoid of adjectives, kept open with possibilities. It’s not called The Dirty Liar, for instance, with angry overtones, or The Silly Liar to limit its scope of humor. Nor does the play bear any of these other titles that may cause preconceived notions:

  • Untruthful – sounds like a sinister and heavy drama
  • Honestly!?! – too sincere
  • Dorante, The Liar – must be a tragic period piece
  • Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire! – geared toward a young audience
  • Liar! – potential ripoff of the 1997 Jim Carrey movie, Liar! Liar!

Titles do matter to spark initial interest to see a production. The Liar is a misleadingly honest title that denotes a mystery and a truth that you shall experience only if you come to see the play.

I wouldn’t lie about something like that!

 

 

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