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Friday, August 22, 2014
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Published: Thursday, 2/27/2014

PEACH WEEKENDER

Confusion makes for fun in 17th-century comedy

BY SUE BRICKEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
On Sunday  the River Raisin Centre for the Arts in Monroe presents ‘The Wonder Bread Years.’ On Sunday the River Raisin Centre for the Arts in Monroe presents ‘The Wonder Bread Years.’
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Dorante, a rich, attractive young gentleman who is the main character in The Liar, the Village Players’ new show, is a man of many words. Unfortunately, few of them are true. Dorante is a compulsive liar, and that is where the fun begins.

The comedy was written in 1643 by French dramatist Pierre Corneille. It got a fresh perspective when it was adapted in an English translation by David Ives for the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, where it was presented in 2010. The Village Players’ production begins March 7.

Dorante’s issues with the truth make for a complicated but funny plot: Dorante, who arrives in Paris in the middle of the 17th century, is looking for romance; at the same time, his father, Geronte, is looking for a bride for his son. Before long, Dorante meets Cliton, a servant who cannot tell a lie, which can only complicate things. Dorante soon falls in love with Clarice, a young woman whom he mistakes for her friend, Lucrece, who actually is in love with him. In another complication for Dorante, Clarice is secretly engaged to his best friend, Alcippe. And his father wants Dorante to wed Clarice, who, you may recall, the young man thinks is Lucrece.

In a 2010 interview with NPR’s Robert Siegel, Ives said he had been unfamiliar with the play, but was intrigued after reading it. “Well, I had never heard of The Liar nor had my agent nor had any of my friends in the theater. So, I presumed that this was some dreary unknown hammer-handed play from the 17th century and in French. But I have to say that when the Shakespeare Theatre sent it to me, I was absolutely delighted by this play. And I wasn’t 15 pages in before I knew that I had to do it.”

“One of the most appealing aspects of The Liar, and what drew me to it, was the translation by David Ives,” Village Players director Barbara Barkan said in an email. “Ives is known for his one-act comedies and offbeat sense of humor. Combined with the style of the comedia del arte of 17th century France, this translation proved to be as much a challenge as it is great fun. Mixing the very contemporary style of Ives and the traditional period style gave the cast and me the opportunity to bring to the community an unusual and very accessible piece of theater. ”

The producer of the Village Players production is Chris Jagodzinski, and Debbie Marinik is stage manager. The cast features David Engel as Geronte, Evan James Copeland as Cliton, Jon Masters as Dorante, Nathan Naugle as Alcippe, Matthew Johnson as Philiste, Sarah Hammye as Isabelle, Debbie Altman as Lucrece, Megan Guidry as Clarice, and Jamie Ramlawi as Sabiean.

“The Liar” will be performed by the Village Players at 2740 Upton Ave.; March 7 and 8 at 8 p.m., March 13, 14, and 15 at 8 p.m., March 16 at 2 p.m., and March 20, 21, and 22 at 8 p.m. Tickets, $16-$12, are available from 472-6817 or thevillageplayers.org.

 

‘Father of the Bride’

Father of the Bride, another comedy spiced with romance, opens tomorrow at the Croswell in Adrian.

The play centers on the Banks family, who are surprised when daughter Kay announces her engagement to Buckley, a young man they have never met. Buckley wants a small wedding, just Kay, himself, and the preacher. But Kay and her mother have other ideas. As the guest list grows along with the bills, the father of the bride rebels, prompting Kay to impulsively call off the wedding. It’s up to dad to smooth things over.

The Croswell cast includes Mark Hyre as the father, Mr. Banks; Julianne Dolan as his wife, Liz Baugh as Kay, Philip Baugh as Buckley, Jacob Hyre as Kay’s brother Tommy, Kyle Krichbaum as her brother Ben, and Kaitlyn Park as Ben’s girlfriend, Peggy. The director is Eric Parker.

“Father of the Bride” will be performed tomorrow and Saturday and March 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m., and March 9 at 2:30 at the theater, 126 East Maumee St., Adrian. Tickets range from $35 to $15; Heritage seats are $35 and come with access to the Croswell’s Heritage Room one hour prior to curtain, where free snacks and a cash bar are available. Call 517-264-7469, go to www.croswell.org, or stop in at the theater's box office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

 

Just for fun

On Sunday at 3 p.m. the River Raisin Centre for the Arts, 114 S. Monroe St. in Monroe, presents The Wonder Bread Years, a comedic salute to Baby Boomers and growing up in the 1950s and ’60s, in a one-man show starring Pat Hazell. Tickets $29-$15 at 734-242-7722, the box office, or www.riverraisincentre.org.

Send theater items to sbrickey@theblade.com.



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