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BWW Preview: THE LIAR at Black Box Arts Center


If you enjoyed the movie Liar Liar, starring Jim Carey, then prepare for a hilarious evening of theater with a twist. The Liar, a comedy premiering at the Black Box Arts Center in Shepherdstown, features a main character who cannot tell the truth!

Directed by Laura Richards Bakin, The Liar is set in 1643 Paris. Dorante is a charming young man who just moved to the city, but has a major problem: he cannot tell the truth. He quickly meets a servant who cannot tell a lie and falls in love with a girl he mistakes for who he thinks is that girl's best friend! And it turns out, the girl Dorante falls in love with is actually engaged to Dorante's best friend! Add to all the confusion, Dorante still cannot tell the truth while his friend cannot lie, and you have the makings of a hysterical evening of misunderstandings and mis-truths!

Unlike a Shakespearean comedy, The Liar is not an often produced or performed comedy, and the cast had enjoyable and difficult tasks in discovering more about the show.

"The most challenging things were mainly just finding things to compare [The Liar] to, not only from a show to show standpoint, but a historical view as well. I saw the issues in the play stemming from, honestly, what the heart really wants versus what you were expected to do not only socially, but in a familial sense. Many of the marriages were arranged, and so it was a battle of "Who do you love?" in a way" said Maverick McKee, who plays Alcippe.

"The fact that [The Liar] is little known is hardly a problem. On the one hand, it frees you from the worry of measuring up to the audience's conception of your character from other performances and on the other doesn't leave you doing something bizarre just to be different" said Roger Hulme, who plays Geronte.

However, similar to many Sheakespearean comedies, "The Liar" is written entirely in iambic pentameter.

"My favorite thing about theatre is a well written iambic pentameter scheme. I was raised on adaptations of classic comedies, tragedies, and epochs so the language is near and dear to my heart. Couple that with such a warm, bright cast and an even more light-hearted script, and you have the recipe for a phenomenal iambic pentameter experience that normally isn't seen outside of a Shakespearean comedy" said McKee.

"For me, the biggest challenge of this show was that it is all in verse. I have not worked on this type of show before, so learning how to deliver the rhyming lines in a way that does not sound memorized was somewhat difficult for me. However, the fact that it was in verse really helped with memorization. I found that it was very easy to memorize the dialogue because of the rhyming" said Rhonda Markland, who plays Clarice.

"Adding to the pleasure is the script; reeling off these corny rhymes in iambic pentameter is quite a hoot" added Hulme.

The cast enjoyed working together to bring this rarely produced comedy to life.

"Watching all of these characters come alive and hearing the written words come off the page was enjoyable. We also spent a lot of time laughing during the rehearsal process. This show is hysterical!" said Markland. "Laura is such a warm, giving director and we all seem to get along well" said Hulme.

The cast is eager to share this comedy with a local audience this weekend.

"This show is hilarious. It will be two hours in which all the worries of everyday life can be set aside and everyone can just laugh" said Markland . "It is light and fast moving with delightful characters" said Hulme.

"I think the biggest reason people should take time out of their weekend to see this show is that, bottom line, it is funny. Audiences will hopefully be able to follow it as well as the most current romantic comedy that's playing at the movies. All of us in the cast and crew and at The Black Box Arts Center want to make sure that a night watching The Liar is a night well spent" said McKee.

The Liar also features Alan Harner as Dorante, Homer Speaker as Philliste, Kelly Pannill as Lucrece, Bill Taylor as Cliton and Ellie Jones as Sabine/Isabelle.

The Liar runs Friday, March 3 at 8:00 PM, Saturday, March 4 at 8:00 PM, Sunday, March 5 at 2:30 PM, Friday, March 10 at 8:00 PM, Saturday, March 11 at 8:00 PM and Sunday, March 12 at 2:30 PM at The Black Box Arts Center, 113 S Princess Street, Shepherdstown, WV, 25428. Tickets are $15.00 for adults for Friday and Saturday evening performances and $12.00 for Sunday matinee performances. Tickets are $8.00 for students at every performance. For more info, please visit

Photo Credit: Adam Blackstock

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