Show offers proof that lying never goes out of style

Show offers proof that lying never goes out of style

Boston Globe – January 7, 2018
By Lenny Megliola
 GLOBE CORRESPONDENT

WELLESLEY — It’s just by happenstance that the Wellesley College Repertory Theatre is presenting “The Liar” at a time when lying has become a fibbin’ plague in America.

We don’t know whom to believe anymore, from the White House on downIt’s something to get angry about, and we have.

It’s not really a fad. People have been lying forever. It was in the 17th century that Pierre Corneille scripted “The Liar.” The play’s a French farce, made for laughs. This fast-talking liar is named Dorante, a charming young man who, the story goes, is incapable of telling the truth.

Dorante falls in love with a young woman, whom he mistakes for her friend. The lies — and the laughs — come fast and furious.

Marta Rainer of the Wellesley College Theatre Studies Department is directing the play. The irony of the title hasn’t escaped her. “We’re all craving the truth,” she said, “and I think we all need a laugh right now.”

The play opens Jan. 12 at the Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre. Adapted for today by David Ives, the script feels as fresh as the original must have in 1643.

“We have people in the public eye blatantly lying to the public,” said cast member Ariela Nazar-Rosen, who graduated from Wellesley in 2016.

“How much do politicians lie today, and what are the consequences?” asked Angela Bilkic, who graduated in 2015 and is also in the cast.

But fear not, this onstage liar is neither mean-spirited nor a bum. “There’s a likeability about Dorante,” said Dan Prior, who is playing the role. “He’s not lying out of malice or trying to hurt anyone. He likes to be on center stage.”

Why did the director choose this play?

“In a sense it chose me,” said Rainer, who recently moved to Wellesley. “I wanted something that was fun. It has a comic book sensibility. Different types of audiences will find something in it. The actors are excited. It’s all done in verse. Every line has a rhyme.”

There’s no escaping that the production has overtones of current society, giving Rainer a lot to work with. “This play is rife with opportunity. I’m having a ball,” Rainer said.

“I read the play several times before I auditioned,” Prior said. “I love the comedy nitty-gritty and the command of language. It’s wordplay, and the physicality is so important to tell the story.”

Dorante may be overblown with bravado, but Prior takes a different slant. “It’s more that he’s just aspirant. He’s bigger than himself. He shines out. He’s a flawed character, but can he rise from that?”

Bilkic plays Lucrece and Nazar-Rosen Clarice, neither whom Dorante can figure out. Mistaken identity plays a major role here.

“It’s ironic this is called ‘The Liar’ because you can see the truths in people,” Nazar-Rosen said. “With a play like this it’s easy to exaggerate everything.”

As for Clarice, Nazar-Rosen said that “she’s also manipulating. She catches Dorante in his own trap. They do not end up together. She’s engaged, but she’s looking to see what else is out there. I really love this character. It gives me a chance to explore.”

Bilkic’s Lucrece is “upper-middle-class and austere. A shell of a person. But she loosens up. Lucrece reveals what she really wants and who she is. She wants fun and love without restraints. She feels people don’t necessarily marry for love, but she wants to.”

The cast has taken to the play’s rhyming verse. “The language is most interesting,” Bilkic said. “I’ve a fan of Shakespeare. I’ve done Shakespeare. But nothing like this.”

Bilkic embarked on her acting career at Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge. Wellesley only heightened her goals. “I realized theater was what I wanted to do.” In the past year she did stage work and short films in New York City.

Nazar-Rosen, just a year out of college, is also pursing a full theater career.

Prior is already a stage veteran. “This show brings me up to 150 since 1991,” he said. “I did ‘Peter Pan’ in kindergarten and never stopped.” He has appeared on numerous local stages, including at Waltham’s Reagle Music Theatre.

Rainer has “toured the world” doing shows she’s written. The gigs have taken her to Russia, Turkey, international festivals, and across the United States.

“I’m happy to bring ‘The Liar’ to a local audience,” she said.

It’s a play that’ll make you laugh. And that’s the truth.

Lenny Megliola can be reached at lennymegs41@gmail.com.

The Liar

The Liar

THE LIAR

by David Ives, adapted from the comedy by Pierre Corneille

Directed by Marta Rainer

PARIS, 1643. Dorante is a charming young man newly arrived in the capital, and he has but a single flaw: He cannot tell the truth. In quick succession he meets Cliton, a manservant who cannot tell a lie, and falls in love with Clarice, a charming young woman whom he unfortunately mistakes for her friend Lucrece. From these, plus more misunderstandings and a series of breathtakingly intricate lies springs one of the Western world’s greatest comedies, a sparkling urban romance as fresh as the day Pierre Corneille wrote it, brilliantly adapted for today by All In The Timings  David Ives. “An effervescent delight. Cheeky…bawdy…romantic” and full of “smiling exuberance.” — NYTimes

WRT is proud to bring this story to life together with critically acclaimed company members: Angela Bilkic, Danny Bolton, Caitlin Graham, Charles Linshaw, John Kinsherf, Ariela Nazar-Rosen, Dan Prior, Samuel Warton and the design team; David Towlun (Set Design), Chelsea Kerl (Costume Design), Isaac Zerkle (Light Design), and George Cooke (Sound Design). The WRT company has been in residence at Wellesley College since 1998.

The Cast

Dan Prior

Dorante

Sam Wharton

Cliton

Danny Bolton*

Philiste

John Kinsherf*

Geronte

*member of Actor’s Equity Association

Angela Bilkic*

Lucrece

Ariela Nazar-Rosen

Clarice

Caitlin Graham*

Isabelle/Sabine

Charles Linshaw*

Alcippe

Interview with the Director

January 11 – February 4, 2018

                      SOLD OUT  2/3 @ 7pm

Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre

Opening Night: January 12

________________

PERFORMANCES:

Jan. 11 – Feb. 4, 2018

Evenings:  Thursdays, Fridays, & Saturdays @ 7pm

Matinees:  Saturdays & Sundays @ 2pm

________________

TICKETS:

$20 general admission | $10 seniors and students

PAY WHAT YOU CAN on Thursdays!

To make a reservation call the Box Office @ 781-283-2000
The theatre is handicapped accessible,
Please email disabilityservices@wellesley.edu for information.

By Lenny Megliola GLOBE CORRESPONDENT

WELLESLEY — It’s just by happenstance that the Wellesley College Repertory Theatre is presenting “The Liar” at a time when lying has become a fibbin’ plague in America.

We don’t know whom to believe anymore, from the White House on downIt’s something to get angry about, and we have.

It’s not really a fad. People have been lying forever. It was in the 17th century that Pierre Corneille scripted “The Liar.” The play’s a French farce, made for laughs. This fast-talking liar is named Dorante, a charming young man who, the story goes, is incapable of telling the truth.

Dorante falls in love with a young woman, whom he mistakes for her friend. The lies — and the laughs — come fast and furious.

Marta Rainer of the Wellesley College Theatre Studies Department is directing the play. The irony of the title hasn’t escaped her. “We’re all craving the truth,” she said, “and I think we all need a laugh right now.”

The play opens Jan. 12 at the Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre. Adapted for today by David Ives, the script feels as fresh as the original must have in 1643.

“We have people in the public eye blatantly lying to the public,” said cast member Ariela Nazar-Rosen, who graduated from Wellesley in 2016.

“How much do politicians lie today, and what are the consequences?” asked Angela Bilkic, who graduated in 2015 and is also in the cast.

But fear not, this onstage liar is neither mean-spirited nor a bum. “There’s a likeability about Dorante,” said Dan Prior, who is playing the role. “He’s not lying out of malice or trying to hurt anyone. He likes to be on center stage.”

Read Full Review

Production Staff

Artistic Director
Producing Artistic Director
Stage Management
Set Design/ Production Management
Costume Design
Sound Design
Assistant Director
Light Design
Assistant Production Management
Assistant Stage Management
Box Office Manager/Publicity

Production Staff

Marta Rainer
Nora Hussey
Lindsay Garofalo*
David Towlun
Chelsea Kerl
George Cooke
Diana Lobontiu ’18
Isaac Zerkel ’18
Grace Berger ‘20
Maggie Lees ‘18
Lilly Strieder ’18

Measure for Measure Happening this Weekend

Measure for Measure Happening this Weekend

Welcome back, Wellesley!

The theatre is excited to have many events on the books this academic year, keeping you inspired and always learning (as well as very entertained). Our first show is Measure for Measure, starring the Actors from the London Stage. You may have seen some cast members in your classes this week, and if so you can attest to how truly talented they are. Hailing from all over the UK and professionally trained in theatre performance, you will be seeing actors that have performed with such acclaimed groups as Royal Shakespeare Company and at Shakespeare’s Globe – it does not get more impressive than that.

Did I mention that all of these performances – which take place Thursday thru Saturday at 7pm – are free of charge? The bottom line is that there are no excuses not to see this sensational production, especially if you are an English or theatre major.

Truth is truth 

To th’end of reck’ning. – (Isabella, Act 5 Scene 1)

The truth is, you cannot afford to miss this one, so mark your calendars now.

Sonia Flew

Sonia Flew

The Swellesley Report: Sonia Flew

First off, the last thing a mom should ask a nineteen-year-old young man hell-bent on joining the Marines in response to the 9/11 attacks is, “What do you know about how the world works?” And she certainly shouldn’t ask it with a world-weary air, making it clear that she is the one in the room who knows such things. Another suggestion: don’t follow it up by telling him, “You have such a limited understanding of these things.”

But that’s just real-world advice. For an opening scene in Melinda Lopez’s play, Sonia Flew, at Wellesley Repertory Theatre through June 25, an exhibition of such motherly disdain is the perfect way to set a tone of conflict and move the action forward. As the Elliot Norton Award-winning play opens, Sonia (Mariela Lopez-Ponce, on the edge of a nervous breakdown), Zak’s mom, has conveniently forgotten that in her early 1960s teenage past, becoming involved with Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution seemed like the perfect antidote to her controlling parents, a way to provide her life with purpose and and a sense of being part of something bigger than herself. The adult Sonia never sees — or refuses to see — the parallels between her former teenage self, ready to join the Revolution, and her current teenage son, on a fast-track to the Marines as his way of avenging the 9/11 attacks.

 

Mariela Lopez-Ponce

Sonia (adult)

Zach Georgian

Zak

Christine de Jesus Ahsan

Sonia (teen)

Woody Gaul

Daniel

Producing Artistic Director     Nora Hussey

Director                                   Lois Roach

Production Manager               David Towlun

Scenic Design                         Janie Howland**

Costume Design                     Chelsea Kerl

Lighting Design                       Becky Marsh

Sound Design                         Jack Staid

Stage Manager                       Lindsay D. Garofalo*

Alicia Olivo                            Assistant Director

Calla Nelles-Sager                Assistant Stage Manager

Drew Chasse                         Production Assistant


**member of USA Local 829

*member of Actor’s Equity Association

This type of parallel comes up throughout the play, as we are shown in the first half a modern-day family grappling with the idea that the bright son who has just completed his freshman year of college now wants to go to war. I wanted to sit down at the kitchen table right along with the family and put forth the benefits that both Zak (played by Zach Georgian with stubbornness and a touch of glee as he hits one nerve after another) and the United States Armed Forces would reap if he entered the ROTC program, but it wasn’t my dialogue to tweak. In the name of creating dramatic tension, however, sending a braniac kid from a nice Jewish family off to put boots on the ground in the toughest branch of the service certainly works. (Playwright Lopez appeared earlier this Spring in Grand Concourse at SpeakEasy Stage in Boston.)

The second half of the play brings us to 1960s Cuba, where a teen-age Sonia (Christine de Jesus Ahsan, with innocence verging on adult understanding)  is flattered by the attention of a slimy, opportunistic soldier (Woody Gaul). The young Sonia is too naive to comprehend his underlying motives, which turn out to be more about meeting his recruitment quota of teens to send to “camp” than a true interest in young Sonia’s future. Sonia is lately at odds with her parents, and more and more interested in what her role could be in Fidel Castro’s Cuba. She doesn’t comprehend that the Revolution is leading to a dictatorship. Her professor father does, however, but pretends that hunkering down and living quietly is the solution, even though he just saw ten of his colleagues marched out of the university in chains and taken to God only knows where. Only the mom sees it all plain as truth: life as her family has known it in Cuba is over, and she must get her daughter out. As in right now. Even when the last words her daughter tells her are “I do not forgive you. I will never forgive you.”

Truly, I was at the edge of my seat for then entire running time of 2 1/2 hours, including intermission. The thought of anything happening to Zak haunted me to the very end of the play. The idea that the young Sonia was teetering on a wire on which she never asked to step, and on which she couldn’t remain balanced, where landing on one side meant narrow or no choices, while ending up on the other side meant freedom with its incredibly high price, kept me spellbound. The bitterness of the adult Sonia as she refused to don the mantle of the strong, unflappable, unconditionally supportive mother and wife kept me yearning for her — redemption? Epiphany? Comeuppance? Rescue? I wasn’t sure, but had to find out which way Lopez would send it.

Sonia’s husband Daniel is played by Woody Gaul (Wellesley Repertory Theatre’s Emilie: La Marquise du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight) with Rock-of-Gibraltar fortitude combined with mensch-like stability and decency. He’s the reassuring voice that guides his daughter through the family crisis with, “We’re not splitting up. This family doesn’t do that. We don’t.” Even when he hurls tough truths at his wife about her own behavior, there’s an undercurrent in his very being of the idea of forever. We’re not splitting up. We don’t do that. We won’t.

It’s always good to see Nancy Tutunjian Berger onstage (she appeared earlier this Spring in Enchanted April at The Center for Arts in Natick). As family friend Nina, Berger’s warmth and vulnerability allows us to see the meaning of family closeness during tough times on an island that is about to become virtually inescapable.