THE SCHOOL FOR LIES

Spring 2020 Mainstage Production

SHOW SYNOPSIS

"It's 1666 and the brightest, wittiest salon in Paris is that of Celimene, a beautiful young widow so known for her satiric tongue she's being sued for it. Surrounded by shallow suitors, whom she lives off of without surrendering to, Celimene has managed to evade love since her beloved husband died—until today, when Frank appears. A traveler from England known for his own coruscating wit and acidic misanthropy, Frank turns Celimene's world upside-down, taking on her suitors, matching her barb for barb, and teaching her how to live again. (Never mind that their love affair has been engineered by a couple of well-placed lies.) This wild farce of furious tempo and stunning verbal display, all in very contemporary couplets, runs variations on Molière's The Misanthrope, which inspired it."

- Dramatists Play Service

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ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT

David Ives, born in 1950 Chicago, Illinois, went on study at Northwestern University and the Yale School of Drama. Best known for his collection of one-acts, such as Mere Mortals and Time Flies, Ives has written several full-length plays, including Polish Joke and Ancient History, several novels, and libretto books for contemporary musicals such as The Secret Garden. An anthological collection of his short plays, titled All in the Timing, was recorded as the most-produced play of the 1995-96 season after Shakespeare, while his two-person play Venus in Fur championed the same feat in the 2013-14 season. Throughout his career, Ives has proven to be no stranger to adaptational writing; in addition to The School for Lies, his plays The Heir Apparent, The Metromaniacs, and Is He Dead? are all adapted from various 17th and 18th-century texts.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Andrew Child is a director, designer, choreographer, and actor who has had the privilege of working in various capacities with several Boston theatre groups and educational institutions, including the American Repertory Theatre, New England Conservatory, Bay Colony Shakespeare Company, and more. While serving as artistic director for Artists from Suburbia, he oversaw accessibility measures including open captioning and sensory-friendly matinees for many of the productions. AfS' goal was to structure itself in such a way that traditional theatrical boundaries including class, ability, race, and access to training could be challenged in regards to both audience and artistic involvement. Andrew's work as an artistic director earned him an invitation to speak about diversity in theatre at Emerson College. He has been honored to be nominated for four Broadway World Boston Awards for Best Direction, along with having his work nominated for performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Andrew has a passion for implementing and integrating accessibility measures into the processes of his works and actively seeks ways to engage with new audiences.

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MORE ON THE MISANTHROPE

The Misanthrope, or the Cantankerous Lover is a 17th-century comedy of manners written in verse by Molière. First performed in June 1666, the play satirizes French aristocratic society while simultaneously engaging in the serious criticism of human error, though dramatists today are unsure about the veracity of Molière's politics in the piece given his previous works' subject to censure from the French government. The Misanthrope's first Broadway production came in 1905, having enjoyed its most recent professional run in the summer of 2011. Ives' adaptation of Molière's play in School for Lies is considered one of its most recent interpretations - the New York Times called its debut a "gushing geyser of opprobrium - satirical, pedagogical, and scatological."

MORE ON MOLIÈRE

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin was a French playwright, actor and poet, widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in the French language, and far better known under his stage name: Molière. The child of a wealthy family and a college-educated man, Molière was always well-equipped to enter a life of the stage, which explains his 13 years of acting in a traveling troupe. With first-hand exposure to Commedia dell’arte and a knack for comic ability, he left the troupe to begin his writing career in earnest, melding the former with the high comedy the French were fond of. His plays were the subject of patronage by noblemen and aristocrats, and as such, he was frequently offered the use of esteemed venues in and around landmarks such as the Louvre and Palais-Royal. Molière’s relentless dedication to his craft took massive tolls on his health, and he is famously known to have died just after finishing a performance in his unexpectedly final play, The Imaginary Invalid - he finished his final line, collapsed onstage, and died hours later.

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