Oakland University
Thursday, November 6, 2014

Campus experts shape OU's production of "The Liar"

Collaboration across campus is key, says show director Anthony Guest, who brought in Oakland University experts from across disciplines to inform the creative process for the production of "The Liar."  Promotional image by theatre design and tech student Daniel Robinson.
Thursday, Nov. 13 marks the opening of Oakland University’s production of Pierre Corneille’s farcical classic “The Liar.” To prepare for the play, students and faculty in Oakland’s Department of Music, Theatre and Dance sought out guidance from faculty members across campus. Kim Serota, Ph.D., who has conducted extensive research on the subject of lying, shared insights to help the student actors prepare for their roles.

“Our session involved introducing the group to different types of lies and showing how the script illustrated the full range of lying behaviors,” said Dr. Serota, special instructor of marketing in OU's business school. “We also talked about how people catch a liar and how they could use that knowledge to influence the audience with their acting.” 

Set in 17th-century Paris, “The Liar” chronicles the exploits of the silver-tongued Dorante, who woos a pair of young women with his intricate web of lies. The show’s director, Anthony Guest, said the collaboration has shaped the production in a variety of ways.

“Dr. Serota's session with us was very well received. The research he shared has given us a social and scientific perspective on lying, which has informed some of our artistic observations,” Guest explained. “The actors have continued these discussions during rehearsals, which has only enriched the production value.” 

Guest said he has worked with Dr. Stacey Hahn, from the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, who helped with French pronunciation and culture. In addition, Theatre Program Director Kerro Knox used his in-depth knowledge of the theatrical history of France to design a set that transports audience members to another place and time. Terry Herald, from the music program, is playing lute and guitar during the show and Theatre Professor Karen Sheridan collaborated as period movement coach, a specialty that focuses on how the actors carry themselves on stage.

“The play is set in 1643,” Guest noted. “People moved very differently back then, due to social status and dress.” 

Thursday, Nov. 13 at 8 p.m.
Friday, Nov.14 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 16 at 2 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 20 at 8 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 21 at 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 22 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 23 at 2 p.m.

The 8 p.m. performances on Nov. 15 and Nov. 21 will be shadow-signed for the Deaf by Synergy on Stage.

Guest said that collaboration was key in producing a contemporary version of a play rooted in a distinct historical moment.

“This play explores the art of the lie and the lie of art, all with sweeping bravado,” Guest said. “Professors Serota, Knox, Sheridan, and the student design team have worked together to support this theme, juxtaposing the historical setting with modern innuendo. The cast is bound to delight audiences and keep them laughing the whole evening long.” 

Performances of “The Liar” will run from Thursday, Nov. 13 through Sunday, Nov. 23 in Varner Studio Theatre. Tickets are $14 for general admission, and $8 for students and the 10 a.m. matinee. For more information, visit the Music, Theatre and Dance website at oakland.edu/mtd

To prepare for the play, students and faculty in Oakland’s Department of Music, Theatre and Dance sought out guidance from faculty members across disciplines.

Created by Eric Reikowski (esreikow@oakland.edu) on Thursday, November 6, 2014
Modified by Eric Reikowski (esreikow@oakland.edu) on Monday, November 10, 2014
Article Start Date: Thursday, November 6, 2014