Radford University’s Department of Theatre and Cinema presents “The Liar,” streaming online to audiences today, April 7, through Sunday, April 11.
The production will stream live to audiences on April 7, 8, 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m. with a final showing on April 11 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are available at https://rutheatretickets.universitytickets.com/.
Directed by Assistant Professor Molly Hood, ‘The Liar” is a comedy that takes place in 1643. The play does contain some mild sexual themes and adult language.
A young law school student named Dorante arrives in Paris for a visit. His biggest flaw is that he is prone to lying about, well, most everything, actually. When Dorante falls in love with a woman he meets shortly after arriving in the city, a case of mistaken identity becomes a central thread that entangles the characters in a web of lies and comedic trouble.
Hood said her cast and crew have really made the production experience enjoyable. “The students are incredibly energetic and funny,” she said. “Rehearsals have been a blast. We’ll look at one moment of the play and they’ll have five different suggestions for how to approach it. It’s been absolutely wonderful to have such an energetic team who isn’t afraid to play with ideas.”
The production cast and crew continue to work in ways that differ from putting together traditional theatre presentations. Streaming to online audiences requires introducing technical elements much earlier than with standard production schedules. Cameras and microphones were added as rehearsal elements early in the production timeline, and students had to memorize their lines much earlier than usual to prepare for the additional technical challenges that accompany a live streamed production.
“The students have done a great job handling the extra requirements. They’ve really delivered,” said Hood.
Junior theatre major Logan Burnley portrays the lead role of Dorante. He says that his first leading role has been a challenging yet rewarding experience.
“The role is very athletic,” Burnley said. “Dorante loves to tell fantastic stories and he often acts them out to other characters in the scene at a frenetic pace. You have to be able to talk and jump around for minutes on end without becoming fatigued.”
When the casting call went out for a classical comedy production at Radford University, he knew that he wanted to be involved as much as possible. In addition to playing the lead character, Burnley also worked in the scene shop helping to build sets for the show.
Madison Lawson is a senior theatre major playing two characters, Sabine and Isabelle, twin sisters with polar opposite personalities. The sisters are maids who grow wise to Dorante’s fabrications and begin feeding him their own lies to toy with him.
The opportunity to portray the two characters was appealing to the graduating senior, and she enjoyed embracing the challenges it presented.
“I typically play girl-next-door characters, so to play someone like Sabine is exciting because she’s strong and strict and kind of mean,” Lawson said. “Isabelle, on the other hand, is flirty and sensual. So I’ll be playing a scene where I am being bossy and mean and slapping people in the face, then I walk off camera for a moment and return as the sister with a completely opposite personality. It’s a lot of fun.”
Students in the production were also excited about the costume designs. Since the story takes place during the Baroque period of France, intricately designed corsets, doublets, and accessories are part of what makes the production a visually engaging experience.
“I am in love with my costume,” Burnley said. “The cape, the sword, all of it. When I’m in costume, I feel like I am the character. As soon as I was finished with my fitting, I wanted to get back into it.”