Review: “Lies and Liars” by Theatre Seven of Chicago

Can We Handle the Truth?

 Lies & Liars

Theatre Seven of Chicago at Chicago Dramatists presents

Lies and Liars
Conceived and directed by Margot Bordelon and Cassy Sanderson
Thru August 30 (buy tickets)
Reviewed by Timothy McGuire

Margot Bordelon and Cassy Sanderson created and directed Lies & Liars, which investigates the nature of lies and whether our lives would really be better off if we always knew the truth. The story utilized to present the grey area between truth and dishonesty is told through the employees of an international lie protection agency (ALCOR) located in Chicago. In this office holds everyone’s files containing the vast number of lies that have been told to them, including the employees.

Lies & Liars Courtney O’Neil has designed the stage as an average office space separated into individual cubicles by portable walls which are frequently moved around to change the stage to another space/floor within the office. Each employee is introduced with a Zach Morris-style freeze-frame moment (ala Saved By The Bell) where the stage is darkened except for the spot light on the actress/actor and a short humorous bio of the character is displayed. The story follows a newly hired janitor Ben (Brad Smith) as he frets about his recent break-up with his girlfriend and is tempted with the ability to know the truth by reading his own file. As the play develops the scenes change in a rhythmic movement that is at first entertaining, but the constant unnecessary shifting between sets interrupts the character development and loose its clever quality after the first few times it is done.

Lies & Liars The idea of exploring the necessity of lies, and the impact it would have on our lives if we knew the truth about everything and everyone around us is interesting and holds the potential for a meaningful reflection on human nature. Lies & Liars falls short in its effort to question the depth of the nature of lies and its impact on its characters. The script does nothing to further give insight in to the subject matter of truth, and the presentation is plain yet saved by the chemistry and top-notch performance of the cast.

From the opening of the play, Vikki (Marjorie Armstrong) steals the show. Her physical concoctions have you giggling in your seat. She brings life into her character with the stress in her face and a hump in her back. Constantly pushing her body to the extreme of ridiculous, she never even moves a finger without it being in-line with her character. It is the tremendously physical acting with in the whole cast that brings out the personalities of the characters. The script lacks meaningful dialogue that would Lies & Liarsengage the audience and help us understand the emotions and thought process of the characters but the actress/actors make up for the lack of words with their absurd and subtle physical interactions on stage.

The motivations to lie  is explored and classifications and rationalizations are given for why people hide the truth and the possible importance for the existence of dishonesty, although if you are looking for a thought provoking play or even a new perspective on the subject you will be surely disappointed. In the end, the intriguing premise of Lies & Liars by Theatre Seven remains underdeveloped.  Thankfully, however, the acting remained creatively entertaining throughout. So, if you are looking for a meaningless fun time and a chance to see a cast of young rising stars, check out Lies & Liars at Chicago Dramatist.

Rating: «½

 

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One Response

  1. […] Lies & Liars – Theatre Seven of Chicago (our review) […]

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