A Tangled Web of Tall Tales, Told in Verse
| The New York Times

The playwright David Ives, in his program note for “The Liar,” currently onstage at the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey in Madison, calls the play a “translaptation,” which he defines as “a translation with a heavy dose of adaptation.”

Fortunately, there is nothing at all heavy about this effervescent comedy, which is cleverly based on a 1643 play by the French dramatist Pierre Corneille. Commissioned by the Shakespeare Theater Company in Washington, D.C., where it was originally staged in 2010, “The Liar” was composed in rhyming verse by Mr. Ives, whose other works include the steamy Broadway hit “Venus in Fur.”

The action centers on Dorante (Brian Cade), a wealthy young gentleman who arrives in mid-17th-century Paris and immediately starts spinning tales of military derring-do and romantic intrigue meant to impress the ladies and confound his rivals. Click here to read more.


Shakespeare Theatre's 'The Liar' is honest-to-goodness entertainment
C. W. Walker
| The Daily Record

Pierre Corneille may be considered the father of French tragedy, but he also wrote his share of comedies, too. And “The Liar,” now on stage at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, is as light and airy as cotton candy spun at a county fair, perfect for a mid-summer’s evening of fun. Click here to read more.



The Shakespeare Theatre brilliantly stages David Ives' translation of Dorante's 17th-century farce
Bob Brown
| The Princeton Packet

EVERYONE lies now and then - for good or ill. But few have lied so artfully and so well as Dorante, the eponymous character in Pierre Corneille's blow-out farce of 1643, Le Menteur. David Ives' mischievous translation, now in a production by the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison through July 29, is a modern adaptation that preserves what is most artful in Corneille while freshening its impact for present-day funny-bones.

Artistic Director Bonnie Monte has given us works by Corneille's near-contemporary Molière on the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre stage. But as fine as those productions have been, nothing quite compares with the brilliance and gut-busting humor of this one. Much has to do with the translation. Ives, author of the highly praised Venus in Fur on Broadway, has taken a fairly liberal approach with hilarious results. Click here to read more.


The Liar: David Ives 2010 Verse "Translaptation" of Obscure 1643 Corneille Comedy
By Bob Rendell
| Talkin' Broadway

Seventeenth-century French playwright Pierre Corneille is best known today for his tragedies. However, his little remembered, rarely performed 1643 comedy The Liar came to the attention of D.C.'s Shakespeare Theatre Company which felt that it was worthy of being restored to our classic repertoire. The theatre commissioned the American playwright David Ives (Venus in Fur; All in the Timing) to write a new translation. According to Ives, he decided to retain the pentameter verse structure and to employ modern day American English for his version. In order to "improve" the play and make it more accessible to modern audiences, Ives made changes which included trimming long speeches, adding subplots, merging two characters and cutting another. Ives has employed the term "translaptation" to describe his efforts. Click here to read more.



REVIEW: 'The Liar' at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is a perfect mix of laughs and talent
Stuart Duncan
| New Jersey Newsroom

Is there anything that the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey can’t do? After a really superb “Henry IV, Part 1” to open the current summer season, it now returns with “The Liars.” This is not only a French farce, but one written in 1643 by the master French farceur, Pierre Corneille, adapted quite liberally (and occasionally raunchily) by David Ives, one of the cleverest of modern comedy writers (“It’s All in the Timing”).

And in the process, a well-mannered drawing-room comedy has been turned into a slapstick, very, very funny romp.

You put such a bird into the hands of director Paul Mullins (back for his 21st season in Madison) and a troupe of expert farceurs, give them a certain feeling of liberty - and stand back.

Click here to read more.



Liar, Liar, Pantalons on Fire, Courtesy of Corneille & Ives at STNJ
By Sherri Rase
| Q On Stage

“The Liar” is the latest production by Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (STNJ) and it sparkles with modern language in its most recent translation by playwright David Ives. If Ives’ name is familiar, it should be. His play “Venus in Fur” has been very good to its actors, who’ve won awards for his clever prose, and his translation of Pierre Corneille’s 1644 play is a romp in its own right. Adding the spice of modern conveniences and conceits to the habituès of Parisian high society during the reign of Louis XIII-ish, Ives gives us a view of antic wit and epic foible that includes a very fast pace. Click here to read more.


'The Liar' Casts a Silly, Sublime Spell at Shakespeare Theatre in Madison
Liz Keill
| The Alternative Press

The rarely performed Cornielle comedy, "The Liar" is off and running at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Well, it's really adapted from the 1643 comedy by Pierre Corneille. David Ives executed what he called "a translaptation," combining both a translation and adaptation. According to Ives, that meant writing the play the way Corneille would have written it today, in English. And it works! Ives was also convinced that, like the original, it had to be done in rhymed iambic pentameter. While that sounds complicated, the end result is delightful, even when the hero, Dorante, exclaims towards the end, "I'm not going to rhyme." Click here to read more.



17th Century Comedy Re-Versed in Wickedly Funny 'The Liar'
William Westhoven

Pierre Corneille’s “The Liar” has been making audiences laugh since the mid 17th century. The profile of this French farce may not be what it once was, but playwright David Ives and the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey are now successfully putting a broader face on its timeless comedy.

Ives premiered his playful new adaptation and translation (which he has referred to as a “translaptation”) in 2010 with the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington D.C. Already on her radar, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte took additional interest in that production because it featured members of her Equity company in the cast.

Click here to read more.




The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is presenting two marvelous comedies this July. The first is Shakespeare's "Comedy of Errors" at the outdoor amphitheatre on the campus of St. Elizabeth's College, the second, that we reviewed, quite appropriately on Bastille Day (July 14, 2012), is "The Liar" a classic farce that has been translated and adapted with great wit by American playwright David Ives from the work of 17th century French playwright Pierre Corneille. Actually Corneille based the "The Liar" on a Spanish play of mistaken identity.

Directing this fun-filled romp is the 21-year veteran of the STNJ, Paul Mullins. Mullins most recently directed the surprise comedy hit of last season "Accidental Death of an Anarchist." Mullins' terrific comedy lead in "Accidental", Kevin Isola, gives a stand-out performance in "The Liar" as the crafty servant, Cliton who can not tell a lie. This affliction is particularly unsatisfactory since his employer, the handsome and charming Dorante (played by the excellent Brian Cade), who has arrived in Paris seeking a suitable bride, is incapable of telling the truth. Dorante believes the best and quickest route to his marital goal is to fabricate outlandish tales of conquest both in the boudoir and on the battlefield. Click here to read more.



Review: 'The Liar' is great fun at the Shakespeare Theatre of N.J.
Ruth Ross
| The News Record / ArtsMaven

The temperature outside may have been close to 100 degrees, but the laugh quotient in the air-conditioned F.M. Kirby Theatre in Madison was at least double that as The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey performed a rollicking version of Pierre Corneille's comic romp of deception, mistaken identity and, yes, twin servants: The Liar. A playwright himself, David Ives (All in the Timing and the more recent Venus in Fur) has provided a translation of the 17th-century comedy filled with a slew of snide and sly comments equating the lying French arrivistes in the play with modern politicians, much to the audience's delight. Click here to read more.



"The Liar" weaves a delightfully deceitful tale in verse at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
By Janine M. Torsiello
| Morris Beats

It's no lie that there is a very funny play on the main stage right now at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey at Drew University in Madison. It's a tall tale of a young man who is "The Liar" and it is as charming as he is dishonest.

The play, written by David Ives is an adaptation from the comedy by Pierre Corneille. Paul Mullins directs this small but lively and talented cast of characters, all of whom deftly speak the entire play in verse - specifically iambic pentameter. This of course is not terribly unusual for a Shakespearean theater company but in this case it is rather exaggerated verse, which makes it much funnier than most. Click here to read more.