NAU Theatre presented The School of Lies on April 17-26, 2015, in the Studio Theater at Northern Arizona University. The production was directed by Kathleen M. McGeever, and was a part of the NAU Theatre 2014-2015 Season.
The actors included NAU Theatre Majors and Minors ranging from Freshmen to graduating Senior students. The Costumes were co-designed by NAU Theatre Faculty member, Jennifer Peterson and graduating Senior (now alumna), Taylor Lumpkin. The Scenic Design was by NAU Theatre Faculty member, Steven House. Lighting Design was by graduating Senior (now alumna), Kevin Morrow. Sound design was by NAU Theatre Faculty member, Ben Alexander. Properties design was by graduating Senior (now alumna), Andy Weiman. Technical Direction was by NAU Theatre staff member, Ben Grohs. The show was stage managed by graduating Senior (now alumna), Nancy Bradshaw.
The play was adapted by David Ives, from Moliere’s The Misanthrope. Playwright Ives crafted a saucy, scintillating, deliciously off-color romp from The Misanthrope, and despite the obvious changes of spicing it up a bit, peppering the piece with modernity, and taking it from the Alexandrian to iambic pentameter rhymed couplets, Ives maintains the tale of hypocrisy, power, deceit, and lies, suggesting that lies and deceit are a consequence of civilization.
The play was set at the time of Marie Antoinette with splashes of today in order to capture the style and spirit of the world Ive’s crafted. It is a bit later than Moliere’s date for The Misanthrope (1666), and it worked well capturing Ive’s modernity. The play is set in a world of cracked mirrors that illuminate as well as hide reality, and it was directed using the techniques and style of Commedia dell’ Arte replete with all the character archetypes (Pantalone, Arlechinno, Zanni, Columbina, Lovers and Capitano).
The story illustrates humanity. Humans are odd creatures; we hide our flaws and often choose to lie for the wrong reasons, only to make us feel better. Is this school for lies a playground tale of bullying, insecurity, and humanity laid bare of all its flaws? – – You bet it is, and it wasn’t any different in 1666 (the time Moliere wrote the play), or the time of Marie Antoinette (the time of this play), or today.