Play Critique: The School for Lies

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Play Critique: The School for Lies

The School for Lies is an intriguing play directed by Jeremy Lewis that delves into various issues regarding social interactions of aristocrats in 17th century France. The play looks at the backstabbing, gossiping and other scandals that occur between a group of aristocrats, with the events unfolding in the drawing room of one of the characters. Lewis’ recreation of The School for Lies is brought alive by powerful performances from Keaton Williams, who plays Philinte and Joseph Daniels as Frank. Through the efforts of the director, crew and key members of the cast, The School for Lies transports the audience into the past with a vivid depiction of the hypocritical way that aristocrats carried themselves in France’s colorful past.

The School for Lies was an entertaining and gripping play that delved into the hypocritical nature of courtship in seventeenth century Paris. Key themes in the play include hypocrisy, love, courtship and betrayal. The play focuses on a group of aristocrats in Celimene’s (portrayed by Cherylann Gottselig) drawing room who’s spiteful and pretentious relations with each other provide a constant source of humor. This humor in the play was one of the reasons why The School for Lies was entertaining. Additionally, I found the play’s ability to immerse the viewer into seventeenth century Paris to be quite commendable. One issue that I did not like in Lewis’ rendition of The School for Lies is the fact that some running gags were overdone, with a good example being the fact that many characters had their names constantly mispronounced. Lastly, the weak performance of some characters made the play less captivating drawing away from the efforts made by key performers such as Joseph Daniels and Cherylann Gottselig.

A key source of entertainment in The School for Lies was the powerful performances by some of the actors. Arsinoe’s (Melissa Haygood) constant attempts at tormenting her cousin Celimente provided some of the humorous situations in the play as did Frank’s inability to behave like the other aristocrats and pay his companions fanciful and false compliments. Daniels and Haygood were able to make the show thoroughly entertaining and the viewers heavily anticipated their stage presence. Similarly, Cherylann Gottselig and Keaton Williams put in strong performances that were crucial to the success of the show, particularly because they were portraying major characters. However, not all performances in The School for Lies were creditable. Nick Gardner’s portrayal of Clitander was slightly monotonous, an issue that posed a big problem for the performance considering the importance of the character to the overall play.

Jeremy Lewis direction of The School for Lies was one of the reasons why the show was so enjoyable. Lewis is able to bring the play alive by filling it with numerous humorous situations as well as characters who constantly act as a source of amusement for the audience. For instance, Lewis inserted bits and pieces of modern language and mannerisms into The School for Lies, both of which acted as constant sources of humor. The sight of aristocrats using fist bumps and modern slang made the play quite amusing especially because of the contradiction it created with seventeenth century Paris. Lewis also inserted humor into the show by having various running gags. However, the gags soon became tedious and monotonous with an example being the constant mispronunciation of Clitander as clitoris. Lewis directing prowess is brought out by the fact that the humor only serves to embellish the play instead of actually being the focal point of the performance.

The design of the play was creditable, though there were some areas where the designers’ could have done a better job. Jonathan Daroca and Meghan McCarthy do a good job with the props in the set as they successfully immerse the viewer into seventeenth century Paris where the play is based. However, one piece of the decoration in the show constantly failed to work. Unfortunately, this piece regularly returned the audience into the real world. Jonathan Daroca was also the light designer in the play, and even though the lighting was acceptable, some of the lights on the set were too bright and they made the experience slightly uncomfortable. Harrison Haug was the sound designer in the performance, a role in which he failed to revel. The sound in The School for Lies was poor, with a key problem being that it was too loud throughout the performance. While Caitlynn Adlard did a worthy job in designing the costumes, Bruce Goodrich failed to achieve a similar result in the hair and makeup department. The makeup in the performance with a key problem being the hair. The wigs did not cover the performers’ natural hair well enough as it was noticeable in some places.

Jeremy Lewis rendition of The School for Lies was an entertaining and captivating show that had various flaws. Lewis did a commendable job as the director, making sure that audience remained engrossed without removing any of the play’s original aspects. The success of the show was also the result of worthy performances from actors such as Melissa Haygood and Joseph Daniels. However, key faults could be found in the play’s overall design as well as weak input from some actors portraying key characters.

 

 

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