If you’re a little intimidated by the work of great playwrights or aren’t sure if you’d enjoy something written in verse, let alone set in the 17th century, then let the new Chicago Shakespeare Theater production of The School for Lies be your very hilarious introduction!
This contemporary adaptation of the classic French satire The Misanthrope by Molière opens on December 4 and runs through January 20 in the Chicago Shakespeare Courtyard Theater and is the perfect way to both end the year and start the new one on a high note.
The play, adapted by the award-winning playwright David Ives and directed by Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s own founder, Barbara Gaines, is part contemporary, part period piece and all rhyming couplets, and contains themes that completely transcend time and place.
The basic premise of the play is this: Frank, a character who by nature is brutally honest, calls upon his friend, Philinte. During their visit, Frank meets several of Philinte’s friends and in quick succession insults all of them, particularly Celimene, a flirtatious widow who is known for being a little two-faced.
In a move that’s ripe with comedic potential, Frank begins to court Celimene and all sorts of drama follows including a false proposal, a case of hidden identity, and a decision by Celimone to reveal just who it is she really loves.
Although the characters may be wearing 17th century dress (think breeches and heavily decorated petticoats) and speak in a rhyming language unlike anything we’ve ever heard today, the message of the play and its central question is simple: is it the people who are corrupt or the society?
Tickets for The School for Lies are now available and can be purchased here.
For those who’d like to learn a little more about the play, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater is offering several enrichment opportunities. Audience members are invited to a pre-show lecture about the play on a select number of dates— no reservation is needed. Alternatively, after every Wednesday matinee show, guests are invited to stay behind for a half hour question and answer session with the cast.
And for those who want to get to know the cast on a more personal level, on Friday, January 4 at 6:30 p.m., the CST is holding a Pub Cast Call where audience members can meet cast members for drinks and discussion. More information about all of these events can be found here.