Antaeus Salon Series Focuses on THE LIAR

That’s right!  Our “Behind the Curtain” Salon Series returns this Fall, and this time we pull back the curtain on all aspects of The Liar, focusing on topics such as its style, verse & historical context.  The Salon Series will take place in the Antaeus library Monday evenings 7 -10pm – 5 roundtable lectures/discussions led by 5 experts in their respective fields.

Monday evenings, 7-10p in the Antaeus Library
A series of 5 roundtable discussions focusing on various aspects of our upcoming production of Corneille’s The Liar (adapted by David Ives,) moderated by experts in their fields.
Each week features a new moderator and topic.
(Limit 15 participants per class.  Please contact to reserve your spot!)
The Liar previews 10/3 – 10/9 and opens on 10/10

FLEUR DE LIS package 5 Salons (plus preview ticket to The Liar)
Workshop Fee: $225

PLACE ROYALE package 3 Salons  (plus preview ticket to The Liar)
Workshop Fee: $140

$50/class (plus preview ticket to The Liar)

SEPT 16                    The Style: Farce & Verse in The Liar
Moderated by David BRIDEL

SEPT 23                    The Words: On Adaptation and Translation
Moderated by Lillian GROAG

SEPT 30                   The World: Society & Culture in 17th Century France
Moderated by Prof. Malina STEFANOVSKA

OCT 7                       The Players: On Acting Corneille Past & Present
Moderated by Robert GOLDSBY

OCT 14                     The Story: The Real Scoop on The Liar
Moderated by Prof. David RODES


David BridelDAVID BRIDEL As a director and playwright, David Bridel has garnered acclaim from his native UK to Israel to both coasts of the USA; the LA Times describes him as “the real thing, one of the most ambitious, scholarly and vastly challenging voices on the current theatrical scene.” His choreography credits range from operas such as Salome in Munich and Ariadne Auf Naxos in LA, both directed by Academy-Award winner William Friedkin, to the recent international smash-hit Il Postino, starring Placido Domingo, which has enjoyed sold-out runs in LA, Paris, Vienna, Mexico City, Santiago and Madrid. Meanwhile Bridel has traveled extensively in the US, China, Australia and Brazil, connecting his own organization The Clown School with many luminaries in the field, including David Shiner and LUME Teatro. His productions have twice been nominated for the LA Weekly Theatre Awards; he is the winner of an Entertainment Weekly Special Events Award for his his commedia dell’arte direction in The School of Night at the Mark Taper Forum, an Anna Sosenko Award for Musical Theatre; and he was recently awarded a prestigious Zumberge Grant for his ambitious project Clowns Across Continents. He has contributed to American Theatre Magazine and is a published playwright. His solo play, Sublimity, will be seen in Los Angeles and at the United Solo Festival in New York this Fall. David is an Associate Dean and the Associate Director of the MFA in Acting in the School of Dramatic Arts at the University of Southern California.

Lillian GroagLILLIAN GROAG works in the theatre as an actress, writer and director. Her acting credits include Broadway, Off Broadway, Mark Taper Forum, and regional theatres throughout the country.  She has directed at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Old Globe Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Mark Taper Forum’s Taper Too, New York City Opera, Chicago Opera Theatre, Boston Lyric Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Center Stage, The People’s Light and Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory, Milwaukee Repertory, Missouri Repertory, Seattle Repertory, Glimmerglass Opera, Asolo Repertory Theatre, San Jose Repertory,  A.C.T. in San Francisco, The Juilliard School of Music, Florentine Opera, Kentucky Opera,  Arizona Opera, the Sundance Institute Playwrights’ Lab, the Virginia Opera, Opera San Jose and the Company of Angels.  Her plays The Ladies of the Camellias, The White Rose (AT&T award for New American Plays), The Magic Fire (Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays), Menocchio and Midons have been produced variously by the Old Globe Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Kennedy Center, The Guthrie Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Yale Repertory, Denver Center, The Shaw Festival, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Northlight Theatre, the WPA Theatre, Seattle Repertory, the Asolo Theatre, The Wilma Theatre, The People’s Light and Theatre Company, and The Shaw Festival.   Abroad:  Mexico City, Junges Theatre in Bonn, Landesbuhne SachsenAnhalt in Eisleben, Shauspielhaus in Wuppertal, Hessisches Landestheater in Marburg, Shauspielhaus in Stuttgart, Teatro Stabile di Bolzano, (National Tour) in Italy, and Tokyo.  She has done translations and adaptations of Lorca, Feydeau, Musset, Marivaux and Molnar, produced at the Guthrie, the Mark Taper Forum Taper II, and Missouri Rep.  She is an Associate Artist of the Old Globe Theatre. The Ladies of the Camellias, Blood Wedding, The White Rose and The Magic Fire have been published by Dramatists Play Service.  Up coming:  A Nervous Splendour, adaptation, from Frederic Morton’s book, Carmen at Opera Omaha.  Aimee And Jaguar, at A.C.T. and Northwestern University, War Music at the Getty Museum in LA.  Master’s and PhD degrees from Northwestern University in Romance Languages and Literature, Theatre Thesis,  and an Honorary PhD from Lake Forest College.

Marina StefanovskaMALINA STEFANOVSKA: Professor and presently Chair of the Department of French and Francophone Studies has published two books on the French court, politics and society as seen through the eyes of memoir authors of the 17th and 18th century (Saint-Simon, un historien dans les marges, Paris 1998; La politique du cardinal de Retz: passions et factions, Paris, 2007). She has also widely published on French theater,  historiography and memoirs, and co-edited a book on “Self and Space in Early Modern European Cultures (Toronto, 2012). She is presently working on Casanova’s Memoirs and, in her spare time, on her own.

GOLDSBY_Robert recolorROBERT GOLDSBY: has worked in theatre for over sixty years as actor, director, professor, administrator, producer, translator, master teacher, scholar and author. For 30 years (from 1957), he taught acting, dramatic literature and directing in the Dramatic Art Department at the University of California at Berkeley. In the late 1960s, Goldsby was an actor, resident stage director and conservatory director from the beginnings of San Francisco’s celebrated American Conservatory Theater. Additioanlly, Goldsby was a founding director of the legendary Berkeley Stage Company (1974-1984), introducing many important new plays and playwrights to America. Since then, having re-located to Los Angeles, he has worked as actor and director at the major university and professional theatres of the region. Goldsby’s directing credits include work in New York, Paris, Marseille, San Francisco, Berkeley, and points in-between, for a total of 153 productions, including 46 plays from the classical cannon. As both director and scholar, Goldsby has been particularly devoted to Molière, and he has directed 15 productions of 11 of Molière works, some in his own translations. Goldsby has recently published his first book, Molière On Stage: What’s So Funny (Anthem Press: London). He holds a B.A. in French and Comparative Literature from Columbia and an M.F.A. in Acting from Yale. He most recently directed the ClassicsFest 2013 reading of Cyrano de Bergerac for Antaeus, starring JD Cullum.

David RodesDAVID RODES: In 1972 David Rodes received the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award, and in 1995 he was decorated by the French government for his contributions to French intellectual activities. He has held Fulbright, Woodrow Wilson, and Danforth graduate fellowships and in 1968 received a Ph. D. from Stanford University in English Literature. He has taught Shakespeare and 16-18th Century Theater in UCLA’s Department of English since 1966 and has been a consultant for various international stage, film, and television projects on classical theater. In 1994 he and A. R. Braunmuller completed an influential interactive CD-ROM project on Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” From 1989 – 2004, Rodes was the director of UCLA’s prestigious collection of fine art prints, drawings, and photographs, the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, located at the UCLA Hammer Museum. The Grunwald Center’s 40,000 works of art on paper include notable old master works, landscape prints and drawings, 19th-century caricature, French modernist prints and artists’ books, and German Expressionist drawings, prints, and books. Under Rodes’s directorship–and guided by the Center’s associate director and senior curator Cynthia Burlingham–the Center has produced such notable exhibitions and catalogues as “Moonlight Theater: Prints and Related Works by Carlos Almaraz” (1991); “The French Renaissance In Prints” (1994); and “Picturing Childhood: Illustrated Childrens’ Books, 1550-1990″ (1997). Rodes now sits on its board of directors.


Pants on Fire: Rena Strober on The Liar

I come from a very New York Jewish family where my relatives often ask things like

“Rena, are the phones broken in LA? Is that why you can’t call me back? Was there an earthquake? ARE YOU DEAD? I don’t know what I did to deserve this.”

Needless to say I’ve become very good at lying.

“You’re never going to believe this mom, but THE Stephen Spielberg had to turn off all the phones for 5 days so he could film his upcoming movie. It’s another Holocaust story! (That always works)

Because of this new found talent of mine, I was intrigued when Deirdre Murphy asked me to write a blog about the upcoming ClassicsFest 2012 reading of  The Liar by Corneille, adapted by David Ives. I’m not going to… lie and say I’d heard of this play, but neither had Ives when he was asked to translate the original Corneille piece.  More on that later.

I set up a meeting with Danielle K. Jones who initiated the piece. (by ‘meeting’ I mean going to the Republic of Pie)  Danielle showed up looking ever so sexy-chic in a Battle Star Galactica T-shirt and a leather bracelet that I intend on borrowing.

Danielle blushed from the moment we sat down. No, she was not gaga over my irresistible charm, or the berry tea,  she was actually moved to blush over talking about THE LIAR!

She exclaims that the play is “Clever & brilliant’  and that she “wants to take classics and make them accessible to everyone.  Ives took the pentameter and in his own way made it into a ‘funny shticky comedy. Made it modern!”

Ives agrees with Danielle in his introduction stating

“…because the point is not to carry over sentences from one language to another, but to produce a credible, speakable, playable, produceable play for today no matter what’s in the original.”

Listening to her enthusiasm was inspiring.  Who knew that this French comedy could illicit such excitement?

Not only is Danielle looking forward to bringing this modern classic to life, but fellow cast member Brooke Bastinelli has her own sexy reasons for diving into this French world;

“I am most excited about playing a lively French character. My dear friend just moved to Paris and I very much want to visit. Needless to say, France is often on my mind.”

I’m hoping Brooke has no problem with me joining her on this trip.

Before you go update your Facebook status (about going to see The Liar) I want to go back to something I mentioned in the beginning. In the Introduction for The Liar, David Ives tells the reader a little about his experience with the translation.  I admire his honesty, humor and excitement for this play. He and Danielle would really made a great couple. Let me share a little of Ives with you;

When my agent called and asked if I’d be interested in translating Corneille’s The Liar for the Shakespeare Theatre Company of Washington, I had never heard of the play. Nor had he.

In any case: “Send the script along,” I told my agent. “I’ll take a look at it.”

He sent, I looked, and several hours later, with the help of a fat French dictionary, I found myself astonished. Exhilarated. Giddy. For, lying on the desk before me, was one of the world’s great comedies. I felt as if some lost Shakespeare festival comedy on the order of Twelfth Night or Much Ado about Nothing had been found. This particular Shakespeare comedy was unfortunately locked away in French (the French have a way of doing things like that), but I could remedy that. The prospect of Englishing this play made me feel like Ronald Colman distantly sighting Shangri-La.

Everything about it spoke to me. The rippling language. The rich simplicity of the premise. The gorgeousness of the set pieces. The seeming insouciance of the treatment alongside the classical rigor of the plotting. The way the play’s wide understanding and humanity was nicely seasoned with several large pinches of social satire. The Liar is one of those plays that seem to be made out of almost nothing, yet end up being about so much. The Importance of Being Earnest comes to mind, and Hay Fever.

It’s one of those plays that are both a view on our world and their own separate world, one that we would happily inhabit.

I mean, does it get any more exciting than that?!

Personally, I am looking forward to the incredible cast that Danielle has assembled and watching the magic that is The Liar. It is full of humor, pentameter, lies, love, truth and TWINS! I can’t imagine a better night out at the theater.

As a new member of the Antaeus Academy, I am in awe of the passion and dedication that the people of this company have. And yes, I also love the snacks that I usually find in the communal kitchen at the theater. I owe someone a few handful of M&Ms.

And in the words of David Ives;

“The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, as refracted in a theatrical fun-house mirror. Welcome to The Liar.”

Antaeus Academy Member, Rena Strober, shares her first impressions of David Ives’ version of The Liar, next up in ClassicsFest 2012.  The project is directed by Frank Dwyer.  Tickets are now on sale.