(Charles Isherwood’s article appeared in the New York Times, 1/26; via Pam Green.)
Dorante, the title character in Pierre Corneille’s 17th-century comedy “The Liar,” has a little problem with truth-telling. Even when it serves no discernible purpose, he compulsively and ceaselessly — er, how shall I put it? Makes false statements? Proffers unsubstantiated assertions? Presents alternative facts?
Well, since Dorante (Christian Conn) is himself so blithe about his penchant for fabrication — and we are talking matters of romantic comedy, not matters of state — let us just say that he cannot not tell a lie.
Setting his sights on the comely Clarice (Ismenia Mendes), whom he sees strolling in a Paris park, Dorante, portrayed with swashbuckling heartiness by Mr. Conn, boasts that he’s a soldier from the German wars — although, in fact, he ditched a boring law career in another city. When she demurs at his sudden intimacy, he insists that he’s been haunting her doorstep for six months — when, really, he has arrived in Paris just hours before.