Come And Witness The Lasting Fun Of Liars
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Come And Witness The Lasting Fun Of Liars
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  • 승인 2003.05.07 00:00
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"You"ll soon find it funny as the play begins. Be careful. Try not to fall out of your seat. Laugh when everybody else laughs. Don"t be left out or it will affect the actors!" The play "Liar," begins with some strange instructions, mostly on the right way to laugh. But the audience does not seem confused or put off. The small underground theater is filled almost every night to its capacity of 100.
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"Liar" is a Korean version of "Run For Your Wives," a play by Ray Cooney that was first put on stage in 1983, at the Shaftesbury Art Centre in London. Currently it has been translated into about 30 different languages and is now on stage in many countries, including Korea, where it was first introduced in 1999 and has since been staged more than 1,300 times. The play drew attention when about 40 percent of the audience returned to see it more than two times, and "Liar" is now being put on stage by PaPa Productions every day at the Saem-tuh Parangsae Theater.
In the play, John Smith, a cab driver, has two homes for two wives. His first wife Mary lives on 25 Wimbledon Street, and his second wife Barbara lives on 47 Streetham. Wimbledon and Streetham are about five-minutes apart, but, with a precise and well-organized schedule, John has never missed an appointment and, therefore, neither wife suspects him of a double life.

However, his perfect two-home life faces disclosure when John gets involved in an accident. Detective Trotten and Detective Porterhouse from each district visit John to investigate. Realizing that he cannot deceive both of them by himself, John tells the truth to Stanley, a jobless bum who lives on the second floor. The two lie to the detectives and the two wives, and do whatever is necessary to find a way out of the situation. But, in the process, each character introduces himself to the others in two or three different roles, without knowing what the others are thinking.

Stanley, who appears as a character with never-been-washed hair and a messy sleeveless undershirt, suddenly becomes a farmer to Barbara, but plays the part of John Smith to Porterhouse, and uses Stanley as the name of John"s nonexistent son, while he himself is pretending to be John, and finally claims to be John"s secret lover to everyone. To the audience, who knows the truth, the fantastic structure of lies is hilarious.

But in fact, in "Liar," the truth is sloppy and falsehood seems more logical. Each lie makes a piece of the jigsaw puzzle, which makes perfect sense when put together and even persuades the audience. When Mary says in a naive voice, "John is worth two people. He deserves it!" the audience is concerned, worrying about the aftershock of a possible failure of the web of lies.

Another success of the production is that, throughout the story of a complicated two-home life, the stage setting is as simple as this: A couch, two doors, two windows, and two telephones. Despite the simple setting, the clearly portrayed characters entrance the audience and make them fully concentrate on the stage for 100 minutes. Seats are close to the stage, and that makes people feel more involved. Soon the audience is united, simultaneously laughing as Stanley "comes out," surprised at the sudden appearance of the detectives.

Audience member Kim Byung-kook (20) says, "I could only laugh, laugh, and laugh at those clever and funny situations. Though, I couldn"t help but ask "Am I sure what I know is true? What is the truth and what is the lie?" This is an impressive play that shows deep insight into human life."

"A novel idea and a burst of laughter for 100 minutes," is what it says on the ticket for "Liar." If you are a person who likes to be self-reflective, but not in a negative way, you will find the ending of "Liar" touching and impressive. "Liar" truly shows the audience what the fate would be today of the boy who cried wolf.

happydream83@ewha.ac.kr

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