The Liar (Corneille)

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The Liar
Written by Pierre Corneille
Date premiered 1644
Original language French

The Liar (French: Le Menteur) is a farcical play by Pierre Corneille that was first performed in 1644. It was based on La Verdad Sospechosa by the Spanish-American playwright Juan Ruíz de Alarcón, which was published in 1634.


Dorante, the eponymous quasi-villain of the play, meets two women in the Tuileries in Paris, whose names are Clarice and Lucrece. He impresses them with his claim to have returned recently from the wars in Germany and boasts of the vital role he played. After they leave, he decides to court Clarice, mistakenly thinking her name to be that of her friend, Lucrece.

Géronte, Dorante's father, announces to his son that he has found a girl for him to marry (Clarice). Dorante, wrongly believing that the girl that he likes is Lucrece, concocts an outrageous lie that he is already married in order to avoid having to marry Clarice.

After more fabulations and complications (Dorante revealing that his "wife" is pregnant), Géronte is infuriated to discover that he was lied to; Dorante eventually tells the truth and the plot is resolved happily.

Production history[edit]

The play was produced at the Old Vic theater in 1989, in a translation by Ranjit Bolt. The production was directed by Jonathan Miller. A reviewer for The Daily Telegraph described Bolt's version as "the best translation of a French play into English ever done."[citation needed]

A new translation and adaptation of the play by David Ives premiered at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. in Spring 2010, under the direction of Michael Kahn.[1][2] A new production of Ives' script directed by William Brown[disambiguation needed] is being presented at Writers' Theatre in Glencoe, Illinois, from May to July, 2013.[3]

The Los Angeles premiere of The Liar by David Ives directed by Casey Stangl will be presented at The Antaeus Company in North Hollywood from October to December 2013.[4]


  1. ^ Shakespeare Theatre website.
  2. ^ Playwright Adapts French Play 'The Liar'. NPR, April 20, 2010.
  3. ^
  4. ^ [1]