New Village Players talent takes on iambic pentameter with ‘The Liar’Written by Matt Liasse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Village Player’s upcoming production of “The Liar” will showcase new talent.
The play features two Bowling Green State University students in the cast, Nathan Naugle as Alcippe and Megan Guidry as Clarice, who know each other from the university’s theater department.
“This is actually the first show that I’ve done that’s not a musical. … I wanted to get out there and experience other aspects of theater,” Naugle said.
Naugle was talked into auditioning by Guidry; the Village Players were looking for someone to play Alcippe and she told him to go for it. The two were familiar with the script because it was recently performed by BGSU’s Department of Theatre and Film.
“That’s one of my main reasons behind auditioning,” Naugle said.
Producer Chris Jagodzinski, The Village Players’ vice president of public relations, is excited about the new talent in the cast for this show. Many cast members are not only new to the theater, but to Northwest Ohio.
“We have been so lucky with the immense talent right in our own backyard,” Jagodzinski said in a news release. “[It] only reinforces the fact that Toledo is overflowing with talented people who enjoy acting and are committed to supporting local arts.”
Returning to the director’s chair is Barbara Barkan, who has worked with The Village Players many times before and is excited to work with the young cast.
“It is always a delight to welcome new people and to encourage their interest in community theater, to keep it growing and vibrant,” Barkan said in an email.
The cast is appreciating her devotion to the play as well.
“Working with Barbara as a director has been really helpful,” Guidry said. “She has firsthand experience of what it’s like to be an actor versus being a director, so that experience has been very eye-opening. … She really understands the text and each character individually. … She knows what she wants from us and then she also gives us an opportunity and chance to figure out who our characters are on our own.”
For every new actor, there’s a veteran: playing father and son for a second Village Players production is Jon Masters as Dorante and David Engel as Geronte.
“This will be the third production that we have been together. Interestingly enough, the last play I did at The Village Players last year, I portrayed his father. Small world,” Engel said.
Engel said he has enjoyed getting to know Masters over the course of the three productions.
“In my eye, his talent has increased,” Engel said. “He is really standing out and getting better and better, more confident and more talented with each production that I’ve seen him in.”
“The Liar” follows Dorante, who has trouble with telling the truth. Throughout the show, Dorante meets Clinton (played by Evan James Copeland), a manservant who cannot tell a lie, falls in love with Clarice, mistaking her for Lurcrece (played by Debbie Altman) when Clarice is already engaged to his best friend Alcippe. According to a news release, “from all these misunderstandings and a series of breathtakingly intricate lies springs one of the Western world’s greatest comedies.”
The script, adapted recently by David Ives, was originally written by Pierre Corneille. The play is set in Paris in 1643, which presented the first challenge of the show: it is written in iambic pentameter.
“[Barbara] helped us appreciate that if there is a rhyme in every line and a rhythm, we have to speak as people speak and allow our speech patterns to sometimes run a rhyme into the next sentence and not make it just straight forward,” Engel said. “Being creative about how to say the words in a way that sounds natural but allows the rhymes has been lots of fun.”
The language of the script made the first few rehearsals challenging.
“It started out that way because, within the script itself, there were a lot of words we had to look up, finding the meanings of some of these words and how to pronounce them,” Naugle said. “Once we got over that and once we actually started working with the script and going through it, it became, I think, easier.”
Engel said it took a little orientation before he got the hang of it. Afterward, he added, it was fun to play with.
Another challenge faced was Mother Nature. Because of the snow this winter, some rehearsals had to be cancelled.
“For a short while, I thought we may have difficulty pulling this off,” Engel said. “The efficiency in which Barbara conducts rehearsals and the attentiveness of the cast members have more than made up difficulty of getting together as frequently as we would’ve liked to have.”