The Liar


Writers: Pierre Corneille


Show Information

Number of Acts
First Produced
Comedy, Farce
Multiple Settings, Unit/Single Set
Time & Place
17th century, paris, france
Cast Size
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes young adult, adult, mature adult, late teen characters


In Pierre Corneille’s frothy yet biting comedy of light hearts and lighter words, trouble arrives in Paris in the form of Dorante, a young law student with martial and marital ambitions. To achieve his ends, Dorante happily spins a web of outrageous lies, which, ultimately, lands him in hot water, when he falls for the beautiful and witty Clarice. Mistaking her identity for that of her quiet friend, Lucrece, Dorante unwittingly courts the wrong girl and enrages the right one -- unless it is really Lucrece for whom his heart has been yearning? With his father, Geronte, out to arrange his marriage; his friend, Alcippe, now a jealous and violence-prone rival, and the lovely ladies accusing him of bigamy, Dorante has his work cut out for him. Will he be able to talk his way out of every sticky situation? Will he confess and apologize for his many misleading statements? …Or has he been speaking some manner of truth all along? Full of delicious language and wicked banter, hearts aflame with jealousy and aflutter with infatuation, multitudes of mistaken identities, and a few basic truths about money and status, The Liar is a delightful and silly romp through 17th century Paris.

Note: The most recent and popular English translation is not strictly a translation, but a new adaptation by David Ives, who cut some characters, fleshed out some others, wrote new scenes and conversations, and generally made the show his own. While this guide follows a translation closer to Corneille’s original, the video clips included are of Ives’ adaptation,, which gives a good idea of the period detail, energy, and pacing of the story.

Lead Characters

The Liar guide sections