Truth Hurts | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Truth Hurts 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

LIE DETECTOR

Cricket Playhouse

at Center Theater Studio

You understand, sir, that in reviewing Cricket Playhouse's premiere of Lie Detector, by David Silvis, any inaccuracy in your comments will show up as a flutter on this polygraph machine to which we've hooked you up.

Yes, sir.

Good. You understand further that polygraph exams function best when the respondent gives the same answer to every question asked. I will ask you a series of questions and you must respond no to each of them. If I detect a dishonest response, I will rephrase the question until no is the accurate response. Do you understand?

No.

Good, I'm getting a flutter, I can detect your dishonesty. Are you sitting comfortably?

No.

Good. We like the honesty you're showing. All right. The test has begun. Did you enjoy David Silvis's Lie Detector, a two-act satire about a man applying for a job at the CIA whose unflappable honesty makes life miserable for both himself and his polygraph interrogators?

No.

Did you find the acting somehow substandard?

No.

Do you disagree that David Wagner in the role of Richard the job applicant gives a winnng and surprisingly deep performance in a role that required him to spend most of his time saying no?

No.

Do you disagree when I say that Robert A. Mullen as one of four interrogators gives a hilarious deadpan performance, grilling the candidate about his previous experiences with drugs and homosexuality?

No.

Ahh, well. So it wasn't the acting. Maybe the set?

No.

I quite agree. Perhaps a bit spare but quite functional. Then it must have been the script itself that gave you trouble?

No.

I'm detecting a flutter here. Let me rephrase the question. Were you completely happy with the script penned by David Silvis?

No.

Good. Do you think perhaps the script went on too long, needlessly repeating the same interrogation process of the squeaky-clean Richard?

No.

I'm detecting a flutter again. I'll rephrase. Did you find it necessary that Silvis, in his satire of application procedures, stretch the battery of tests over two acts?

No.

Did it serve a thematic purpose?

Well, yes. No. Well, maybe at first. But as it went on, it got tiresome and . . .

Please sir, you're disrupting the flow. I must ask you to answer only with the word no. Do you disagree that Mr. Silvis's Philip Glass-like repetition of demands by the flustered interrogators that Richard alter his honest responses was at first amusing but after a while excruciating?

No.

Do you disagree that when Mr. Silvis tried to liven up the interrogation process with a horny and particularly nosy interrogator that he veered from accuracy into the land of implausible comedy?

No.

Would it have been difficult for an editor to slice this overlong two-act play into an entertaining one-act?

No.

Would the play have suffered much from slicing it in this manner?

No.

Do you feel that either the playwright or the Cricket Playhouse cast is without talent?

No.

Do you agree that both cast and playwright could have benefited from a more ambitious play, one that tackled headier CIA issues than merely its application procedures?

No.

I'm getting a flutter. Do you agree that the author's great ear for dialogue and keen sense of rhythm could have been put to better purpose than this mildly diverting but overdone minimalist work?

No.

It's fluttering again. Do you disagree with my previous contention?

No.

Is there anything else you'd like to say?

No.

Would you like a ham sandwich?

No.

Good. The test has ended.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Adam Langer

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Bus Stop Athenaeum Theatre
July 19
Performing Arts
Tempel Lipizzans Tempel Farms
June 19

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories