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April 30, 2018 | by  | in Arts Theatre |
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The Lie

If you’re going to have an audience, any audience, sit through a 2-hour performance, and one 15-minute interval, you better have a damn good play on offer. I’m no so sure if The Lie passes this test.

I will say I left the theatre with a lot to think about. If a piece can make you think about the world in some way or another, then it’s doing fairly good. My car ride home was spent mouthing off about unhealthy relationships, infidelity, middle-class theatre, and misogyny.

The premise of The Lie is about a woman who sees her friend’s husband kissing another woman. Does she tell her friend? Is lying the best thing to protect her? Why is her husband so insistent on her not telling her friend? Unfortunately, these seemingly simple questions take two hours for the play to answer.

The Lie aims to address lying and love, in friendships and relationships. It asks if lying and love can co-exist. It presents infidelity as a common occurrence in any monogamous marriage, and as a young, intersectional queer feminist writer this presumption sat quite uncomfortably with me. Perhaps some are comfortable with this idea of relationships, but if these lying elements were present in more youthful relationships, they would be labelled as toxic, unhealthy, and borderline abusive.

There was also no resolution to the issues faced in the play, just continued ignorance and compliance. While maybe this does reflect many relationships, I personally just wasn’t interested in watching and hearing about it. I asked my mother half way through if we wanted to leave because I was finding it painful to watch. We stayed, nonetheless.

It must be acknowledged that the audience, who were majority white and elderly, did really enjoy The Lie. I was the outlier.

Switching into theatre politics, tickets for the show were $25-$54, which is not feasible for most students. The couples presented in the play were upper middle class, with their red wine and fancy art. They argue over “not wanting to cause a row” in someone else’s relationship because it’s “none of their business”. In first year theatre we talked about Ibsen’s A Dolls House, a perfect example of “Middle Class Theatre” about middle class issues. I believe the same concept applies well to The Lie.

Theatre can affirm or isolate people’s life experience. For me, I found this play incredibly isolating. The things that were presented as big issues seemed mild to the things I’m worried about, like my mental health, or issues with WINZ.  But, importantly, for the elderly audience members who had quite clearly made an effort to get out to a show, 4pm on a Sunday afternoon, The Lie was very affirmative. They could relate, see themselves and friends within the characters, understand the social and class politics that were going on. Whenever I rolled my eyes or grimaced, they were laughing.

Despite the glowing reviews The Lie has gotten from the likes of the UK Guardian, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

The Lie is showing at Circa Theatre until 5 May 2018. See the Circa Theatre website for more information.

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