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Florian Zeller

The Lie

Le Mensonge

Director Jernej Kobal
Comedy
Openings September/October 2020

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A married couple has invited another married couple to dinner. They are best friends. But things get complicated because the hostess believes she has spotted her friend’s husband kissing another woman in the street. She wants to cancel the dinner party because she feels she must tell her friend the truth. But her husband tries to convince her that in life it is sometimes necessary to tell a lie or hide the truth as a sign of love and tact, and that there is no point in getting involved in the lives of others. This ethical moral dilemma soon evolves into a wild labyrinth of deceits, truths and lies in which no one knows anymore who is cheating on whom and with whom, and whether all four are actually faithful or unfaithful. The latter does not matter anymore. What really matters is the trust a person loses when one catches their loved one lying. This is why the play is resolved reassuringly: both couples decide to re-establish mutual trust despite possibly divergent facts, since they have realized that to insist on the truth could lead to a total war. Or, in the words of one of the protagonists, if everyone told everyone the truth, no one in this world would talk to anyone anymore.
Florian Zeller (1979) is a French playwright, novelist and director who is no stranger to Slovenian theatre goers. A successful production of his play The Father has been played for three years in our theatre. His comedy The Truth was staged a few years ago at the Slovenian Permanent Theatre in Trieste and was also presented at the Celje Days of Comedy Festival in 2018. Most recently, his play The Son opened at the Mini teater in Ljubljana. Zeller has won the most prestigious French and international playwriting awards, including the Molière Award and the Laurence Olivier Award.
In his plays, Zeller tackles the theme of lies and truth. Most often he tries to resolve the eternal dilemma within one’s family circle that is believed to be most open and receptive in embracing the truth. However, it often transpires that one’s family tends to be subjected to lies and deception. In today’s world, we are inundated by fake news spread deliberately by the social networks allowing individual people to achieve political goals and gain social influence. The truth is becoming increasingly relative, not only in the metaphysical, Rashomon-like sense, but objectively too: facts are being falsified, lies are being circulated. To make the truth relative equals legalizing the lie. Ethics? What is it again? is the question posed by rare loners who do not find the ancient Ten Commandments an obsolete inanity. But as we take a peek under the shroud of our own family secrets, it might make sense to sweep in front of one’s own door first. Or not? Who the hell can tell?

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