<em>The School for Lies</em>

Courtesy Photo

The School for Lies

‘The School for Lies’ Is a Boisterous, Self-Aware Comedy

Play Brings Satire of French Playwright Molière into the 21st Century

The School for Lies, the first show of Ensemble Theatre Company’s 40th-anniversary season, is an effervescent comedy of manners that brings the satire of famed French playwright Molière into the 21st century. Translated/adapted by David Ives, The School for Lies comments on the social buffoonery of the bourgeois class, rotten with self-involved affectations; gossipy, two-faced sycophancy; and petty retribution at the slightest bruised ego. Directed by Jonathan Fox, Ives’s play inserts sophisticated, sharp-witted language into the entertaining absurdity of Keeping Up with the Kardashians for a boisterous, self-aware comedy.

Frank (Adam Mondschein) has a salty disposition and refuses to follow the rules of social niceties. He meets the equally acerbic widow, Celimene (Jill Van Velzer), and the two begin trading barbs — a practice that has landed both parties in nasty defamation lawsuits. In an attempt to teach them a lesson, mutual acquaintance Philinte (Matt Wolpe) tells Celimene that Frank is the king’s bastard son and has the social standing to nullify her lawsuit. Celimene turns on the charm to garner Frank’s favor; Frank, meanwhile, has learned from Philinte that Celimene is madly in love with him. The two begin a highly ridiculous romance riddled with the comic repercussions of lies, secrets, and misunderstandings. From the garish drag of Celimene’s foppish suitors to the frequently ignored fourth wall to the sassy rhymed-couplet dialogue, The School for Lies commits to good-natured comic absurdity that feels relevant and modern.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

Santa Barbara Priests Named in New Abuse Reports

Twelve men accused of child molestation served in area parishes.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Far Higher than Projected

The county misses its target by a whopping 29 percentage points.

Toasts and Roasts for Wolf and Hart

There will be a changing of the guard for the second supervisorial district.

ICE Detains Individual on Westside

Enforcement action on Wednesday morning questioned community members and picked up one person.

Rough Start for San Marcos Principal Search

Parents and board members are demanding more transparency from the district.