School for Lies
by John Stoltenberg
The set that we see is a towering eyeful,
The interior decorator spared nary a trifle,
For decked all about are amusing objets d’art
On loan from museums with tastes tres bizarre.
Claes Oldenberg’s oversize cherry and spoon’s
Propped opposite that dog in balloons by Jeff Koons,
Which is hung in a bird cage directly ovah
Salvador Dali’s Mae West lips sofa.
So many cultured sculptures from who knows where,
Plus Pedro Friedeberg’s gold hand chair!
Could it be these fine artworks are what meet our eyes?
Or might we be in for a bigger surprise?
Bingo, in case you’re still paying attention:
This comedy is shot through with pretension.
Ergo its title, a snarky rant
Against society’s predilection for cant.
Mon dieu! another drama about truth and illusion!
Have we not seen such plays in profusion?
Why dust off Molière for our modern amusement?
He’s yesterday’s news, man, what’s the inducement?
The dude wrote in French, he has to be translated
What was funny back then has got to be outdated.
Bottom line, can we enjoy what’s about to go on?
Absolutament! And yes we Kahn.
The costumes alone are enough to drop jaws
The foppery and finery would give Sun King pause.
He’d invite the whole cast to Versailles too
Since they’re all worthy of giving high fives to.
I was nuts about the show if you haven’t deduced.
The performance could not have been better produced
But what got me hooked was the way it was written,
David Ives’ script had me totally smitten.
His crackerjack couplets, his playful bag of tricks,
Made my ears want more and more as if I needed a fix.
When he worked in some words that were crude or risque
It was like I’d been tossed a verbal bouquet.
Once he even mimicked Valleyspeak and rap
And my higher cortex went, Oh snap!
For an hour and a half this went on and on
As ear candy goes it was bon upon bon bon
Delicious his rhymes were, like fine French fromage,
I could not resist serving up this homage.
So delightful they were, so wicked and sublime,
Oh yes! said my mind, hit me up one more time!
And then it hit me I’d been guessing or predicting
How each couplet would finish. God it got addicting!
Some might surmise all this rhyming’d be annoying
But I’m here to tell you it was not at all cloying.
It altered my brain, rearranged how I listened
Linguistic piss and vinegar made me totally blissened.
If you see School for Lies, which I heartily recommend
You will hear what I mean: The script has pleasures no end.
Running Time: 90 minutes, with no intermission.
The School for Lies plays through July 9, 2017, at Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Lansburgh Theatre – 450 7th Street, NW, in Washington, DC. For tickets, call the box office at (202) 547-1122, or purchase them online.