by Brian Drader
ISBN: 0920486614

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A Review of: Liar
by Lia Marie Talia

Brian Drader is a Canadian playwright who examine the contours of contemporary marriage. Drader's Liar begins with tragedy and explores the fallout that this brings to a marriage, wrenching a couple out of the comfort of a stable union into a state of confusion and uncertainty. Through meeting these challenges, the writer suggests, couples can create a stronger bond that defies conventional expectations.
Liar is a taut, traditionally-structured two-act play that employs multiple settings-a rooftop, bedroom, kitchen, and backyard-and employs a television set projecting "a broken, jumpy image of two people making love" to reinforce the theme of lost domestic intimacy. The play revolves around Mark, an alluring, chameleon-like drifter who allows the genial Jeremy to pick him up at a gay bar. Soon Jeremy is dead and Mark is encroaching on his sister Sherri's home, disrupting her seemingly stable marriage to Ben. Mark is a keeper of secrets, which the play reveals in stages, stringing the audience along until we, like the characters, must form our own conclusions from a confusing array of clues. Mark's actions force Sherri and Ben to confront one another about their long-hidden personal traumas. Formerly isolated by their own unarticulated pain, they enable Mark to act as a catalyst and reawaken their desire to communicate and share their feelings. Ultimately redemptive, the play challenges our ideas about intimacy and asks us to consider the nature of truth and whether, in the playwright's words, "truth can be built on lies."
By exploring intimacy through both staging and theme, this play reveals the obstacles to communication and the delicate process of maintaining individual identity in relation to a shared identity within a marriage. To use feminist theorist Judith Butler's vocabulary, the performative aspect of a pair's relationship, the way two individuals act-out their identity as a couple, demonstrates the effort that building and maintaining a marriage, or any close relationship, requires. It also highlights for the audience the difficulty of this arrangement and the fact that it requires of two individuals to go beyond received notions of marriage to create a more sustaining union. Ultimately, the play asserts that to be troubled' can lead to a more profound understanding of one's spouse and a greater appreciation for the less conventional aspects of intimacy and love.

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