Get Cultured — March 13, 2015 at 3:57 pm

“C.O.A.L (Confessions of a Liar)” Gives us Hard Truth



Everyone hear this now! New work in theater is alive and well!

That’s how I felt after watching David Brian Colbert’s playC.O.A.L (Confessions of a Liar) at the 59E59 Theaters. The play is a strong, clever, and contains a sneakily deep exploration about how lies are what construct the truth in this society. Our hero is called Coal, and introduces himself by blatantly telling us how he is going to lie about the whole thing. He warns us to not feel much about what he says since it probably won’t be true. This approach creates a light atmosphere from the get go that ends up working so well to contrast the seriousness that comes later on in the script. The themes are dark; his story is one of hardship, but you never feel dread or pity. You actually do not know how to feel. And when the situations arise, we are treated to these big questions of morality, respect, class division, and the importance of being an individual. This is a good thing. Actually, this is a wonderful thing.

The play is a one-man show with four actors. The actors come from every diversity and background. Race and gender are barely touched in the script, besides to talk about characters in his life. This creates a universe that the audience can relate to without having to feel part of the community. He was poor — we gather that — but we never know if he is black or white. We only know that his family comes from Baltimore, and that now they are in the south. That simplicity makes us feel comfort in our seats while we watch the precise choreography in which director Craig Baldwin has staged it. Because of this, and the performances by Lisa Bostnar, Mirirai Sithole, Jackson Tanner, and the writer himself (understudy for Evander Duck, who wasn’t at the performance I saw), we are transfixed, transported, and ultimately transformed by this work.


You see, because the play is not just about that. It’s not just about what’s being told below the light grid. It is about much more. About the power of lying, the safety it provides, why we do it, why we run so many times to it to be able to move forward, to deal with trauma, to get out of a bad situation, and how ultimately it is the lies we tell who define us and our real life. Could you live with that? After all, the truth is sometimes more fantastic.

This kind of work deserves the attention it wants. New work this poignant is scarce in bigger theaters because of the nature of the industry nowadays. “C.O.A.L (Confessions of a Liar)” will be playing until March 22 at 59E59 Theaters. Everybody should go and see what this production team has accomplished with David Brian Colbert’s play. It’s a work to be proud of, and it will only cost you 80 minutes of your day.

So how much does it gets out of 4 stars:



*All images via Carol Rosegg

Twisted Talk: What’s the last production you saw in New York City? Have you been to 59E59 Theaters before? Discuss below!

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