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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Theatre and Dance


The Lab Theatre gets a double dose of comedy in an evening of one-acts by acclaimed playwright Peter Shaffer.

The UofSC Department of Theatre and Dance

The White Liars / Black Comedy

Written by Peter Shaffer
Directed by Lane Christopher and Curtis Smoak

September 23-26, 2017

Lab Theatre
1400 Wheat St.

Show Times: 
8pm nightly

$10, available only at the door

The two clever one-acts by acclaimed playwright Peter Shaffer (Amadeus, Equus) have delighted audiences since they premiered in the mid-1960s.  In The White Liars, directed by student Lane Christopher, a down-and-out fortune teller is visited by two new clients, each hoping to use her wiles to manipulate the other.  In the uproarious Black Comedy, directed by student Curtis Smoak, a young artist tries to impress both his fiancé’s father and a haughty art dealer by “borrowing” his antique-collecting neighbor’s expensive furnishings.  When the neighbor shows up unexpectedly in the midst of a power outage, our hero frantically attempts to return the stolen goods and keep his unknowing guests “in the dark.” 

“…a pleasure to behold.” — Backstage
"A dazzling comic ballet." — New York Daily News 

Christopher says audiences can expect to be intrigued by not just the story of The White Liars, but also by its intensely heightened melodrama.  “This isn’t an inherently funny script itself,” she says, “yet the situations of the characters are utterly ridiculous, making [it] a perfect chance to explore comedy and drama.”

Outlandish farce is brought to the fore in Black Comedy, a highly physical comedy which ups the ante with a bit of ingenious lighting.  When the play begins, it’s performed in complete darkness.  When the story’s “power outage” occurs, however, the theatre’s lights turn on, giving the audience an uproarious vantage point on the main character’s ever-increasing crisis as he trips and falls around the apartment while feverishly trying to keep his ruse under wraps.

It promises to be an evening of hilarity, but with a degree of underlying self-observation, says Christopher.  “Both of the one-acts discuss the modern obsession with social standing, and attempt to flip this obsession on its head with a few laughs.  Together they should make for a surprisingly introspective evening.”

Cast in The White Liars are Nicholas Good, Tristan Hester, Alex Long, and Cameron Shaw.   The Black Comedy cast is comprised of Thomas Duncan, David Neil Edwards, Owen Heckman, Olivia Hensley, Will Hollerung, Mason Howard, Verity Moring, and Landry Phillips.

For more information on The White Liars and Black Comedy or the theatre program at the University of South Carolina, contact Kevin Bush by phone at 803-777-9353 or via email at