“The Truth About Truth (Everything is Breakfast Food),” as a title, reveals very little about the play’s content. And creator Ethan Cohen ’16 would not have it any other way. As “The Truth About Truth” actress Erin Leahy ’16 stated in an emailed statement, “The title is a witty summary of the play, which aims to reveal all the brilliant and strange truths in the world and in Ethan Cohen’s head.”
The team responsible for putting “The Truth About Truth” together is made up of nine cast members, plus a production team and student writer.
The show is a drama, but it is made up of humorous and absurdist scenarios that separate it from other shows of its genre. The Facebook page for “The Truth About Truth (Everything is Breakfast Food)” gives the team’s introduction to the show, “Welcome to a world of comedic situations, love triangles, Klezmer dancing, kings, superheroes and incredibly down-to-earth and thought-provoking lines. Follow the sometimes absurd, sometimes farcical, sometimes surreal but always truthful journey of a few friends dealing with unusually usual circumstances.”
Beyond the event’s description, very little is known about “The Truth About Truth.” Even the cast of the show is perplexed and intrigued by how different the show is from other dramas. Leahy, who plays Kimberly in the show, explained, “The show is different from others in so many ways I can’t really begin to answer it. It doesn’t quite take place in this universe: The characters are really more vessels for the exploration of truth and friendship than real people. It’s an over-the-top show where things seem to happen for no reason, but Ethan has a brilliant and subtle explanation for every single aspect of the show.”
The title of the show, “The Truth about Truth (Everything is Breakfast Food),” plays into the absurdity and content of Cohen’s creation. Leahy said, “I imagine it’s called ‘The Truth About Truth’ because the God-like character, Martin (Alex Treitel) throughout the play is explaining and exploring the nature of truth. There is a lot of word-play and rhetoric in the play, so of course we’re not just looking for the truth, but the truth about truth.”
Cohen stayed mum in his commentary about having created and directed the show, but those who are working on it were not afraid to comment. “Remarkably, Ethan wrote the first draft of the play in one week. What a guy,” said actor Evan Chyriwski ’17. He added, “Ethan has also been a great resource for clarification on our characters, as well as allowing us to develop them ourselves as much as possible.”
The commitment to having a good group dynamic among the show’s team served to strengthen the show in ways that hadn’t been expected. During rehearsals, the cast was encouraged to heckle the other characters on the play while on stage, which required a group that got along well. These interactions added many new elements to the show that made it even more personal. Leahy commented on what she called unorthodox rehearsals, saying, “We also had a running joke about communist Russia and gulags that became a common thread throughout the show. This sort of, ‘What did you say? That’s funny. Do that every time,’ process has been one of my favorite parts of working on the show.”
The cast did not only enjoy the different approach to rehearsals that the show had, but they also enjoyed the show’s unique and even strange nature in general. Leahy wrote, “The best thing about it is how the play is lighthearted but [interspersed] with incredibly deep philosophical ideas and truths about the world and friendship. It’s a different kind of play, and I love that.”
So what exactly is the truth about truth? “Even if I were to ask Ethan the answer, and he were to tell me, his answer would mean nothing compared to artistic evidence,” said Lindsay Lucido ’16, the show’s stage manager. “As for the title, as Ethan says, ‘You have to see it and decide for yourself.’”
If you’re interested in seeing “The Truth About Truth (Everything is Breakfast Food),” its debut is quickly approaching. The show will be performed April 3, 4 and 5 in Sanders Auditorium at 8 p.m.