There’s something in the water at George Washington School. Literally. A truck carrying sodium pentothal – a chemical also known as “truth serum” – has crashed into the local lake and spilled its cargo into the drinking water, and now everyone in school can’t help telling the truth. Teachers are fighting, parents are pouting, kids are confessing their crimes, and the school’s beloved Principal Van Vleck has gone missing. Paulie, Tibby, Seth and Analise are getting ready to compete in the school’s Olympic Mind Games as Team Electricity. The competition is in just a few days, and they’re barely speaking to each other. Can they pull together for the performance, or will their honesty tear the team apart? Will Principal Van Vleck come out of hiding? What is his terrible secret? And why, for goodness’ sake, does everything smell like rotten onions?
PLAYWRIGHT JIM ADOLF TALKS ABOUT
I CANNOT TELL A LIE AT GEORGE WASHINGTON SCHOOL:
1. What inspired you to write this play?
I read an article about sodium pentothal - truth serum - and I thought it would be interesting (and funny!) to see what would happen if kids in a school were compelled to tell the truth, without knowing what was happening.
2. What's your favorite part or line in the play? Why?
I really enjoy the scene in which the kids, Johna and Paulie, call a "family meeting" and turn the tables on their parents. The role reversal -- kids in charge, parents acting immature -- was really fun to bring to life.
3. Where did the characters come from? Are they based on people you know?
There's a little bit of my family -- me, my wife Michele, and our daughters Josie and Maggie -- in the characters for sure. But much of the raw material for the characters came from kids and teachers I've met as my kids went through school.
4. What did you try to achieve with this play?
I wanted the play to be funny but also to provoke some thought: what would happen if we were all forced to tell the truth at all times? Would it be a disaster? Would it be wonderful? Beyond the secrets that we'd spill, I'd like to believe that we'd all be a little more tolerant of each other's flaws, knowing that each of us has embarrassing secrets we'd rather not share.
5. Do you have anything else you'd like to add?
Hope you enjoy it!