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~ Francine Conley ~

"Truth or Dare!" (1998)

VHS videos & DVD samples available upon request

Artist's Statement

As children, we played the game "Truth or Dare?"  A group of kids sat in a circle, each person taking turns to answer a revealing question or perform some embarrassing act.  There were variations to the game, but one rule remained constant: once you'd chosen truth or dare, you had to do what was asked of you, whether it was kissing Danny's foot or admitting your worst fear.  The hardest part was not knowing what you would have to do - if you picked dare, would you have to do something unbearably frightening or embarrassing?  If you picked truth, would the ensuing questions force you to reveal your darkest secret?

The show you will see tonight investigates the impulse behind the game "Truth or Dare?", how the game's ultimate prank and purpose - risk and disclosure - provide metaphors for the lives we lead.  Remember the events in your life that stripped you bare?  Remember the people you've met who loosened your dreams and your grasp on life?  These monologues enact a variety of such moments and people and dramatize the lessons they give us: how, for example, specific events divert us from the quotidian, or how particular people, like the game itself, dare us to reveal and create new truths about ourselves.

March 1998

Performance History

  • Brave Hearts Theatre, Madison, WI, March-April 1998


Program Quotation

"All your life you live so close to the truth that it becomes a permanent blur in the corner of your eye.  And when something nudges it into outline, it's like being ambushed by a grotesque."

Tom Stoppard
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead


Artistic Staff

Technical Director:  Mindy Winter
Slides:  Stephen Conley
Costumes:  Sarah Messer & Allyson Goldin



“Yes, here the words are poetry, [but] the overall impression is of a character aching to tell a story…”  --Linda Falkenstein, Isthmus, 1998

“Conley’s sixteen “Truth or Dare” monologues are places for the genuine ... Conley is a minimalist with props; a scarf or a sheet of shimmery fabric does a lot of work in her hands … Standouts are “Ramada,” a reminiscence of the transformative thrill of swimming in a motel pool at night … Gloria,’ a backyard barbecue queen in a slinky bikini… “  --Linda Falkenstein, Artzine, 1998

“In Truth or Dare, Francine Conley … performed 16 dramatic monologues … not one of them felt filler … Conley used language and movement to create a one-woman show that felt as full as an ensemble piece.”  --“’The Best of 1998’ Arts Scene,” Isthmus, 1998