I am so excited to announce that this summer’s June Session play, the opening production of the 2017 season, will be Androcles and the Lion. Based on the Aesop’s Fable of The Lion and the Mouse, this stage adaptation is written in the style of commedia dell’arte, classic Italian street theatre of the Renaissance.
In commedia tradition, a troupe of traveling players will arrive into camp where they will set up their stage in the Chapel amphitheater and begin to tell their tale. Using traditional costumes and masks, and stock characters of commedia – the miserly Pantalone, the bragging Captain, the romantic lovers, the trickster Arlequin, plus an endearing lion and a whole troupe of zany actors – this fable will become a colorful and unique theatrical experience.
Many of our modern stage and storytelling techniques can be traced back to the roots of commedia dell’arte. Slapstick comedy was born in this improvisational theatre style as well as stock characters that can still be found in stories today. The Disney version of Beauty and the Beast is an excellent example of modern use of commedia characters.
I have been itching to do a play in the commedia style at Merrie-Woode! I’m excited to produce a full production with effects and techniques true to the Renaissance style. Slapsticks, juggling, tumbling, trap doors, colorful costumes and painted backdrops, old school special effects, a full blown pageant wagon to accompany our wandering troupe of vagabonds…this is going to be loads of fun!
So grab a seat under the stars as the Merrie-Woode Players present to you a tale of action, comedy, star-crossed lovers, and the importance of friendship despite our differences. This is sure to be a night to remember!