Friday, February 26, 2010

Commedia dell'Arte Day!

Miller South Commedia Troupe was thrilled to be a part of the virtual 24 hour long global commedia festival held on February 25th. Commedia dell'arte troupes, schools and universities, and theatre scholars shared their work with the public, not only in their home towns, but also online via Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. View the list of participants here.

For me personally, the magical moment of the event was receiving a tweet that the great Italian playwright Dario Fo had sent a two page message for Commedia dell'Arte Day, just as our rehearsal ended on Wednesday afternoon. We had just set up our Twitter account and had added in three zanni on cell phones who would proceed to send reports about the performance from within the show. Since the scenario takes place in a History of Theatre class with Dottore as professor, the twittering zanni fit right in. From the rehearsal (read from bottom up):

  1. Buon lavoro, zannis! RT @MSCommedia The zannis found a job!
  2. RT @MSCommedia: Zannis need jobs
  3. RT @MSCommedia: Still rehersing and dottore wont be quiet.
  4. Acting students at SUNY-Fredonia (New York) are performing Commedia scenes RIGHT NOW.
  5. RT @MSCommedia: Rehearsing with twitter
All through the day, my cell phone (which has never been used for messaging before) twittered away, with over 150 tweets from around the world, in many languages, keeping us all connected within the spirit of commedia dell'Arte!

Here are photos from our morning performance:

This is our current Arlecchino, Matt Hemminger, in motion with his unique slapstick, originally designed by Adam Nelson, who played Arlecchino several years back.

The plunger base gives Arlecchino numerous opportunities for creative slapstick moves. A squeaker has been inserted inside the gloved hand, which can at times represent Arlecchino's beating heart as Columbina approaches him.

The unofficially trade-marked hand on a stick slapstick was created in the first year of Miller South by drama student Isabel Averil.

Columbina introduces the scenario as Zanni tweet.

As the troupe begins their performance, they receive the following tweet:

Performances in Ohio, Germany, Thailand, France and Pakistan, AND Carlo Boso speaks in Bologna! 6 languages. whew

The students plot to overthrow Dottore and teach History of Theatre in a more interesting way.

Dottore gives Columbina a teaching license and then exits to the faculty lounge while his class, under the direction of Columbina, act out History of Theatre, chapter 1: The Preverbal Ages - mime and movement!

Dottore returns to move the class ahead to Chapter 9 -- The History of Commedia.

The poor peasants in the Bergamo mountains are forced out of their homes by drought and famine. They descend to the villages below searching for jobs.

Pantalone won't hire them because they cannot count.

Capitano won't hire them because they cannot write his memoirs.

Isabella and Lelio won't hire them as they cannot read love messages out loud.

Finally they encounter Dottore who is carrying a heavy load to the market place. He hires them to carry his goods.

At the market place, Dottore teaches them how to assist as sales associates. Arlecchino pretends to be old so he can rejuvenate using Dottore's de-aging cream.

They succeed in duping Pantalone.

Pantalone has a bad reaction to the de-aging cream.

Dottore and the zanni must flee!

In the confusion, Arlecchino goes in circles.

Various by-standers laugh and gather around.

Dottore realizes that zanni slapstick comedy attracts audiences. Hires them all permanently!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Junior Thespian Conference, Olentangy Liberty Middle School Feb 20, 2010

Bravo to Miller South Troupe 88187!

Great trip to state conference with a talented and fun groups of people, students and parents!

Wonderful performance of Exit, directed by Laura Valendza, with Haley Calhoun, Morgan Csejtey, Jordan Euell, Jordan James, Marcus Martin, Desirae Smith, Corbin White and stage managed by Matt Hemminger.

Bravo to the 8th grade tech team: Chelsea Miller, Brandon Kline, Jacob Petry,and Sam Puglia who won the overall Tech Challenge!

Congratulations to all who participated in the IEs (Individual Events:

Jordan Euell, Sarah Hineline, Jordan James, Shea Lee, Marcus Martin, Kari Rodgers, and D'Angelo Sanders.

And to the Best of IE Winners:

Duet Musical Theatre: Brian Hirsch and Ben Rohrer
Duet Pantomime: Matt Hemminger and Corbin White
Group Acting: Lauren Butler, Alyssa Haley, MacKenzie Sandor
Duet Acting: Morgan Csejtey, and Olivia Doria

And to Double Superior Monologue winner Kolin Morgenstern who wins the right to present his monologues at the Best of IE final presentations at State High School Thespian Conference in March. He has also won the right to compete at the International Thespian Conference at the University of Nebraska in June of this year.

My photographic skills were not much in evidence at Conference. If anybody has photos from conference, please share here or in a link. Thanks!