Dreamy young lovers Lelio and Silvia must keep their love a secret from their fathers, who are fierce rivals. Will a scheme featuring the loveable Arlecchino (whose main occupation is taking money from others) and a quartet of bumbling bandits save the day? Middle and high school actors will revel in this fast-paced, uproarious one act complete with screwball antics and a cast of madcap characters including two saucy servants, a lovable miser, and a host of zanies. It is this type of slapstick humor that makes the performance style of commedia dell'arte a perfect match for young actors.
PLAYWRIGHTS LORRAINE THOMPSON
AND JENNY NEWELL COOK TALK ABOUT
Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS PLAY?
THOMPSON: We are always looking for good material for our middle school and upper school students. We love plays with humor and lots of action. We are also quite fond of commedia. When what we are looking for is hard to find -- we begin writing!
COOK: As I began looking for our middle school play for the year, I knew I wanted our students to experience the performance style of commedia dell'arte. During my search, I came across Edmond Rostand's "The Romancers." The plot was great, but the language, the pace, and the small cast posed problems. So we began to create what we wanted for our production inspired by Mr. Rostand's original!
Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PART OR LINE IN THE PLAY? WHY?
THOMPSON: I love the characters. They are easy for students to understand and make their own.
COOK: I love the references to literature found throughout the play. My favorite part of the production is Arlecchino's "death" scene. A similar scene can be found at the end of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
Q: WHERE DO THE CHARACTERS COME FROM?
THOMPSON: The characters come straight from the character list of a commedia. There are always stock characters in these plays: the miser, the doctor, the lovers, the servants, the zanies.
Q: WHAT DID YOU TRY TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS PLAY?
THOMPSON: Our goal was student success. We more than achieved this. The play was not only a hit with the students, our audiences loved it as well.