Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Formaggio di Amore

I'm currently in rehearsals with i Sebastiani in a show entitled Il Formaggio di Amore ("The Cheese of Love"). This time, as well as playing Arlecchino, I've found myself in the additional role of choreographer.

Ultimately, in a troupe where improvisation on a scenario is the norm, choreography is a collaborative effort, but it's given me a chance to craft some complex physical gags, be more involved in the blocking of scenes, and even help my fellow cast members develop the physicality of their characters as well as trying to solve problems suggested by the director. In the process, I've even choreographed my first (albeit brief) fight scene.

In playing Arlecchino, I find myself continuing with the character I developed in my interpretation of "The Starving Zanni" with healthy dose of inspiration from Harpo Marx and Animal from The Muppet Show thrown into the mix.

The first performance of Il Formaggio di Amore will be at the Barony of Carolingia' s annual May Day celebrations at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts on Sunday, May 4th at about 5:30pm. The event is free and open to the public, but as the Barony is affiliated with the Society for Creative Anachronism, an attempt at pre-1600 clothing is requested.

In the meantime, enjoy these photographs from i Sebastiani's April 1st, 2007 first performance at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C. I blogged last year about our second performance in the museum's auditorium. This first performance was in the museum rotunda. Photographs are by my father, Jay Thal. Catherine Crow was Isabella, Alex Lehman was Oratio, Michael McAfee was Pedrolino, Kristin Page was Mother Superior Olivia, Carl West was Arlecchino and Sophie, whose last name escapes me, and I had only met that weekend, played Flaminia.

A comparison between the photographs of each performance will reveal that I began the day with a beard and that later, I was clean shaven, though in actuality I was always clean shaven as the beard was prosthetic. The problem being that as a very physical performer, my sweat has a tendency to dissolve spirit gum, the adhesive used for theatrical make-up. At some point during a tumble, my beard went flying into the audience, so I decided to do without the beard for my second performance as Pantalone.

Click here for the full set of photographs.

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