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The New School Commedia dell’ Arte – Isabella’s Jealousy

By • Mar 3rd, 2010 • Category: Cappies

“Just because I’m telling you this doesn’t mean you can tell anyone.” It’s no secret that The New School of Northern Virginia’s Commedia dell’ Arte – Isabella’s Jealousy was sight to behold. It’s a tale of a strained long distance relationship that sours as Orazio is caught playing around which crushes the relationship. Their friends try to help but only make things worse when a long lost twin brother of Isabella, Isabella’s new suitor, a father who arranges an unwanted marriage, and a very mad Isabella out for blood are mixed in. Think that’s complicated? Now add in the fact that the majority of this production is improvised. Tackling a style of improvised theater that spans the ages isn’t a feat many high school students can tackle and yet these students pulled it off with finesse.

You’re sitting in the thick of the action watching what seems like regular old goofing off that you can see every day in high school hallways, when suddenly these actors transform and the box you didn’t give a second glance to explodes into a brightly colored set. A feat that for a moment steals your breath. A gong, a stampede, then silence, and you’re laughing before you even know why. Welcome to the commedia dell’ arte.

Look up, past the sliver of the moon and take a good look at the girl you just know you are going to love to hate. That girl, who’s yelling at the moon for staring at her, is Isabella. Isabella and her twin, Fabrizio, are played by Morgaine Gooding-Silverwood. She is an actress who shows off her talent playing two radically different characters that both have underlying unresolved emotional issues. From speaking clearly over a mouth crammed with various snack foods, to portraying a ghetto gangster who threatens the audience into not telling her plans, this young lady had a range of comedy that kept the audience on their toes.

But it was Flavio, played by Mauricio Cimino-Campodonico, and Pulomo, played by Chas Saphos, who stole the show. Their stage presence drew all attention. Was it the way they were looking down their pants cheerfully thanking the chromosomes or their freeze framed fighting that left the crowd in stitches? What ever it was, they left a lasting mark.

There was little makeup done in this production. However the masks on many actors were adapted to the characters by the makeup team.

The tech crew did a phenomenal job. Their use of lighting was so subtle that the night scenes faded gently into the day scenes as if the day was actually dawning. The commedia wagon was wired for sound and light by Glenn McGurrin. Despite a few technical problems at the end of the performance, the lighting, sound, and the construction of the set all combined to make a fantastic unparalleled production.

But, remember now, you didn’t hear it from me.

by Tierra Moreland of Falls Church High School

Photo Gallery

Sean Casey as Capitano in the background with Brian Kraemer as Arlecchino on top of Chas Saphos, playing Pulomo Morgaine Gooding-Silverwood as Isabella/Fabrizio and Sean Casey as Capitano
Sean Casey as Capitano in the background with Brian Kraemer as Arlecchino on top of Chas Saphos, playing Pulomo
Morgaine Gooding-Silverwood as Isabella/Fabrizio and Sean Casey as Capitano
Morgaine Gooding-Silverwood as Isabella/Fabricio, Alec Aziz as Orazio and Sam Stone as Minstrel Zanni
Morgaine Gooding-Silverwood as Isabella/Fabricio, Alec Aziz as Orazio and Sam Stone as Minstrel Zanni

Photos by Madi Muhlberg.

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is a program which was founded in 1999, for the purpose of celebrating high school theater arts and providing a learning opportunity for theater and journalism students. You can learn more at cappies.com.

One Response »

  1. Great article and photos!