La Fenice's original incarnation, the Austin Commedia Society, was founded in 1999. During our four year run, we produced 13 original scenarios, were featured in John Rudlin and Olly Crick's Commedia dell'Arte: A Handbook for Troupes, and hosted an international Commedia dell'Arte Festival in 2001 with participants from both American coasts, Italy and England.
After a brief hiatus as company members pursued graduate degrees, started families and wandered the American countryside, we re-organized under our own 501(c)(3) in 2009. Since then, we have produced one original work annually, toured our performances to West Texas and area schools, organized another international festival in 2011 (with participants from Italy, Hungary, Australia, England and the USA), and established bi-monthly international dialogues on challenges faced by modern Commedia dell'Arte performers. Our members have penned chapters in international publications on Commedia dell'Arte, lectured internationally, and have taught innumerable workshops to youth and professional performers.
Our organization is managed exclusively by its members, and governed by a board of directors selected by the membership in a raucous annual meeting.
Our current Leadership is as follows:
President: Adam Rodriguez
Vice President: Aaron Johnson
Secretary: Genevieve Kinney
Treasurer: Kate Meehan
Artistic Director: Kate Meehan
Our members possess a sweet combination of lots of training, sweat equity and a willingness to look like fools onstage. We include actors, dancers, stand up comics, and musicians, and we're pretty passionate about participating in and contributing to the international Commedia dell'Arte Community.
Kate Meehan has a lot of books on her bookshelf, and she will try to share them with you. She is also a big fan of eggs.
Adam Rodriguez was a stand up comic for a long time. Now his relationship with a rubber chicken makes everyone uncomfortable.
Nate Dunaway is very tall and will eat all your chips.
Nola Lafayette has never met a rock she didn't like.
Cara Arlauskas has many talents, among them the ability to turn into a goblin at the drop of a hat.
When Heath Allyn isn't performing with La Fenice, he is performing with literally everyone else.
Katy Smaczniak plays the ukulele, has an exceptional amount of hair, and a purse that always smells good.
Amber Quick has a voice like a song bird or an angel. An angel songbird.
Bruce Salmon has played in all the bands, but we like him best when he's writing music where ever it's dusty.
Julie Moore is what you might call a Real Clown.
Robert Deike has been in every Shakespeare play. We're told that means he's super legit.
Tate Green screams like a lady but bruises like a man. He's also the host and progenitor of the hit sensation, YTGS.
Company Members at Large
We are part of an international community of people. Our members at large are folks near and far with whom we collaborate, swap ideas and scheme.
Kareem Badr has a lot of dignity for such a big Motörhead fan.
According to his diary, Aaron Johnson has never made a War of 1812 joke onstage.
Genevieve Kinney has danced her whole life, and is an actual horse whisperer.
Giangiacomo Colli's favorite movie is Hudson Hawk.
Paul Joiner is the literal, actual best person.
Olly Crick included us in his first internationally published book about Commedia and has regretted it ever since.
Paulo Garbanzo juggles pins, blades, hearts.
John Maverick is Austin's second best magician.
Dan Raynor spends his days with his hand up the dark end of a puppet. You know. For the kids.
as La Fenice
(All performances in Austin, Texas unless noted otherwise.)
2022: Raising Harry Potter (Butterfly Bar, B. Iden Payne Awards Winner: Fight Choreography; Nominee: Production of a Comedy, Lead Performer in a Comedy x2, Featured Performer in a Comedy x3, Dramaturgy, Original Score, Featured Music Performance, Small Cast, Properties Design, Wig Design)
2021: Speak No More: Golden Age (Neil Cochran House - with Golden: Silent Improvised Theatre. B. Iden Payne Award Special Certificate: Outstanding Audience Experience; Winner: Outstanding Production of Improvised Theatre, Outstanding Direction of Improvised Theatre; B. Iden Payne Award Nominee: Outstanding Cast in Improvised Theatre, Costume Design, Sound Design, Properties Design, Stage Management)
Stygian Crossing: Season Two (Digital B. Iden Payne Award winner: Featured Performer in a Digital Edited Production, Ensemble; Nominee: Digital Edited Production, Lead Performer in a Digital Edited Production, Direction of a Digital Edited Production, Sound Design, Media Design)
2020: Stygian Crossing: Season One (Digital. B. Iden Payne Award Winner: Direction of a Digital Edited Production, Nominee: Outstanding Digital Production, Outstanding Digital Performer x3, Outstanding Featured Music Performance)
2019: Who Framed Roger Replicant? (Butterfly Bar, La Kiva - Terlingua, TX - B. Iden Payne Award Winner: Lead Actor in a Comedy, Nominee: Production of a Comedy, Featured Actor in a Comedy, Fight Choreography, Live Music Performance)
2018: Cthulhu Beach Party (Butterfly Bar - B. Iden Payne Award Winner: Lead Actor in a Comedy, Nominee: Production of a Comedy, Cast Performance - Scripted Theatre)
La Fenice's Holiday Spectacular! Spectacular! (The Hideout)
2017: Death Race: Inferno (Butterfly Bar, Coldtowne, La Kiva, Terlingua, Texas - B. Iden Payne Award Winner: Lead Actor in a Comedy, Nominee: Featured Actor, Fight Choreography, Properties Design)
2016: Siege of the Dark Nebula (Butterfly Bar, Cinnabar Theatre, Terlingua, Texas - B. Iden Payne Award Winner: Lead Actress in a Comedy, Nominee: Production of a Comedy, Lead Actor in a Comedy, Original Script)
2015: Lure of the Maiden's Chest (Butterfly Bar, Cinnabar Theatre, Terlingua, Texas - B. Iden Payne Award Nominee: Production of a Comedy, Featured Actress in a Comedy, Fight Choreography, Original Script, Cast Performance)
2015: Kill the Messenger (Butterfly Bar, Flat Rock Theatre - Lajitas, Texas, Starlight Lounge - Terlingua, Texas)
2014: Kill the Messenger (Butterfly Bar)
2013: For Whom the Dong Tolls (Padres - Marfa, Texas, Flat Rock Theatre - Lajitas, Texas, Starlight Lounge - Terlingua, Texas, Spiderhouse, Butterfly Bar)
2012: Sparrow of Roma (Austin Backyards, La Kiva - Terlingua, TX, Flat Rock Theatre - Lajitas, TX)
2012: Sloop of the Damned (Whip In, Starlight Lounge - Terlingua, TX, Swan Dive)
2011: Sparrow of Roma (Opal Divine's, Texas State University)
2011: Suitors and Tutors (Flat Rock Theatre - Lajitas, Texas, Sul Ross University - Alpine, Texas, Behind the Chili Cookoff Site Theatre - Terlingua, Texas, Texas State University)
2010: Suitors and Tutors (Club DeVille, Ruta Maya, Flipnotics - B. Iden Payne Award Nominee: Original Script)
as The Austin Commedia Society
2003: Zombies! A Musical (Ruby's Barbeque)
2003: Pantelone's War (Mother Egan's, Club Deville, Behind the Chili Cook-off Site Theatre - Terlingua, Texas, Fiddler's Hearth - South Bend, Indiana)
2002: Rumplestiltskin's Angels (Taste of Italy Festival, Mother Egan's)
2002: The Family Jewels: A Tragedy (Republic Square, Mother Egan's, Marfa Theatre - Marfa, Texas, Starlight Lounge, Terlingua, Texas)
2002: The Amazing Dr. Sly McCann's Fantastical Traveling Medicine Show (Republic Square, Starlight Lounge, Terlingua, Texas)
2001: Isosceles Love Triangle (Commedia dell'Austin Festival, Taste of Italy Festival, Austin Critics Table Award Nominee)
2001: Tourist Trap (Commedia dell'Austin Festival)
2001: Arlecchino's Magic Piccolo (Zach Scott)
2001: Kingmakers Anonymous (Ruta Maya)
2001: Tourist Trap (Playfest)
2001: The Many Loves of Columbina (Frontera Long Fringe Festival, Ruta Maya)
2000: The Servant Who Stole the Nightmare Before Christmas (Austin Children's Museum)
2000: And So the Ship Flies (MOM Fest)
2000: Pedrolino's Friends (Zach Scott)
2000: The Many Loves of Columbina (Club DeVille)
2000: Tragic Lovers (Club Deville)
2000: Dungerella (Austin Children's Museum, Community Little Theatre - Roswell, New Mexico)
2000: One to the Right (Frontera Long Fringe Festival)
1999: And So the Ship Flies (Movements Gallery)
1999: Tourist Trap (Austin Children's Museum, MOM Fest)
1999: Isosceles Love Triangle (Club Deville, MOM Fest)