Kate Meehan has been performing with La Fenice since it's very first show as Austin Commedia Society back in 1999. Over the years, she's played a number of the Commedia stock characters with us, and currently serves as Managing Director. Before joining ACS, she performed on many famous Chicago improv stages, including ImprovOlympic and Second City.
How does La Fenice's approach to Commedia differ from other Commedia dell'Arte troupes?
Well, I've really only created Commedia shows with La Fenice, but for the last few years I've been in touch with a whole lot of different performers. Apparently, we're pretty unique in the United States in that we're performing Commedia outside of Renaissance Faires, the confines of a Goldoni script, or a proscenium stage. We perform in bars to keep things risky - usually at least half of our audience was unaware there would be a show that night, and it means we don't have the luxury of a trapped audience. They can ignore us, talk over us, throw...
Tate Green is our sprightly young actor playing Arlecchino - the first since it was retired by Jason Fawcett back in 2002. Tate was last seen as Ottavio in Sloop of the Damned, and is the creator and host of the wildly popular YouTube Gong Show.
How has the process of stepping into the fabled shoes of Arlecchino been?
Well, all of the tales of past La Fenice Arlecchinos – shots lined up across the stage and all – I’m feeling it’s the perfect role for me. Although I don’t think I can handle a shot thrown in my eyes.
Don’t worry, that wasn’t Arlecchino’s eyes. Those were mine.
Yes, but you threw it in your own eyes, right?
Yes. But that’s neither here nor there. Tossing liquor into your eyeballs is not a requirement for the role, unless you’re into that kind of thing.
I enjoy the experience of playing Arlecchino a lot better than playing the Lover. I’ve been having more fun with it. I’m not sure if it’s the character or the process that’s just...