June 26, 2013

Gian Giacomo Colli comes from a family of commedia dell'arte performers and practitioners. He holds an MFA and a PhD, and is the only actual Italian performing on our stage. In the past, he's visited as a guest director, flying in to tidy up shows at the last moments before performances. After many moons of cajoling, harassment, and plying with wine, he finally agreed to join us as Pantalone in For Whom the Dong Tolls. We caught up with him, now that we've performed the show a few times, to see what performing his native theatre for foreign audiences has been like.

 

We've worked with you previously as a director (sort of), but this is your first time performing with us. How is La Fenice's process different from our foreign counterparts?

 

Well, it's different in the sense that everything is improvised. With La Fenice, we start with a scratch of a scenario while in the past I've always started from a very well developed scenario. With a scratch scenario, more of the development is done ons...

March 27, 2013

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...

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