The Black Hole Theatre company is set to open their 2011-12 season with a contemporary version of The Gypsy Woman, a play by Don Nigro. This season’s first production will be directed by theatre student Jaclyn Kozak, who says the play will be produced in “the flavor of a classic Commedia dell’ arte.”
For those not in the theatre program, Commedia dell’ arte isn’t likely a familiar term. Sounds confusing, right?
Kozak describes Commedia dell’ arte as a “[a] physical and farcical comedy that originated in Italy, then flourished with travelling troupes all around Europe during the early 1500s – 1700s, that had plots had plots based on scenarios and involving masks, improvisation, stock characters and routines.”
“In order to understand commedia,” says Kozak, “it must be seen. The stock characters only come alive off the page.”
Put briefly, Gypsy Woman follows the characters Isabella and her servant Pedro as they return to Naples after having been away for ten years. The two characters decide to impersonate gypsies in an effort to discover what happened in the years that they were away. Of course, all kinds of hilarity ensue.
The Gypsy Woman, however, is not a play completely taken from the distant past. Nigro is a modern playwright, known for his diverse, often unclassifiable body of dramatic literature. According to Kozak, this play is not aimed at achieving an authentic historical reproduction, but rather modernizing the concept, breathing some life into an art from many mistakenly consider to be long dead.
Quoting the playwright himself, Kozak notes “fools are not born, they’re educated!” With the help of a company of fools in both acting and production, and the professors right here at the University of Manitoba, The Gypsy Woman is a tale of love, laughter and racy humor that promises to keep the audience entertained.
The Gypsy Woman premiers on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Black Hole Theatre, lower level University College. Showings run from opening night, Nov. 15-19, and again from Nov. 22-26. Tickets for The Gypsy Woman are $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, and can be purchased either at the door or in advance. For reservations and group discounts, the Black Hole Theatre box office is available by phone, 24-hours at 474-6880.