i Sebastiani Returns to Boston Center for the Arts

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"The Greatest Commedia Dell'Arte Troupe In The Entire World" to perform "The Actors" at the Black BOx Theater in Boston, March 9-12, 2005.

Shakespeare did it. Molière did it. Goldoni and Dario Fo did it. Now you can do it too! Experience Commedia dell’Arte a 500-year-old theatrical form, brought back to life by a magical group of theatrical sorcerers named “i Sebastiani.”

i Sebastiani bill themselves as ‘The Greatest Commedia dell’Arte Troupe in the Entire World’—“only because it's true,” declares troupe manager Alex Newman. i Sebastiani will perform The Actors from Wednesday, March 9 through Saturday, March 12 at the Black Box Theater at the Boston Center for the Arts. The fearless and nimble-witted players will improvise the story of The Actors each night from a brief plot outline or “scenario.” The scenario, written by Alex Newman, is based on an original Italian scenario written by Basilo Locatelli in the early seventeenth century. The nine-person cast presents a revival of Commedia dell’Arte—known to Shakespeare and his contemporaries as “the Italian Comedies”—improvised plays popular in the streets and marketplaces of sixteenth century Italy.

The Actors takes place in the city of Ravenna, where a beautiful young woman has been betrothed to her father’s loathsome business partner. A troupe of actors arrives in town to perform at the wedding, but they just might prove to be her salvation. Will she be married against her will? Or will love conquer all? The plot twists and turns its way through a merry maze of slapstick humour, physical stunts, and romantic ballads before that question is answered.

Performances run approximately 80 minutes, punctuated by two musical interludes (or intermezzi) which separate the play into three acts. During these intermezzi, Molly Overholt directs lively and occasionally scandalous musical selections from the period.

Commedia dell’Arte both inspired and was inspired by theatrical styles across the spectrum -- from Roman Comedy to Vaudeville, from French bedroom farce to the modern sitcom. i Sebastiani draws upon a stunning array of historical references, quick wit, and physical humor to deliver a full evening of laughter and merriment. Funny as it may be, however, The Actors has a heart that stays with the audience. The Actors comments on the timeless relationships between fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and employers and employees. Commedia characters are funhouse reflections of everyday people, showing audience members different aspects of themselves and their friends.

Come participate in a unique theatrical evening and find out why i Sebastiani is hailed as “the Greatest Commedia dell'Arte troupe in the Entire World”.

The Actors plays Wednesday through Saturday, March 9th through March 12th, at 8pm, with a matinee on Saturday, March 12th, at 3:00 pm. Tickets are $22, $15 for students and seniors, and $9 for children (12 and under). Tickets can be purchased at the BCA Box Office (539 Tremont Street), at BosTix, by calling (617) 933-8600, or online at http://www.bostontheaterscene.com.

Written and directed by Alex Newman. Musical Direction: Molly Overholt. Produced by The Early Theater Foundation. Starring: Mike Bergman, Alex Bradley, Cat Crow, Michael Macafee, Lisa Messeri, Aaron Newman, Alex Newman, Abigail Weiner, Carl West.

About i Sebastiani:

I Sebastiani, “the Greatest Commedia dell'Arte Troupe in the Entire World,” has been dazzling audiences with its fresh take on a centuries-old art form since 1991. The troupe has over 60 members, although it relies on a core of about 17 for most performances. They have performed up and down the East Coast, as far West as Austin, Texas, and as far North as Toronto, Canada. Their mission is to perform commedia scenari as closely as possible to the style of the late 16th century/early 17th century, working without scripts, with simple props and sets, and historically accurate costuming. From their opening cry of "Buon Giorno!" (regardless of the actual time of day) I Sebastiani transports audiences back to the height of the Italian Renaissance, keeping them there until the final curtain call.

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Alex Newman