By Emily Schario
After several months of auditions, rehearsals and tech-ing, the Stonehill College Theatre Company is anxiously awaiting the opening of their production of “The Serpent Woman,” written by Carlo Gozzi.
Through a genre fusion of fairytale and commedia dell’arte, “The Serpent Woman” tells the story of Farruscad, an ambitious lover who falls in love with the enchanting and immortal fairy princess Cherestani. Once married, Cherestani makes Farruscad swear that he will never look into her box containing the secret of her fairy origins.
Unfortunately and expectedly, Farruscad gives into his itching curiosity. To his demise, his life and love with Cherestani is quickly ripped away from him. In order to prove his loyalty to her, Cherestani’s fairy sisters make Farruscad perform an arduous, but hilarious, series of tasks so he can be with his lover, ultimately securing their future together.
Junior Dylan Turner, who plays the character Pantalone, is looking forward to opening night with enthusiasm. After performing in several STC productions, Turner is familiar with Stonehill’s theatre repertoire.
“Stonehill’s Theatre Company is known for doing dramas, however, ‘The Serpent Woman’ is the first comedy that Stonehill has produced in five years, and it is so exciting to be doing something different,” Turner said.
Turner’s character, Pantalone, vehemently opposes the marriage of Farruscad and Cherestani, as he constantly prods Farruscad with the idea that his wife might be a witch.
“I get to wear this long and slender nose piece which makes me look like a gremlin. The masks and face pieces of the show simultaneously enhance the personality of the characters and the artistic design of the show,” Turner said.
Director Elizabeth Singer Goldman said she loves this playwright and could not picture directing any other show.
“I wanted to do something a little fantastical and a little weird,” she said.
“The Serpent Woman” is Goldman’s Stonehill directing debut, and she is thrilled to be working with the eager and curious students of Stonehill’s Theatre Company.
Because of the physical complexity, this show has been a new kind of challenge for the Stonehill Theatre Company. The tradition of commedia dell’arte is characterized by the use of masked, cartoonish, stock characters, complex physicality, and slapstick comedy; something that STC has not done in several years.
The show’s fantastical set, alluding to the classic spellbinding fairytale trope perfectly compliments the outrageous- ness of the commedia acting style, making it a treat for all audiences.
“The Serpent Woman” will be performed at Stonehill’s Hemingway Theater Nov. 19, 20 and 21. Tickets are $5 for Students and $8 for General Admission.