Those familiar with the work of The CCercle, a local troupe steeped in the techniques of drama teacher Michael Chekov, might be surprised by their latest production, which opens Friday at the Stars Playhouse.
“The Servant of Two Masters” will be the group’s first feature film. Told in the style of commedia dell’arte, Carlo Goldini’s 1745 piece is a light dish for summer.
“It will make people laugh and feel good, which is what a lot of us need right now,” wrote John Spitzer, director and founder of The CCercle, in an email.
Spitzer also plays the main character, Truffaldino, who serves as both Florindo (Spirit) and Federigo, who is actually Beatrice (Cory Geursten) – Federigo’s sister and Florindo’s lover – in disguise. She came to Venice to collect the dowry that her brother, killed by Florindo, was to receive for his marriage to Clarice (Maya Blackstone), who has since become engaged to Silvio (Ivan Mendoza).
If that sounds like a lot to follow, it’s intention, as confusion is played for fun.
“It’s an endless cascade of miscommunication and deception,” Spitzer wrote. “Very little gravity occurs and a whole lot of nonsense ensues. Half of the characters are masked all over, which adds to the weirdness.”
The show also stars Javier Elizondo, Scott Deaton, Cody Ganger, Shelbe McClain and Brett McGlew.
Musicians Patrick Reyes and Lindsay Sharp will perform original music to accompany the piece.
“We have live musicians who provide everything from singing bowl and gong to mandolin and guitar,” he wrote, noting that “the soundscapes they help create really add a lot to the music. production”.
The unique musical performances along with the luxurious costumes and masks further underscore “what a colorful and wacky world these characters live in,” Spitzer said.
“I think that’s a big part of the attraction to showmanship and this style of theater,” he wrote.
And while it’s a comedy, due to some risky moments – “I might give it a PG / PG-13 rating,” Spitzer said – it’s recommended for a more mature audience.
The CCircle follows Chekov’s psychophysical acting lesson, through which actors search for a rich inner life for their characters through the dynamics of movement. He brought innovative theater to Bakersfield, performing original plays for The Empty Space’s “Wanderbuhne” driving theater experience and its “Drive-In Live!” as well as “Infinity Boundless”, a movement piece made to celebrate the spring equinox in the parking lot of Stars Playhouse.
In addition to his work with the Nomadic Theater Troupe, Spitzer is also the Artistic Director of the Rosedale Hall. He said he was looking forward to the auditorium’s next show, “The Shape of Things,” which premieres on September 3.
“The cast is awesome so I can’t wait to see what they do with it.”
Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.