By Liz Hardaway, Arts & Entertainment Editor
“La Comedia Teatro” has come to town and is bringing classic Rome to the Studio Theater.
“Androcles and the Lion,” a children’s play, brings to life the story of Androcles, played by junior Charlie Lennon, who is enslaved by the wicked, crotchety miser Pantalone, played by sophomore Jack Riter.
When Androcles attempts to help two star-crossed lovers, Isabella and Lelio, played by sophomore Doris Ottman and freshman Josh Martin, run away together, he is chased by Pantalone and the El Capitano, played by junior Nash Bonnema. He is at risk of becoming a captured slave, when he comes across a cranky lion, played by sophomore Hannah Wargo, who just wants to take a nap.
The play, directed by professor of theater D. Glen Vanderbilt, follows the commedia dell’arte style of theater. Originating in Italy, the style uses stock characters to create similar stories made different by their use of improv, Lennon said.
During casting, actors were asked to read and understand each scene.
Then, they were asked to improvise and act out each scene to the best of their ability. This created a lot of the movements used in the actual performance, Lennon said.
Lennon’s outlandish, cartoon shrieks and flails complemented the sweet love songs Martin sang to Ottman. It’s unbelievable that this wacky slave got sold for only 20 gold pieces.
The cast’s antics were also accompanied by a two-person ensemble, made up of junior Audrey Castañeda-Walker and senior Jake Simpson, who played the guitar and kazoos.
The play will be shown in Chappelear Drama Center at 8 p.m on Feb. 16-18 and at 2 p.m. on Feb. 17-18.
General admission is $10, $3 for children 5 and below, Ohio Wesleyan employees and non-Ohio Wesleyan students, $5 for senior citizens and free for Ohio Wesleyan Students with a valid OWU ID. Call (740) 368-3855 to reserve seats.