Front page of Playbill
Fall Semester, 2006

Italy, during the Renaissance
An anonymous scenario of the commedia dell' arte converted into a play
by Leon Katz

Director:Rodney Higginbotham
Three Cuckolds Directors’s Note

Long before there was a Second City and an Improv Olympic, and long before Del Close was training actors in improv skills they would use as cast members on Saturday Night Live, Mad TV and SCTV, there was improv.

Commedia dell’ arte (which translates as comedy of professional players) was a form of improvisational theatre developed in Italy in the late sixteenth century that thrived deep into the eighteenth century. Even commedia had improvisational roots that some theatre historians trace back to the Atellan farce of the Roman Empire.

The typical story of a commedia performance involved low and middle class characters embroiled in an intrigue of love and greed. The intrigue would frequently be concocted by the comic servant character, Arlecchinio (Harlequin in English) often seen delivering love notes between the two lovers in the story. The intrigue would always be heavily flavored with humor derived from sex and "outhouse" gags that gave the performances mass appeal.

Slapstick, the style of commedia comedy, is the rough and tumble physical comedy that many of us first experienced watching The Three Stooges or Roadrunner cartoons. The name comes from a prop carried by Arlecchino as a bat used to strike other characters. The slapstick was made from two pieces of wood designed to slap together making a loud noise.

Part of what made commedia so accessible to the audience was the familiarity with the stock characters. When an actor made a first entrance in a performance, the audience immediately knew the name and personality of the character since the character was identifiable from the distinctive traditional design of the mask and costume. This easy recognition of characters combined with an emphasis on physical comedy made it easier for audiences to understand and follow the plot. This was a particular advantage for those commedia troupes that toured to neighboring countries where Italian was not spoken. Much was communicated to the audiences nonverbally.

Leon Katz, the author of The Three Cuckolds, created his play by adding dialogue to an authentic Italian Renaissance commedia scenario. Our student actors have enjoyed the challenge and new experience of taking on this centuries old form of theatre as they rehearsed. We hope that you will enjoy your trip back in time as the players present their show on a simple platform stage here in the piazza under the warm Mediterranean sunshine.

Cast

Arlecchino...Kyle Youngblut
Coviello...Jesse Menendez
Flaminia...Stephanie Tichenor
Pantalone...Dave Ropinski
Zanni...Frank Past
Franceschina...Linnea Carrera
Devil and Leandro...Jim Hasani
Cintia...Tany Encinas

Production Crew

Producer..............................................................Anna Antaramian
Director....................................................Rodney Higginbotham
Assistant to the Director/Stage Manager.........Sarah Sherron
Scenic Designer/Technical Director..........Lizz Otto-Cramer
Lighting Designer................................................John Rodriguez
Costume Designer............................................Elizabeth Shaffer
Costume Assistant..............................................Andrea Czyznik
Sound Designer.....................................................Leroyd Manuel
House Manager....................................................... Lauren Carter
Box Office Manager.................................................Jamie Kolakci
Bookeeper............................................Becca Raven Uminowick
Playbill Designer..................................................David Ropinski
Light Board Operator.................................................Beth Turkin
Sound Operator......................................................James Mullory
Prop Master/Wardrobe Assistant...................Andrea Czyznik
Set Crew...................................................Theatre Practicum class
Special thanks to Dr. Peter Chang and the CMT Office Staff.






































Rehearsal Pictures
Pantalone (David Ropinski), Coviello (Jesse Menendez), Zanni (Frank Past), Flaminia (Stephanie Tichenor), Franceschina (Linnea Carrera), Cintia (Tany Encinas) Flaminia (Stephanie Tichenor), Cintia (Tany Encinas), Franceschina (Linnea Carrera), Arlecchino (Kyle Youngblut) Flaminia (Stephanie Tichenor), Franceschina (Linnea Carrera), Cintia (Tany Encinas)




Linnea Carrera (Franceschina) is currently a senior at Northeastern, majoring in Communication, Media and Theatre. She has performed in several productions at NEIU. Most recently Linnea performed in Much Ado About Nothing during the Summer Theatre program at The Stage Center and before that performed in The Fanta Menace with ¿Salsation? Theatre Company. Currently, Linnea is also working with ¿Salsation? Touring performing sketch revues wherever they might be wanted. She is so thankful for the wonderful experience she has had thus far with all the brilliant professors and directors that she has worked with in the Department of Communication, Media and Theatre She would like to thank Rodney for giving her the chance to play a role that is truly a joy to perform. She would also like to thank her friends and family for their support and love. Cheers!


Tany Encinas (Cintia) was born in Chicago and grew up in Skokie, Illinois. She is currently a senior at Northeastern majoring in Communication, Media and Theatre and minoring in Theatre. This is her first role at Northeastern. She worked in the technical department for Flying West in the summer of 2000, but this is the start of, hopefully, a long career as an actress. Tany would like to thank her close friends and her parents, Sonia and Eduardo, as well as her brothers for being supportive of her.


Jim Hasani (Devil and Leandro) is currently a junior at Northeastern. He is a Communication, Media and Theatre major with a minor in theatre. This is his first theatrical production, and he is very excited to be working with a great cast. He would like to thank his girlfriend, Stephanie, along with his mom and sister for their support. Jim is looking forward to appearing in future productions.


Jesse Menendez (Covielo) , a graduating Senior in Communication, Media and Theatre at NEIU, feels fortunate to be able to work with such a talented cast. Jesse was last seen... writing this bio. He would like to thank his family, friends and his sugar bear for helping him stay focused and driven to succeed. He is able to accomplish what he has accomplished because of their strength and belief in him. Camino con Dios y es por eso que sigo adelante.


Frank Past (Zanni) is truly excited to be making his debut with the NEIU theatre. An English major minoring in Theatre, Frank enjoys the poetry of Swinburne, a proper cup of British tea, and the music of Glenn Danzig. He would like to thank his mother, his family and friends, and of course, the entire cast and crew for their support and tireless effort.


David Ropinski (Pantalone) is pleased to make The Three Cuckolds his eighth stage production at NEIU. His most recent performances include Stage Center’s We Won’t Pay!, Won’t Pay!, The Good Doctor, Little Murders, Ghosts, and several one act performances at Bailiwick Repertory Theatre’s 2003 Director’s Series. David is an active student at Northeastern double majoring in Studio Art and Communication, Media and Theatre and is a graduate of the Comedy Sportz Training Center. David would like to thank all his friends and family and especially this very talented cast and crew.


Stephanie Tichenor (Flaminia) a Communication, Media and Theatre major and theatre minor, is a senior at Northeastern Illinois University. She was last seen onstage in the Stage Center production of The Waiting Room. She is thrilled to be working with such a talented cast, crew and director, including the most talented, brilliant, funny, handsome and supportive man in the world! Stephanie would like to thank her family, friends and beast for their constant love and support. I love y’all with all my heart!


Kyle Youngblut (Arlecchino) is very glad to be in his first production here at Northeastern. He would like to thank R. Welp, T. Steele and the Webb brothers. He would also like to thank his fellow actors and Rodney for giving him this opportunity to perform. He would like to thank his family and friends for doubting him and for making him try even harder. Lastly, Kyle would like to thank the audience for attending the show.


Profiles (Crew)

Rodney Higginbotham (Director) holds an M.F.A. in theatre directing from Southern Illinois University and a B.A. in Speech Education from Northeast Louisiana University. He has served as Managing/Artistic Director of the Stage Center. He has directed several productions for the Stage Center and for professional, educational, and community theatre in Chicagoland.

Elizabeth Shaffer (Costume Designer) received her Masters degree in design from Pennsylvania State University in 2000, after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis. She has been designing and draping in the Chicago/Milwaukee/St Louis area for several years. Her work has been seen in collaboration with Lifeline Theatre (Artistic Ensemble Member), Bailiwick Arts Center, L’Opera Piccola, Northeastern Illinois University, Reverie Theatre Company, Townsquare Players, The Griffin, Chicago Jewish Theater, Opera Theater Highland Park, Loyola Univesity, Northwestern University Opera Department, The Metropolis, Appletree Theater, Opera Moda, Circle Theater, Theatre Building Chicago, One Theatre Company, Chicago Chamber Opera, Theatre at the Center, Remy Bumppo and Light Opera Works. She also spent five years as the Assistant Designer/Head Draper for the annual Baroque Handel Opera Festival in Gottingen, Germany. Elizabeth is the 2004 recipient of the Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award and the winner of the Chicago After Dark Award for Queen Lucia with Lifeline Theatre.

Lizz Otto-Cramer (Set Desiger, Co-Technical Director) earned her Master of Fine Arts at the School of the Arts in Winston-Salem North Carolina. She has been working professionally since graduation and has designed and painted in Milwaukee WI, North Carolina, and Washington D.C. Her credits include Dracula, Fiddler on the Roof, A Christmas Story, and Cole among others.

John Rodriguez (Lighting Desiger, Co-Technical Director) joined the theatre faculty at Northeastern three years ago and has been teaching courses in technical theatre as well as working as a designer on Stage Center productions. John shares responsibilities of Technical Director along with Lizz Otto-Cramer. John most recently designed the set and lighting for Dracula and the lighting for Picasso at the Lapin Agile.

David Knezz
(Mask Maker) is an avid craftsman who specializes in mask-making, sculpture, prop and puppet-making. He has created props, puppets and theatrical special effects for Defiant Theatre Co., Chicago, Theatre of Western Springs, Midwest Ballet Co., Folding Chair Theatre, NYC, SYDA Foundation, NYC and Great Day Television Productions. You can view his work on the web at www.mask-maker.com. He has been teaching creative drama and mask classes and workshops since 1992 and in 1997 won a Legacy Award for excellence in teaching.



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