One of the many advantages of being allowed to not wear a mask outside of Loomis buildings is the host of live outdoor performance opportunities. The Fall Play of 2021 is The Love of Three Oranges, a Commedia Dell’Arte piece which will host its productions outside Hubbard near the Loop on October 26, 7:30 p.m.
The play features a prince who falls in love with three oranges after an evil witch puts a spell on him. It outlines his adventure in search of the oranges, accompanied by a famous clown. The ensemble cast is led by Theater Director David McCamish and veteran Stage Manager Jasper Gitlitz ’22.
Commedia Dell’Arte is a form of Italian comedy dating back to the 15th century, featuring a wide range of physically exaggerated characters who wear comical masks such as the Zanni, low-status fools, or the Witch, a dark sorceress.
“It’s one of the earliest professional forms of theater, it is slapstick comedy in its original form.” Mr. McCamish said.
When asked why, he said, “because we’re outdoors, and I think there’s some great irony in doing a show in a mask when we get to take off our mask we’ve been wearing for the last 18 months.”
The play features a lot of improv: students will be able to “play with the audience as well… and it’s a very nice, light, funny piece, which feels appropriate to open up our theater space with again,” Mr. McCamish said.
Rehearsals started in the second week of September and follow a rigorous schedule of six meetings per week, for a weekly total of 15 hours of practice. The cast members have been rehearsing in a variety of hand-crafted leather masks made especially for Commedia Dell’Arte.
All of this is overseen by a team of student stage managers, including Jasper Gitlitz ’22, who describes his job as “running rehearsal and making sure that the actors stay on track, the director stays on track, and that everything stays in process.”
“Stage managers must focus on communication between the various parties involved in a play to avoid chaos. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the theater program has been able to pull off amazing, elaborate productions,” Jasper said.
The theater program has experienced a huge demographic shift this year due to the addition of many new freshmen.
“We have so many talented new students that came out this year and they’re complemented by our veteran actors,” Mr. McCamish said.
Jasper also has a positive outlook on this year’s cast members. “They’re doing a very good job, they’re having a lot of fun on stage, this style definitely helps actors work… on their acting skills and become better actors,” he said.