Pitt Repertory Theatre to Present Scapin Feb. 3-14

Issue Date: 
January 25, 2010

A classic play gets a Hollywood twist in the University of Pittsburgh Repertory Theatre’s production of Moliere’s comedy Scapin, Feb. 3 through 14 at the Studio Theatre in the basement of Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning.

Because of limited seating, reservations are strongly recommended. Tickets can be reserved by calling 412-624-PLAY (7529).

With an updated text by Bill Irwin and Mark O’Donnell and directed by Holly Thuma, Scapin has the look and spirit of slapstick movie comedies from the silent era. The result is a madcap romp complete with Keystone Cops and plenty of physical comedy. The production tells the story of four star-crossed lovers. Since the path of true love rarely runs smoothly, it is up to the faithful servant Scapin to use disguises and tricks to untangle the web of confusion that surrounds the lovers.

Gale McNeeley, an internationally renowned star of commedia dell’arte, plays the title role. Once a Richard Rauh Teaching Artist in Pitt’s Department of Theatre Arts, McNeeley has a repertoire of work that includes performances at the Brooklyn Academy Theatre, New York Shakespeare Festival, and San Diego Rep. McNeeley also has had extensive training in clowning, pantomime, and juggling—all of which come into play in Scapin.

Commedia dell’arte is a form of improvisational theater that dates back to 16th-century Italy. Performances were largely unscripted, held outdoors, used few props, and relied heavily on physical comedy. This theatrical form influenced a number of playwrights, including Shakespeare and Moliere.

The cast of Scapin also features Mark Epstein, a faculty member in Pitt’s theatre arts department, and a number of Pitt students. For more information, contact department marketing coordinator F. J. Hartland at fjh6@pitt.edu, or visit www.play.pitt.edu.