Arts and Entertainment

Changing Scene’s making Shakespeare its own, again

East Bremerton theater hosts fourth annual commedia dell’arte production of the Bard’s work, this time

‘The Tempest.’

The Changing Scene Theatre Northwest is one of the most Shakespeare-loving theaters in the county.

“Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Much Ado about Nothing,” “Hamlet,” you name it, they’re likely to have done it somewhere along the line. This last summer they even took the Bard outdoors, providing a kind of “Shakespeare-lite” style festival of one-acts in the park.

But this upcoming production of “The Tempest,” at Changing Scene, one of Shakespeare’s most highly regarded and somewhat controversial works, is something different.

It’s commedia dell’arte.

Though a foreign phrase, roughly translated it means “comedy of art.” It’s a form of improvisational theater that dates back to 16th century Italy where street actors would perform outside for free to the public, unscripted, with few props. There performances were based around repertory stock and conventional situations, thus allowing ample room for satirizing local scandals and current events while still using ancient jokes and punch lines.

In Changing Scene’s case, as they present their fourth annual commedia dell’arte production, the jokes and punch lines are provided by the Bard while the commedia is being furnished by director Derek Niegemann and a cast of Changing Scene regulars including president Pavlina Morris as Prospero, Darren Hembd as Caliban and Rachel Cummings as Miranda.

“The Tempest,” a commedia dell’arte production, will be on the boards at Changing Scene through May 10 with shows at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 6 p.m. Sundays at the little black box at 5889 State Highway 303 behind the Oroweat Bakery in East Bremerton. Info: www.changingscenenorthwest.org or call (360) 792-8601.

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