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PSU Theatre stages classic Italian fairy tale

December 07, 2012 12:00AM

The Pittsburg State University Theatre will take audiences into an ancient fairy tale world when they stage “The King Stag” Oct. 18-20 in Pittsburg’s Memorial Auditorium. The production will begin at 8 p.m. each evening.

The theater company’s presentation of Carlo Gozzi’s “The King Stag,” is an original adaptation of a popular Italian fairy tale with roots that are lost in the mists of time.

“The story is faithful to the original fairy tale,” said Megan Westhoff, the director of the production who, along with Cynthia Allan, wrote the adaptation. “It is a fairy tale that has been around so long that we know Shakespeare would have seen it performed by the Italian theater companies that traveled through England during the Renaissance. Its themes of honesty, loyalty, true love, the importance of good character and triumph of good over evil are still important today.”

In the fairy tale, Deramo, the king of Serendippo, is searching for a wife when a great magician grants him two mysterious secrets: one that helps him find his true love and one that reveals evil and disloyal citizens. The fairy tale incorporates fantasy and fun, including a statue that comes to life, an acrobatic bear, enchanted stags and a talking parrot.

“Megan worked hard to keep the spirit and magic of the original tale alive in this adaptation,” said Allan. “It was a privilege to work with her on the project. This is a fun, fast-paced story that is great family entertainment.”

The production features a cast of 12 actors performing in the style of the Italian street theater known as Commedia dell’Arte. According to Westhoff, this form of performance, known today simply as commedia, influenced all of the playwrights of the Renaissance and shaped much of the entertainment we know today as vaudeville, slapstick, television sitcoms and modern improvisational comedy.

“Although we don’t wear masks very much in our contemporary productions,” Westhoff said, “audiences will find everything else about this story very familiar.”

In addition to the actors, a number of artists are contributing their talents to the production. Those include Lisa Quinteros, costume design; Doug Bennett, scenic design; Linden Little, lighting design; and Jeanine Kunshek and Jason Huffman, sound design. Also under the direction of Westoff, the production features mask design and fabrication by a group of students including Micah Black, Daniel Key, Wayne King, Taylor Patterson, Logan Qualls and Elle Walker.

“The King Stag” will be presented at 8 p.m. nightly Oct. 18-20. Tickets are $10 for the general public, $6 for persons under 17 or over 65 and free to PSU students, faculty and staff with ID. Tickets are available through the PSU Ticket Office in the Weede PE Building, 620-235-4796, or at the door approximately 30 minutes prior to curtain. Reservations are encouraged.

In conjunction with the production, the Pitt State Theatre is also collecting books for children 6-pre-teen for the Children’s Advocacy Center. Donations of books as well as monetary gifts for the center will be accepted at the auditorium.

©2012 Pittsburg State University