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    King John: Mad World! Mad Kings! Mad Composition!

    Read the Offoffoff review

    This is not your great-great-great grandfather's Shakespeare. By re-examining the story of King John through the eyes of a fictional troupe of modern-day Commedia Dell'Arte clowns, the audience — which actively participates in the experience, is taken on a wild ride that begins the moment they enter the theater! Director Ian Marshall creates a story within a story by using a fictional troupe of Commedia characters as a vehicle for performing Shakespeare's play. Here's the setup: a fictional cast of actors have been performing King John in repertory for 8 seasons straight; it was Hamlet last night and Macbeth tomorrow . . . or was it Macbeth last night and Hamlet tomorrow? The private lives of this restive cast, including all their soap opera-like personality conflicts occasionally interrupt the drama to make highly comical appearances throughout the show. Along with their own personal melodramas, they brilliantly present the bittersweet story of young Arthur, rightful heir to the English throne and innocent victim of King John's quest for power. Both stories are intertwined and performed by a group of talented actors who represent what a Commedia troupe might have evolved into by the year 2002. Commedia Dell'Arte emerged over 400 years ago, but its influence on comedy can be seen in the performances of the Marx Brothers, Laurel & Hardy, Mel Brooks, Fraser and Seinfeld. Classic Commedia situations were ridiculous and the characters one-dimensional; it was often used as a "safe" vehicle for social or political commentary. Charlie Chaplin for instance, ate his boiled shoe, laces and all to make a political statement about poverty; and audiences howled over it!

    Dates:  May 3, 2002 - May 18, 2002
    Previews start: May 2, 2002
    Schedule:  Wed.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 2 p.m.
    Venue:  Mazer Theater, 197 East Broadway (bet. Clinton & Jefferson)
    Price:  $10-$15
    Official site:
    Tickets/info:  (212) 851-8915

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