Sunday, January 13, 2008


photo: F. Brancoli Pantera

Marking the U.S. debut of a multi-disciplined troupe called Teatro Del Carretto, this production of Pinocchio is spoken in Italian but, except for a couple of relatively static dialogue scenes, it hardly matters. The show speaks the universal language of inventive, heightened theatricality (although it's too intense, and not intended, for children). Aided by an effective soundscape and using a minimum of props, the troupe performs their dark, dream-like adaptation of the tale in which woodcarver/father figure Gepetto is almost entirely absent: the focus is squarely on Pinocchio's determination to become fully human despite the harsh realities of the world. The story unfolds in a semi-circular arena: Pinocchio (Giandomenico Cupaiuolo, giving a physically expressive and memorable performance) spends the entire ninety minutes on the circus ring-like stage enduring each lesson in its turn. Thanks to the troupe's commedia approach, which includes mask work and broad physicality, there's a great deal of levity to balance the grim: the business with Pinocchio's broomstick-long nose is as amusing as his near-lynching is harrowing. Recommended.

Arrive early and have a look in the lobby at some eye-popping stills from other Teatro Del Carretto productions. Or poke around here.

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