There is a really cool theatre project happening in Charlottesville right now called The Madwoman Project. As the Madwoman project website describes it this production is what happens….
“If gypsy carnival and symbolist poetry had a comedic love child…”
It is a production of Jean-Giradoux’s “The Madwoman of Chaillot” done in the Comedia dell’ Arte style with over blown acting and goofy costumes. The actors roll a wagon of props and set pieces down Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall, set up and perform the first act of the play al fresco a la street theatre then pack up and proceed to The Sanctuary at the Haven (a homeless shelter) to perform the second act. I am a big fan of the melodramatic style of Comedia dell’ Arte and love how it takes the blatant political nature of the play to a palatable level for a wider audience.
The performances, direction, costumes and set are all marvelous. Being a kinetic ADHD person, moving from one venue to the next was a fun change of pace. The street performed Act I particularly appealed because of the transient nature of the audience. One goofball pedestrian walked right through the playing area. The best part were the kids in the audience. I was seated on the ground next to two vibrant, articulate children both under the age of 6. They made wonderful observations about the actors, pointing out gestures and costume pieces they thought were funny or interesting.
But mostly I enjoyed the timely presentation. It is a Presidential election year and this theatrical work is all about greed, big business and repression of the little people or as Mitt Romney put it in his now famous private fundraiser speech from last May, “the 47%”. (You know, the middle class, the group that mooches off the federal government and just wants a handout so unlike the uber-rich who simply manipulate the government in order to keep more money in their off shore bank accounts. Sorry, I digress.)
Perhaps Producer/Director, Kay Leigh Ferguson chose the show for it’s political message and staged it in a way that everyone could see it for the very reason of using it as a mouthpiece for her own political views. Perhaps she is a Mad Woman, tired of the dangerous level of disparity happening in our country right now. Or Not. It is still timely and fun and I recommend catching it this weekend.
For more information on The Madwoman Project click here.