The Twin Captains
A Commedia

Authors: Members of the Golden Stag Players
based on the Commedia Scenario by the same name,
written by Flaminio Scala1
Performed at: Twelfth Night, January 8 AS XXXIV (2000)

The basic premise of this is sort of vaguely similar to Shakespeare's A Comedy of Errors (the author of the translations of the scenarios, Flaminio Scala, believes this scenario may have had some influence on Shakespeare's play). There are two Capitanos who are twin brothers, separated for years. One is living in Rome, the other elsewhere. While the one brother leaves to find the other, leaving his wife for 6 years, his brother comes to Rome. Amazingly enough, they have servants who look alike. The first Captain's wife gets lonely, and starts seeing a local young lad. This causes friction on several levels, and of course things get real interesting, as the two captains keep missing each other, right up until the end. When they finally meet, the fight that ensues is very amusing indeed ...

The Performance:
This was probably our best performance to date. The show went absolutely fantastic. There were a few minor things that happened, but nothing to complain about ... the audience loved it, and we got a standing ovation. We got mobbed after the play was over with folk coming up to congratulate us, and chat ... it was a great feeling.

Production Information:


 Videos: Videos are available online (as well as the DVD below...):

 DVD: Available, contact Hirsch for details (probably $5-10, just to cover the cost of the discs, the case, etc. and any postage would need to be tacked on). As noted above, we didn't have great lighting, which was a shame, because the video doesn't really pick up the masks all that well ... it's a bit on the dark side, but the sound is good, and you can see the action, just not the masks.

 The Script: The script is based on a Scenario from the book by Flamino Scala, as noted elsewhere. The Scenario is copyrighted, so we cannot publish it ... The Twin Captains (PDF).

The Program
The Cast:

PrologueHirsch von Henford
Pantalone, a VenetianSeamus Padraig O’Baiogheallain Mì-nàrach
Flaminia, his daughterOriginal Nightshade
Columbina, his servantTeresa le Marchant
Doctor GratianoRobyn MacLaren
Isabella, his daughterJoanna Melissa Ronsivalle
Franceschina, his servantMargrethe Astrid Ravn
Oratio, a gentlemanKæll of the Broken Tower
Fiorinetta, owner of the inn “The Horse and Gate”Anne of Ockham
Captain SpaventoJuan Santiago
Trivilino, his servantWulfric of Creigull
Flavio, his friendMichael of Worcester
The Stranger-Captain, twin brother of Captain SpaventoIricus le Ferur
Arlecchino, his servantCharles Ravenstone (Bonefinder)
Camilla – the "Placard Lady"Aldith Angharad St. George


DirectorHirsch von Henford
Script AuthorsThe Cast
ProducersRose de Le Mans
Juan Santiago
Hirsch von Henford
Aldith Angharad St. George
Stage ManagerTarik ibn Jamaladdin
Stage HandsFlaherty
Fionnbharr O'Cathain
Set Design and ConstructionBent Nail Productions
(Seamus Padraig O'Baiogheallain Mì-nàrach
Juan Santiago, Wulfric of Creigull
Eoin “the guy with all the stuff, and with saintly patience” of Fell Hold)
PropertiesThe Cast
CostumesThe Cast
Rose de Le Mans, Aldith Angharad St. George
Donata Ivanovna Basistova, Maeve of the Mists
MasksThe Cast
Costume and Mask DesignsRose de Le Mans
Aldith Angharad St. George
Research (masks, costumes)Rose de Le Mans
Aldith Angharad St. George
Camera OperatorEoin of Fell Hold
Gophers Production AssistantsMorgan McEoin
Ariel nic Eoin

In addition, we had:

We would like to give special thanks to Elayna Amavia (autocrat for 12th Night) for all her special efforts on our behalf, especially for helping us get rehearsal time the night before ...

In Memoriam

The Golden Stag Players wish to dedicate this performance to the memory of Goldwyn of Britain (he passed away this last September). His brilliant plays about the SCA ("Our Kind", "Our Kind II: Mistress Laurel Seamchecker Explains it All At You", and "A Nightmare on Laurel Street") and his two Commedia style plays ("Arlecchino's Surprise" and "Arlecchino and the Cup of Love") were the first we ever did, and we probably would never have gotten started if he had not given permission for us to perform them nine years ago. We hope that this play will help keep his spirit alive ...

And we had profiles of the actors that were ... um ... amusing ...:

Aldith Angharad St. George is a scribal prodigy who fell into bad company, and now wastes her talents designing and creating costumes and placards for gasp actors!

Anne of Ockham:

There once was a lady named Anne,
Whose story I'll tell if I can.
From Ockham she came,
In search of stage fame,
She's got it, and needs a new plan!

Charles Ravenstone (Bonefinder): Abducted by gypsies at a young age, Charles Ravenstone was forced to subsist on whatever leavings he could glean from the stewpot and garbage midden, hence the sobriquet "Bonefinder". His upbringing has proven to be a great asset to the Golden Stag Players, as they are able to continually cast him as the oft-mistreated Arlecchino, and he thanks them for it.

Hirsch von Henford: The stage ... The final frontier ... These are the plays of Hirsch von Henford and The Golden Stag Players. Their continuing mission to seek out strange new talent ... to breathe new life into old forgotten plays and commedias ... to boldly cope where no group has coped before ... (insert musical interlude here) ...

Iricus le Ferur: Born under the little known astrological sign of 'The Mechanic', Iricus started his show business career by diagnosing people's vehicles simply by the sounds they made, imitating the noises their cars made to the customers to verify them. While this remarkable talent earned him recognition, he wanted something more. Finding a place in the Golden Stag Players, he now diagnoses their vehicles based on the sounds the actors make imitating their own cars. Iricus says this is easier, as the actors have a wider range of noise making abilities.

Joanna Melissa Ronsivalle spends her time away from the acting profession as a lay member of an order of mendicant weavers. For many years she has traveled from town to town weaving bandages for everyone. Recently her order saw action at the Battle of Crécy where King Edward was so impressed with the diamond twill bandages she wove for the troops, that he instituted the chivalric Ordure du Bande d'Aide, whose motto is "Je pense j’ai une boubou."

Juan Santiago:

Santiago's an actor by trade,
A Magician whenever he's bade;
With a penchant for Roses
And battles with noses,
As Captain, this boy has it made.

Kæll of the Broken Tower: Always a man of contradictions, in life as much as in acting, Kæll combines the tender sensitivity of a poet with the cool, rapacious confidence of a man of law, and the drooling spontaneity of the low comedian. In addition to his activities with the Golden Stag Players (who can forget his riotous "Hamlet"???), Kæll is in an offoffoffoffoffoff-Broadway production of "Long Day's Attorney into Hot Tub". We wish him luck.

Margrethe Astrid Ravn: Meg is a very busy person. She's been a constable - including a Principality Constable, a Marshal, a Water bearer, a costumer, a minstrel, an actor, Bard of the Mists, and a lot more. All this, and she's only twelve!

Michael of Worcester: The embittered lesser cousin of the famous steak sauce maker, Heinz Worcestershire. To the shame of his family, Michael joined the A1 traveling juggling troupe. After a falling-out with the troupe's leaders, Lee & Perrins, Michael tried to go solo, but he couldn't cut the mustard. In desperation, Michael hit the sauce, but St. Tabasco appeared to him in a vision and persuaded him to join The Golden Stag Players. He's still trying to ketchup.

Original Nightshade: Original "Accept No Substitutes" Nightshade has had a long association with the Golden Stag Players. Always hard to categorize, she has led the critics on a merry chase – the poor chaps have come up with some rather twisted phrases to describe her acting style: "ferocious ingenue"; "contumacious hottie"; "cool as the smoke off dry kibble, but warm as a summer in Bakersfield", to name but a few. We prefer to take her at her own valuation, "I came, I acted, I spayed their cats".

Robyn MacLaren: These quatrains are attributed to the famous astrologer Doctor Nostrildamus. While similar in style to his other works, the subject here differs substantially. Once again, his ancient predictions show an uncanny relevance to our current era.

When the newe yeare hath turn'd the payge
And a new Monarch is Crown'd Kinge
Shall a yonge mann of Esfenn tread the stayge
Of his acting much prayses sing.

The Gilded Hind be named this groupe
Robyn McLaren be of whom I speake.
This man must join their acting troupe
Ere they reach their performing peake.

Source: The Prophecies of Doctor Nostrildamus, D. McAlister ed.

Rose de Le Mans is an unemployed actress from the cart-racing capital of central France. After marrying a brooding Spaniard (as distinguished from the Capering variety of Spaniard) this year, Rose found a second career in the fabled dye works of Rouen, where she has established her indigo dye shop, "Eau de Rose Fabriques", or, as her husband fondly calls it, "D'EAU!!!!".

Seamus Padraig O'Baiogheallain Mì-nàrach: There once was a fighter who held a great secret. In their search for knowledge, the Golden Stag players left no stone unturned – which, by the way, was where they found him – under some castle stones on the battlefield. The Players came up with a plan to trick this fighter into revealing his secret. "Make him one with us", they said, and so he became one with the Stags. Patience was the key, play after play they coaxed him for his secret, but he revealed nothing. Finally, while working on The Twin Captains he was tricked by the complexity of the production to reveal his secret: he is artsy! He made his own mask, he made his own costume, he worked on the sets! It was a great marvel. So now the secret is known that this fighter named Seamus Padraig O’Baioghaellain Mì-nàrach is gifted in the ways of the arts. (Though he will still deny it.)

Teresa le Marchant - Teresa "Le Marchant" Le Marchant (not her real name) was discovered by the Golden Stag Players after she fled a disastrous affair with Pepe "Le Pew" Le Pew, a notorious French nobleman. "Teresa" began a crime spree that stretched across Europe, leaving thousands of plundered and burned villages in her wake. She came to the attention of authorities after townspeople reported a "shiftless" woman causing trouble in local taverns and inns. Teresa should be considered "armed and dangerous," and should be approached with caution.

Wulfric of Creigull spent his youth dominating the bakery profession. However, he felt unfulfilled: he longed for a higher and finer form of artistic expression, but developed a passion for the theatre instead. He has slowly worked up to pivotal roles in Golden Stag productions over the years: he has played a swashbuckler (who was also a baker on the side) in Our Kind III; the dippy lover (who was the son of a baker) in Arlecchino’s Surprise and he reprised the role in Arlecchino and the Cup of Love; he played Lord Crush (a baker) in A 20th Century Vacuum Cleaner Salesman ...; Mistress Custance's servant (and baker) in Ralph ... er ... The English Play; A Grocer (who sold baked goods) in The Knight of the Burning Pestle; MacStuff (a sometime baker) in MacTruck; Galateus of Asia Minor (who had baking among his various skills, viz., he made a siege engine out of bread sticks), in Peermalion; Pedrolino, a servant (who really liked bread!) in Flavio, the Fake Magician; The Husband (who was a baker), in The Eel Pie and the Cheese Tart; and this year he plays Trivilino (who wishes he were a baker or dating one) in The Twin Captains, which has very little baking in it.

And finally, at the very back of the program:

Rosewater Apothecary and Dyeworks

Whether you need Rose Ointment for those aches and pains, or you need to dye your fabric, Rosewater is the place to go for your one stop shopping needs!

A paid advertisement

I recently (February, 2001) sent to Glenn Russell of the Philadelphia Commedia Players (at his request), a copy the video for this play. They are a non-SCA troupe, that performs fairly regularly. The tape had both the warm-up performance and the actual performance. He had the following to say:

"Congratulations to you and everyone in Golden Stag Players!! I viewed your entire video twice and enjoyed every minute. I particularly enjoyed the actual performance -- since the roots of this theater style are outside playing, I think Commedia comes across better when seen from a distance and with a larger audience, especially when the audience is laughing and enjoying the show as they were doing in your video. Yes, I've seen several live Commedia performances, including Julie Taymor's The Green Bird and The King Stag and the audience didn't laugh that much; in my book you have them beaten since the whole object of Commedia is audience laughter.

What was most obvious was how all the players were so, so enthusiastic and willing to give themselves to the audience. I hope Golden Stag dedicates even more time to Commedia and mask acting in the future. You are doing Commedia dell'Arte a great service and the more people who see you perform the better."

1 Scenarios of the Commedia dell'Arte: Flaminio Scala's Il Teatro delle favole rappresentative, Translated by Henry F. Salerno, Limelight Editions, ISBN 0-87810-133-4.